January 28, 2016

Proposed budget cuts hit U of L hard

Student Opinion

By Nick Amon–

Governor Matt Bevin proposed a state budget that would significantly cut funding for higher-education across the commonwealth.  Executive action will cut 4.5 percent of the current budget immediately. A grotesque nine percent will be cut the following year if the budget is passed.

What this means for U of L is $6.3 million will be cut from the university’s budget, followed by another possible $12.6 million this summer from his proposal.  No stranger to budget cuts, U of L has faced 14 state cuts since 2002.

Do these cuts even affect students? Of course. You’d be surprised how these budget cuts affect your campus experience.  From facilities to classrooms, to eating options and extracurricular activities, the budget can affect almost anything.

“The challenges we face in continuing to move forward to meet our statutory mandate,” President James Ramsey said in a statement, “have and will take a toll on our ability to move forward.”

It’s hard not to agree with Ramsey on this one.  It’s especially difficult to disagree with Ramsey’s logic when Bevin’s proposed cuts will account for a total $144 million loss for state universities and community colleges over the next two years.

In return, it’s also notable to look at the planned renovations listed in U of L’s upcoming budget.  For example, a ShelbyHurst parking garage costing $28 million, and another ShelbyHurst hotel and conference center costing roughly $19 million, are just a few of these aforementioned renovations planned by U of L in the future, regardless of the new budget cuts Bevin has planned.  And to be honest, it’s the ShelbyHurst campus, how does this benefit the majority of students who primarily attend class on the Belknap campus?  You would think the university would acknowledge this situation and delegate some of this renovation money to help take the load off the students in light of future tuition increases.  But of course, this is just another slice of logic that flew over our university’s head.

Though budget cuts affect us as college students, you’re more than likely still not going to lose any sleep over all this.  Right? Wrong. Here’s the kicker – since 2008, the state legislature has cut higher-education funding by roughly $174 million.  What have the universities done in return to students like you and I?  They’ve continued to dive into our bank accounts regardless of how dry they may be, and make up for their losses by increasing tuition rates, year after year.

More or less, you have to look at it all like this – Bevin proposes cuts for our schools, and in return our schools charge us more money. We feel the lasting effects of measures proposed by legislators who don’t even step foot on campus.

Have you ever heard of the saying “s*** rolls down hill?”  If not, you might want to familiarize yourself with it a bit further.

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