USU could face up to 5 percent more in cuts

USU budget cuts may increase from 3 to 4 or 5 percent this year, as a result of recent legislative discussion concerning state finances.The Utah Legislature suggests that the 3 percent cut will not be enough to balance USU’s budget this year and have therefore encouraged USU’s executive committee to prepare for an additional 1 percent cut, equaling approximately $1.4 million, said Ray Coward, USU’s executive vice president and provost.Spencer Lee, student body vice president, said it is more likely that the additional cut will be executed if students sit back and watch it happen and suggests that students involve themselves by writing a letter about their concerns to legislative representatives.”If you don’t write a letter, then don’t complain in the fall,” Lee said. “Students don’t realize they could come back to school and their major isn’t offered anymore.”The 3 percent cut for this year is affecting all central administration members and will require them to take a five-day furlough, a period of time where faculty and staff members will receive no income. The central administration includes the president, deans, provost, assistant provost and all vice presidents. Central administration has accepted the furlough voluntarily.”The legislature, right now, is saying we may have to cut more than salary,” Lee said.With $8 million in budget cuts that USU has yet to apply, 60 faculty and staff members may need to be let go. The 60 employees is in addition to the 52 that were cut last year.Gov. Gary Herbert proposed a budget plan to the legislature, recommending money from the Rainy Day Fund, which holds around $500 million, Lee said. If this proposition is approved by the legislature, USU will only need to worry about a remaining $3 to $4 million in cuts rather than $7 million, he said. Lee said rarely is the governor asked to present his budget plan or political agenda to the legislature.

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