The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Forum for faculty addresses proposed cuts

The potential $12.5 million in cuts to UW-Eau Claire over the next two years made up the core discussion of Friday’s open meeting between university officials and faculty.

Academic Affairs Budget Officer Bob Bolles presented some projections of what budget cuts proposed by Gov. Jim Doyle last week would mean specifically to Eau Claire.

Bolles said he attempted to translate the governor’s proposed $250 million budget cut to the UW System and localize it to Eau Claire.

The specifics of the budget are not official yet because the governor’s budget projections must go through the state Legislature.

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This results in a lot of variables in the projections and planning, Bolles said to the attendees.

The university hopefully will have a budget by July 1, the end of the fiscal year, Provost Ron Satz said.

But, realistically, he said, the university will be lucky to have a budget by fall.

The provost’s office still is considering the budget cuts as a reality for now.

“The money we are talking about is gone,” Satz said to the crowd.

As provost, Satz said it is his responsibility to make sure students have the classes they need, and also to make sure the university can pay for the faculty to teach those classes. With the budget in its early stages of the legislative process, the exact amount for the cut is unknown, but a fall schedule must be made still.

“I’m a lot of things, but a magician I am not,” Satz said about the difficulty he is having with scheduling.

This difficulty already has delayed the printing of the fall schedule listing of available courses. The booklet’s March 13 release time for students still should remain as scheduled, he said.

The full benefit of a tuition increase would not be available to the university because state support is dropping, he said.

Satz listed a few ways the university would deal with the budget problems.

Suggestions such as larger class sizes, fewer courses offered and longer graduation times, were among the ideas from the provost’s office.

“Overall quality will suffer,” Satz said to the audience.

Satz said a few administrators, including himself, already have volunteered to teach classes instead of traditional instructors.

Solutions, including cutting pieces of programs and deferring staff raises, cannot fix the problems created by large budget cuts, associate political science professor Rodd Freitag said.

“It’s like paying off the national debt with a penny drive,” Freitag said.

The figures presented by Satz and Bolles on Friday were the result of a mandatory exercise for all state agencies to estimate how they would be able to accommodate a 5 percent cut.

“This is nothing like we’ve ever seen before,” Satz said as the discussion ended. “And I’ve been here since 1983.”

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Forum for faculty addresses proposed cuts