The University of Tennessee system sustained an initial $21.2 million budget cut in June, followed by an additional October impoundment of $17 million. All campuses have been affected and have taken similar measures, of varying degrees of severity, to offset these reductions.
As a result of the initial cut, the Knoxville campus reduced its budget by $11,452,500; the Chattanooga campus by $2,682,200; the Martin campus by $1,965,000; and the UT Health Sciences Center by $2,751,500, according to the proposed budget for the 2009 fiscal year, released by the UT System Budget and Finance Office. Other UT branches affected included the Space Institute, the Institute of Agriculture, the Institute for Public Administration and the Systems Administration division.
In the June budget release, Gary W. Rogers, senior vice president and CFO of the UT System Budget and Finance Office, said, “The university proceeds cautiously into the next few years, realizing that additional resources, especially state support, may be minimal. Efforts by the Governor and the General Assembly to provide funding to the university, given the state’s economic situation, are greatly appreciated. UT … is identifying additional cost reduction measures to position itself strategically in these difficult economic times.”
In reaction to the newly reduced budget, the proposed solution on the Knoxville campus was as follows: “The Knoxville campus administration will absorb $6.7 million, or 60 percent, of the overall cut. A remainder of $4.4 million must be cut from academic units and vice chancellor areas. Our proposal calls for the elimination of 44 unfilled faculty and staff positions campus-wide and significant reductions in planned maintenance and repairs, contracted services, travel and planned purchases of technology and other instructional resources,” Interim Chancellor Jan Simek said in a June 4 announcement on his Web site.
In order to avoid across-the-board academic cuts, Simek proposed the phase-out or closure of three academic departments or programs, including the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology in the College of Arts and Sciences; the Industrial and Organizational Psychology graduate program in the College of Business Administration; and the dance program, a minor concentration in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences.
Due to protests, Simek proposed a different solution to the issue concerning the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology on Aug. 19, according to a press release on the UT Media Resources Web site. On Oct. 24, the UT Board of Trustees approved the proposal to allow the department to remain in Knoxville under the operation of the UT Health Science Center College of Allied Health Sciences. Undergraduates who declare a major in Audiology and Speech Pathology by May 2010 will still be able to earn their degree. The graduate program and clinic will remain in Knoxville, according to a press release on the UT Media Resources Web site. The additional October impoundment called for $17 million more in cuts across the system. The Knoxville campus was forced to trim down an already reduced budget by $6,007,600; the Chattanooga campus by $1,497,900; the Martin campus by $1,080,000; and the Health Sciences Center at Memphis by $4,435,600.
UT system takes steps to offset budget cuts
Published: Mon Nov 10, 2008