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September 2, 2014

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UNLV president: Colleges and schools could disappear, departments may also vanish with budget cuts

Elsewhere on this site, the Sun's Anthony Ramirez reports on UNLV President Neal Smatresk's dire briefing to the Faculty Senate: Smatresk story

After that meeting, Smatresk sent out an email across the unviersity system to talk about what he had done and what is to come. I have obtianed a copy:

Colleagues,

In our Faculty Senate meeting today I discussed the Board of Regents’ request to develop a budget to meet the Governor’s proposed cuts. In my opinion, such a budget cut delivered by July 1, 2012, cannot be administered without a declaration of financial exigency. Thus, after long deliberation, I announced to the Faculty Senate that I believe we are facing the real possibility of a declaration of exigency should the Governor’s budget be sustained. I have asked the Faculty Senate to form the Faculty Advisory Committee contemplated by Chapter III, Section 19.4 of the UNLV Bylaws to consider in advance proposals for averting or mitigating financial exigency, and provide input to plans to meet the budget we will be given.

I have initiated the process by requiring all Vice Presidents and Deans to meet a series of targeted cuts that meet the $47.5M shortfall. We will gather this material before the end of February. An administrative team will review the proposals and determine if there are additional efficiencies we can gain through major organizational changes that would reduce the cut impact on our teaching and research mission. The cuts will not be equally applied to all units, and the possibility of elimination or condensation of colleges and schools will be considered along with departmental eliminations and reorganizations. Our highest consideration will be preserving our students’ education, the core strengths of our institution, and gaining every measure of efficiency we can find.

The administrative recommendations will then be forwarded to the Faculty Advisory Committee and, following receipt of their input, will be forwarded to the Chancellor. Because formal notice of possible financial exigency and any declaration of financial exigency by the Board of Regents is likely to occur late in the academic year (and possibly even into the next), this process also anticipates the creation of an Ad Hoc Financial Exigency Committee as described in Chapter III, Section 19.5, and will allow us to prepare over a more reasonable planning period.

Details of the plan will be made public as required by the Board of Regents and through normal consultation processes. I encourage all of you to consider how we can save positions and educational programs by improving our efficiency and effectiveness. Your confidential input will be solicited via Faculty Senate email. While I am deeply saddened that we must prepare for cuts of this magnitude, I feel that the approach I have outlined above affords us the best opportunity to achieve such cuts and emerge with our core strengths intact while maintaining critical university functions.

Cordially,

Neal J. Smatresk

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