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December 7, 2001

"A Challenge, Not a Crisis" UMBC faces State budget cuts, hiring freeze

At UMBC's Town Meeting on November 19, President Freeman Hrabowski defined the state budget cuts and hiring freeze affecting all USM campuses as “a challenge, not a crisis.” Although the initial plan called for budget cuts ($363,000) and a hiring freeze on vacant positions (projected at $729,031) for a total savings of approximately $1.1 million, the university is anticipating and planning for an additional $1.2 million reduction in January if State revenues continue to decline. Faculty, auxilary and grant-funded positions are not affected by the freeze.Hrabowski said, “Most important, we want to be clear about our commitment to UMBC's faculty and staff. Our priority is to make sure you have job security.”“Our current budget environment means we will certainly have to slow things down and be careful,” he added. “We may extend timetables for implementing projects such as the Delta Initiative or delay some building openings.”Thomas Vogler, assistant vice president for finance, said that the governor has tried to be as flexible as possible concerning cuts to higher education. “As we move further away from September 11, the economic picture will become clearer,” he said.Resources such as scholarship funds, fuel and utilities are exempt from the cuts. Each vice president determines where cuts can be made in their units.In response to the hiring freeze, vice presidents will review vacant positions and make recommendations to the president to hold potentially critical positions exempt from the freeze. The president then submits these requests for flexibility to the State.The decision surrounding the January COLA will be made by the State, not the campus.Hrabowski and Provost Art Johnson said that despite the current need to slow implementation of some projects, the campus will continue to focus on university-wide priorities, including improved business systems, faculty recruitment, building the research infrastructure, advisors to support growing enrollment and investments in the recommendations of the honors, research and student life task forces.“The University Planning Leadership Team – comprised of the provost, vice presidents, senior administrators, faculty and staff senate leaders and chairs of our planning task forces – are working to develop guiding principles that will help us to continue to link planning and budgeting during this challenging time,” said Johnson.Hrabowski added, “I am encouraged by the collegiality and support the UMBC community has demonstrated over the years and especially in the challenging weeks since September 11 and I am confident the campus will continue to achieve and prosper in the months and years ahead.”

Posted by dwinds1 at December 7, 2001 12:00 AM