Continuing challeges with the UNI budget

Monday, February 23, 2009

As the fiscal year continues, I am diligently working with campus community members on how we strategically face the economic challenges ahead. In every effort to keep you informed, I wanted to let you know that I and the other public university presidents will make a presentation at the meeting of the Iowa General Assembly's Joint Education Subcommittee to be held March 3. I wanted to share some of the key points I will plan to focus on at that meeting.

I will share with the members of the subcommittee that UNI is committed to educating thousands of students each year, most of whom are from Iowa and stay in Iowa, creating significant value to the state. We also take seriously our responsibility of assisting the state's economic, cultural and social development to establish Iowa's future as a state with an exceptional workforce and a high quality of life. A budget reduction of the magnitude we are facing will adversely impact our ability to serve the people of Iowa.

At UNI, these budget challenges will need to be addressed through a combination of actions. Each division is reviewing the critical nature of its services and identifying areas where strategic, targeted cuts can be made with the least amount of impact on university priorities. Across-the-board budget reductions will not be made. Some units will be affected more than others. No matter what we do, there will be a reduction in personnel, programs, services and non-personnel expenditures. As many of you know, UNI athletic director Troy Dannen has officially announced the dissolution of UNI's baseball program effective after the 2009 season. With the ongoing budget challenges, state funding of UNI athletics will be reduced, and the elimination of the baseball program is a consequence of that reality. UNI baseball has a respected history and we regret the need to make this decision based on our financial challenges. In the best tradition of UNI, every effort will be made to support the students impacted to ensure they can continue their academic pursuits at UNI, or wherever else they may choose.

Our priorities for funding will be to continue to offer those programs, services and functions that are critical to our long-term sustainability. Our student-focused approach will continue to serve this university well. We will do everything we can to maintain academic quality, progress to graduation, student financial aid and campus safety and security.

When faced with sizable challenges, we have the opportunity to sharpen our focus. I encourage you to continue to focus on the responsibilities given to UNI and look to the future with patience and courage.