Both sides of the budget fight released new statements Monday defending their stance on proposed degree cuts as tensions mount before Thursday’s Board of Trustees meeting, where the cuts are expected to be made official.
UCF’s administration still insists cutting four degree programs and laying off employees is necessary, while the faculty union insists the cuts aren’t needed and that the administration is blowing the budget crisis out of proportion.
More protests are planned before Thursday’s BOT meeting by United Faculty of Florida. They’ll run from 11:45 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. between the Student Union and Breezeway, according to an announcement posted Monday on the faculty union’s Web site.
The faculty union wrote UCF President John Hitt a scathing “open letter” Friday, claiming UCF had $140 million in unrestricted net assets that could easily cover the $4.6 million it would cost UCF to keep running the programs targeted for deletion.
UCF Provost Terry Hickey released a new statement Monday reiterating UCF’s budget woes, but did not directly answer the questions raised about the $140 million in unrestricted net assets.
Hickey focused on state statistics that show UCF spends less on administrative areas unrelated to student learning than other institutions. He also focused on future projected shortfalls.
“Despite projected revenue growth, we face an approximately $17 million budget shortfall at the beginning of the 2011-12 fiscal year when our federal stimulus money disappear,” Hickey wrote. “We are proposing four program deletions and one suspension to help reduce that deficit, which must be addressed in its entirety before July 1, 2011.
During Thursday’s protests, the faculty union promises to expand its argument that the university does not have to cut any academic programs or departments, according to its Web site.
KnightNews.com has been covering the budget battle since last week’s protest and BOT committee meeting and will provide continuing coverage online during Thursday’s BOT meeting and faculty protest.
The BOT meeting will start at 1 p.m. in the Live Oak Ballroom, which is adjacent to the Marketplace. It’s open to the public, however the public won’t be allowed to speak.
Watch our previous coverage on budget protests: