University of Northern Iowa to cut public service and economic development programs<br>

Posted on Tuesday, May 21st, 2002

Robert Koob, president, University of Northern Iowa, (319) 273-2566
Gwenne Culpepper, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The University of Northern Iowa, still reeling from budget reversions to its fiscal year 2002 budget, today announced plans to drastically cut public service and economic development programs.

Although the state legislature has not yet made final budget announcements, the university is expecting another round of severe cutbacks to its fiscal year 2003 budget. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that, although the state negotiates salary increases for university employees, the raises were not fully funded through the appropriations process. The university will now need to come up with $5.9 million to cover raises.

Tuition for fall 2002 was increased by 18.5 percent, but that money won't become available until fall and won't affect the expected shortfall in fiscal year 2003.

During a news conference today, university president Robert Koob outlined UNI's proposal for handling the shortfalls. 'As we've made decisions to deal with the budget cuts, we've kept foremost in our minds our motto, 'Students First.' We exist to educate the students whose families support this institution with tuition dollars. We also serve this state, whose tax dollars support our mission. We serve the state through public service and economic development programs. But as you will see, we must attend to our core mission first, which means there will be proportionately greater reductions in public service/economic development and physical plant.'

He said there are four proposals for operational reductions. 'They aren't etched in stone, but they are the framework from which we will build the final budget.'

First, the university would reduce positions. 'While there will be some layoffs, in most cases it means reassignment of duties. Some positions that exist now might not exist next year, but most of the people who currently fill those positions should have opportunities to work elsewhere on campus,' said Koob. 'Some positions will go unfilled.'

Second, the university will make program reductions, two of which have already been announced. The Department of Athletics cut swimming and tennis for men and women, and the Malcolm Price Laboratory School budget will be cut by $800,000.

Third, said Koob, UNI will consider extensive administrative reorganization. 'In keeping the focus on preserving the core mission, the university would close or suspend a number of centers.'

Two initiatives that could lose all funding are the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and the Center for the Study of Adolescence. Support to public radio station KUNI would be significantly reduced, as would support for the Center for Energy and Environmental Education, the Center for Social and Behavioral Research, and the Institute for Decision Making.

Finally, the university is looking at losses in student services and the physical plant. 'This would include cuts in wages and positions in the Office of Admissions, the Career Center and the Office of Financial Aid, among others.'

None of these cuts is taken lightly, Koob said, emphasizing that great care was taken to preserve the integrity of teaching and learning on campus. 'This fall UNI will be different than it was last fall. Iowa's citizens will see fewer services and parents will see less personal attention, but students should receive a high-quality classroom experience.'