Communications with employees about budget reductions

Question

Governor Walker has suggested that the University System/UAF plan for a 4.5 percent reduction. That initial reduction is what the departments have been asked to have planned for and those plans have been submitted to the provost earlier this month. Given that we are very unlikely to see a cut of less then 4.5 percent and with a strong possibility of facing an even higher cut,  I’m wondering if those current cuts that have been outlined by the departments will be made public? Transparency and common decency dictates that information should be made available so employees can plan accordingly well in advance to find and secure other work. Please do not withhold this sort of information.

Response

UAF leadership agrees that communication to employees/programs regarding budget reductions is important, and employees should receive as much notice as possible. Decisions regarding budget reductions are not close to being final. President Johnsen has committed to the Board of Regents that it will be consulted about criteria it would like the universities to use in making reductions (particularly program reductions) — we do not yet have that guidance. UAF leadership has committed to consulting the Planning and Budget Committee on some of the bigger changes before finalizing recommendations that will go to the chancellor and his cabinet for consideration. As with last year, vice chancellors, deans and directors will endeavor to notify employees as soon as possible about changes on the horizon. These decisions may be finalized in some units earlier than others, and therefore some units may receive earlier notice than others. We appreciate that this period of uncertainty is tough on faculty, staff and students and will share decisions as they are made. Please look for budget updates in the Cornerstone employee newsletter in the coming weeks and months.

— Kari Burrell, vice chancellor of administrative services