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Archive for Thursday, December 6, 2001

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December 6, 2001

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— No faculty or staff positions will be eliminated this year at the University of Nebraska as it deals with budget cuts.

However, at least 45 positions will not be filled and more may be left vacant next year, NU President L. Dennis Smith said in a release Wednesday.

Firing faculty and staff has not been eliminated as an option to deal with an additional $11 million in cuts next year. The cuts this year totaled $8.26 million.

Next year's cuts will be more painful, Smith said.

Money will not be taken away from the fund for priority programs, he said. Need-based aid and diversity programs also will be protected, Smith said.

Managers on all four campuses already are looking at postponing searches for employees to fill vacant positions, he said.

Suggestions will be accepted from faculty and staff and shared with the Board of Regents in April, Smith said.

Some University of Nebraska-Lincoln faculty are suggesting a delay of promised pay increases as a way to share the sacrifice required by university budget cuts.

The university Board of Regents meets Saturday to discuss the cuts.

About half of the reduction this year $4.77 million will be come from money the university did not allocate earlier this year as it prepared for expected budget cuts.

"There is no question that these reductions, coupled with cuts made on each of the four campuses, will slow the university's momentum in building top-quality programs that attract the best students and faculty," Smith said.

The $4.77 million would have gone toward supporting priority educational programs identified on each campus ($3 million), research at the Nebraska Research Institute ($850,000), and design new facilities at the University of Nebraska at Omaha's College of Public Affairs and Community Services ($425,000).

An additional $500,000 would have been kept in reserve.

The other $3.5 million in cuts this year will be achieved through not filling vacancies, cutting some summer school courses, reducing travel and other cost-saving measures.

The Legislature cut $171 million from the two-year state budget in a special session that ended last month. The cuts were needed because state revenues were less than expected. Even with the cuts, the state is expected to be about $50 million in the red next year.

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