Discussing budget hardships at University of Iowa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Discussing budget hardships at University of Iowa

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -- Difficult economic times have created difficult decisions for higher education institutions across the state of Iowa.   Saturday, University of Iowa President Sally Mason spoke to the American Association of University Professors regarding the impending budget cuts.  The group wants to make sure everyone gets a say in the school's future.

Concerns of potential layoffs have been voiced around the Iowa City campus recently.  Mason says until the state finalizes its budget, it's still too early to tell about any cuts.

"With our state budget and the national economy in significant decline, we may be facing making cuts with a bredth, and a depth, and a swiftness we have never seen before," said University of Iowa President Sally Mason.

Mason says there is no question the university will be forced to cut back, but right now that's the only thing that's certain.

"No decisions have been made about what will be cut, how, or where," said Mason.

Mason told the group acting now means trying to hit a moving target.  Numbers now are nothing more than speculation.  Projections have called for the university to make cuts anywhere from 6 and a half percent to 12 percent. 

Friday, Governor Chet Culver proposed the most recent budget which includes a 7.9 percent decline for most state agencies.  While the university waits, it continues to take input from those inside and outside of the university community.  The American Association of University Professors reminded Mason Saturday to listen to all faculty, students, and staff.

"Our concern is decisions are not made from a top-down fashion. That all stakeholders have a voice," said A.A.U.P. member Peter Hansen.

Hansen says so far, it's been a two-way conversation.

"I think she's very cognizant of our concerns," said Hansen.

Sally Mason says three-fourths of the university's budget is related to personnel.  Mason says she wants to limit any personnel cuts but right now, when, where, and how the cuts will be made is merely a guessing game.

The budget cuts will go into effect for the university of iowa july 1st, which is the beginning of fiscal year 2010.

Online Reporter: Jason Epner
Online Producer: Mike Verlo
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