The University of Northern Iowa released additional details about expected budget cuts on Thursday afternoon.
UNI expects to reduce athletic funding from the general fund by $500,000 during the next three years. UNI says the cuts will come through expense reduction and efforts to generate new revenue. The university does not anticipate eliminating any sports programs.
"We're very fortunate in that we had a donor a couple of years ago who gave us $2 million to put in the bank and say, when you get into emergencies if you have a problem so you don't have the situation when we had to drop baseball, there is your back stop," said UNI Athletic Director Troy Dannen.
UNI also announced plans to merge and close some academic programs with low graduation rates. The university says additional details about impacted academic programs will be released next week.
The university will also outsource printing services as part of the cuts. UNI Print Services will close no later than June 30. UNI says the closure will save more than $400,000 in equipment replacement costs, salaries and benefits for employees. Printing will now be done through partnerships with local printing and copying companies.
Also part of the cuts, the UNI Museum announced it will close after 120 years. The museum will close on June 30. The university says the closure will save $200,000 annually, as well as additional capital funds needed to repair and renovate the building. The university will retain ownership of the collections at the museum, but they will be moved to various departments on campus and community locations.
The recommended closure of the Malcolm Price Laboratory School was announced on Wednesday and meetings were organized for parents and students at the school. The school will close by July 1. Students have started a petition to keep the school open and received more than 1,500 signatures in just a few days.
With the possible closing of Price Lab, the College of Education could lose one of its most attractive items for perspective students. Dean of the College of Education, Dwight Watson hopes to continue the programs started at Price Lab at other local schools around the area.
"I'm envisioning that we'll have more connectivity with the community and getting our students out into the community is going to be a plus," said Watson.
President Allen says these decisions were not easy.
"People can disagree with the strategies and they can disagree with the decisions. They are all made in the context of what do we do to define our own future," said Allen.
All of the recommended budget cuts and closures will have to be approved by the Board of Regents.
"On behalf of the Board of Regents, I want to express our support for President Ben Allen and the important steps he announced today that we believe will ensure the fiscal and academic integrity of the university well into the future. We are confident that President Allen's leadership and strategic vision for the University of Northern Iowa will continue to ensure the highest academic quality for our students," Regents President Craig Lang said in a written statement.
The Board of Regents will meet by phone on Monday at 1 p.m. to discuss the closing of Price Lab.
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