Board of Regents criticized for spending money to save money - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Board of Regents criticized for spending money to save money

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) - It's summer at the University of Iowa, and many on campus are relaxed.

But some graduate students like Jeannette Gabriel are concerned about job security for teaching assistants as the Board of Regents looks to make changes at the three state universities.

"Now we're going to try to undermine the quality of undergraduate education," said Gabriel, President of UE Local 896 - COGS, the graduate student union.

The Board of Regents hired Deloitte Consulting to find ways to cut costs and bring in more money.

The consulting company came up with a list of 17 areas it wants to study further -- from strengthening academic programs to be more competitive, to limiting the use of buildings at night and over the summer to help save money on energy usage.

But right now, the plan lacks specifics, and that has some criticizing the review -- which is costing the Regents almost $2.5 million.

"At the end of the day, the decisions will become apparent," said Larry McKibben, Board of Regents. "The needs will become apparent. Repurposing at the university level and at all three universities will become apparent."

The money saved will be reinvested at each university, McKibben said.

Deloitte estimates the savings between the three universities to be $30-80 million. Campus leaders believe the reinvestment will mean a better experience for students.

Gabriel disagrees, saying the changes could jeopardize "the value of undergraduate education at this university."
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