Wednesday, February 16, 2011

UNLV system faces potential "financial collapse" due to budget cuts; law school may need to trim $2 million

As you may know, Nevada has been hit harder by the recession than almost any other state.  Unemployment hovers around 14%.  During the past 3 years, the UNLV system has had to cut approximately $50 million from its budget due to the state's fiscal problems.  A new budget is now pending before the state legislature that, if approved, would require the university system to cut another $47 million.  As the Las Vegas Sun reports:

UNLV President Neal Smatresk told a somber Faculty Senate on Tuesday that the administration was planning a kind of bankruptcy to deal with its budget crunch.

Under the "financial exigency" plan, tenured professors could be fired and whole departments and programs more easily closed down.

The legislature has until June to make a final decision on the budget so it's premature to talk about lay-offs and cuts says the Board of Regents.  Nevertheless, the University Provost has asked the deans of each school, including the law school, to prepare a crisis plan indicating how they'll make the cuts if they become necessary.  According to an internal memorandum from UNLV's Provost, the law school would have to cut more than $2.2 million if the pending budget is approved in its present form. 

The Provost ends his memo on a very somber note by saying that "to think that we are even discussing these kinds of reductions and cuts brings me great sadness."

You can read the full memorandum here, the story from the Las Vegas Sun here and coverage by The Chronicle of Higher Ed here.


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