LCSN: NMSU departments asked to find ways to trim budget

April 6, 2010. Retrieved online: April 6, 2010, from Diana M. Alba, Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES – Academic journals might not sound very exciting to the average Joe or Jane.

But to university students and researchers, they’re the lifeblood, because they contain the most up-to-date knowledge about a given subject, said Joan Crowley, professor in New Mexico State University’s criminal justice department.

Crowley said she recently fielded an e-mail, asking her to vote for her top publication choices. Apparently one proposal for helping to deal with NMSU’s impending budget cut entails reducing the number of journal subscriptions.

“If I have the students do papers, and I want them to look up stuff immediately, that affects their ability,” she said.

Still, Crowley, who attended a budget presentation Monday by President Barbara Couture, readily acknowledged the university is facing “tough times.”

Couture told a sizable crowd of mostly faculty and staff that the university has yet to decide for sure how it will distribute the budget cuts that will be needed to start the July 1 fiscal year. But she’s asking that departments generate three proposals, identifying ways to trim 2 percent, 6 percent and 10 percent of their spending. The largest proposal is in case the state Legislature reconvenes later this year to call for ever further cuts to higher education, she said.

Couture said there won’t be a single “across-the-board” cut among departments.

“Some units will receive lesser reductions; some units will receive greater reductions,” she said.

Departments must submit their proposed cuts to top administrators by April 30, who’ll forward them to the university budget committee by May 12.

Because of cuts by state lawmakers, NMSU was facing about a $12.3 million cut to its instruction and general spending – roughly an 11 percent decline over this year’s budget. Then university regents last week OK’d tuition hikes. And NMSU officials factored in some other new savings and revenues – such as an expected increase in enrollment – which decreased the gap to about $5 million, or 4 percent.

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