In cutting budget, focus on retaining academic quality

On Tuesday, UVM President Daniel Mark Fogel sent out an e-mail to the UVM community to address the predicted bud?get deficit for 2010.Fogel stressed that there is a great deal of work being done to cut spending. Dur?ing the last two weeks, UVM has been working which the Ad Hoc Strategic Bud?get Advisers, which was “exceptionally thoughtful and helpful,” Fogel said in the campus-wide e-mail. Several significant measures, among many, are being taken to reduce spending, including freezing raises for non-unionized and executive staff, suspending searches for high level positions, and increasing stu?dent enrollment, according to the e-mail.Additionally, some administrators are foregoing scheduled pay raises next year.”The vice presidents and deans have already joined me in the determination that we will not receive pay increases next year,” Fogel said. “I think it’s an essential decision for us to take. It’s the right thing for us to do.” In the e-mail, Fogel said that the prime objective in making cuts that have the po?tential to affect the students, faculty, and staff is to “enhance academic value” and also to “make decisions fully aware of the consequences for members of this commu?nity whose livelihoods may be at risk.””This is not a temporary belt-tightening exercise but rather a long-term restructur?ing of the base general fund budget,” Fogel also said in the e-mail.With the forthcoming budget cuts the president is looking to his colleagues for support. “We’re going to trust the people closest to the playing fields to make the most strategic and wise decisions that help us to continue to support the gains we’ve made in recent years,” he said.The Dec. 5 Board of Trustees meeting saw plans being made regarding the up?coming budget situation for UVM.A main contributor to the budget gap, he says, is the fact that investment earnings are “way off” this year. Investments play an integral role in covering various expenses throughout the year, but this year the investment money earned could be in the “hundreds of thou?sands,” Fogel said – a steep drop from the nearly $6 million that had become com?monplace.Though he said that the deficit is “a tre?mendous public policy challenge,” Presi?dent Fogel also said he is optimistic about UVM’s future. “I think that this is a very resource?ful and creative community,” Fogel said. “We are going to figure out how to come out a stronger academic institution, and to emerge from it earlier and stronger than a lot of institutions.”