With cuts on the horizon, faculty is apprehensive

On the eve of a budget cut announcement, representatives for UVM’s faculty union, United Academics, are worried about the direction the administration is taking. In a letter to the UVM community on Tuesday, UVM President Daniel Mark Fogel said that the first phase of budget cuts would be announced on Friday, Feb. 20. He said that the administration will notify all staff affected by the cuts in the first phase and all those who may be affected in the second phase. Fogel did not say how many positions might be cut in his most recent letter, despite a previous statement at a Faculty Senate meeting that fewer than 24 people would be laid-off in the first round of cuts.”We are particularly troubled that President Fogel has not heeded the advice of faculty to pursue all avenues for avoiding downsizing faculty and staff,” read a press release from United Academics.The union has been holding public forums for the past two weeks where faculty can voice their concerns about the cuts. Each of the first two forums was attended by less than 20 faculty members. The next meeting, which will be held after the first phase of cuts is announced, will be in the Waterman Memorial Lounge on Monday, Feb. 23. The union is advocating a slower approach to eliminating the deficit, including tapping into the endowment and reducing administrators’ salaries to avoid lay-offs. Administrators have said that they are considering all of the options, but maintain that they are taking the right approach.”When things like this happen, people say, ‘Cut the football team and cut administrators’ salaries,’ UVM Provost John Hughes said. “A knee-jerk reaction of cutting administrator salaries may not be the best answer, certainly it’s on the table.”Despite sometimes vocal support from students and faculty alike, Fogel said in his letter that the administration “will cut administrative spending far more than spending in academic areas,” and stressed that academic concerns, like those held by members of United Academics, are guiding the budget cutting process.