How we are spending our budget money

With a $28 million deficit, it is illogical for the University to create a new major in a department that serves a small minority of students.Recently, the University approved the addition of the global studies major, while simultaneously cutting English courses and professors in the English department.According to the University of Vermont Web site the UVM Board of Trustees increased the budget of the Area of International Studies, which will be hosting the new major.While the AIS program is undoubtedly a worthy field of study, offering courses ranging from anthropology to business studied through the lens of foreign culture, the AIS Web site touts a mere 60 students currently on track for the new major.The reality is that the 400 English majors currently facing the increasingly real prospect of losing faculty and funding dwarf the number of students that currently express interest in the global studies major.The Cynic advocates for a more utilitarian allocation of our tuition dollars.With scarce economic resources, the University needs to retain emphasis on the fundamentals of education and the programs that serve the most students. The English department is not the only one bearing the burden either.The University administration’s cuts have left the environmental studies program with only four full-time lecturers to serve more than 400 majors.Furthermore, if the University wants to remain competitive with other top schools, we must prioritize our limited financial resources for more in-demand departments.Similarly, construction of the new James M. Jeffords Hall does not seem to be the most effective use of tuition dollars and funding.The new building, which will cost a staggering $55.6 million — almost twice the size of our deficit — will have two out of its three floors dedicated solely to the Plant Biology and Plant Soil Science departments.While these programs are also certainly valuable, they also are marked by “intimate size,” according to their Web sites.For the time being, we need a bit more bang for our buck.Moreover, the state of Vermont provided at least $10 million of the funding for the Jeffords Hall. According to The Burlington Free Press the administration is planning on making budget cuts totalling $10.8 million.Does it not make sense to maintain the University before we try to expand it?We should not be investing state funding in small, specialized projects while we are simultaneously cutting faculty in large fundamental departments — such as the English department — which may be losing three tenure track faculty members.Students walk out, professors get fired and all the while the administration is fumbling funding into narrow and expensive projects. We have limited financial resources, so we must use them wisely — and sparingly.