Wendler discusses cutbacks with Faculty Senate

By Gus Bode

Cuts as high as 5 to 10 percent possible for fiscal year 2004

SIUC Chancellor Walter Wendler fielded questions about his proposed University budget cuts during the Faculty Senate meeting Tuesday.

Wendler discussed the cuts as high as 5 to 10 percent that he is asking all departments to implement for the fiscal year 2004. In July, he told department heads to beginning looking for ways to make the budget cuts and submit plans by Nov. 22.

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With the unstable economy, Wendler said planning for the cuts is important because state funds for fiscal year 2004 may be lower than anticipated. Wendler would also devote dollars from the cuts toward Southern at 150, his long-term plan of goals set for the University’s 150th year in 2019.

He stressed the importance of looking for majors that are not productive or ways to combine departments.

“There are things on this campus we shouldn’t do anymore,” Wendler said. “We do not shed programs very easily.”

And although Wendler is asking the colleges to look at the budget for the fiscal year 2004, he said some of the cuts’ effects of won’t be immediately visible.

“To eliminate some things would take years,” he said. “It’s not accurate to suggest that all these things be done by 2004.”

James Allen asked Wendler how the planning is done without knowing what the state’s allocations will be.

Wendler stressed that things changed very quickly in the state’s economy during the past year.

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“One year ago from today, we lived in a different world,” he said, referring to the economy and events of Sept. 11, which were partially responsible for the recession.

Wendler also said that it’s difficult to admit a program is having difficulties and may need to be cut.

Donna Post, president of Faculty Senate, said it’s important for faculty to look at their colleges realistically.

“You have to think in terms of reality,” she said.

Bruce Devantier, a senator in the College of Engineering, asked Wendler where the savings come from if faculty are simply relocated or reassigned.

Wendler said some of the savings will come to pass when the professors retire.

Although the cuts may be difficult at first, Wendler said he is confident that the results will be worthwhile.

“In the end, I think the University will be tighter and more focused,” he said.

Reporter Ben Botkin can be reached at [email protected]

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