University contemplates cuts to academic side

Does not address non-academic positions added since the last round of cuts

Recently, UW-Platteville has been trying to recover from and prevent an increasing structural deficit. This current $7.8 million deficit is due in part to a tuition revenue decrease caused by declining enrollment.

While The Office of Admissions is working diligently to increase enrollment, changes have to be made to increase revenue and cut current spending.

According to Faculty Senate Chair, Irfan Ul-Haq, most of the current budget comes from salary dollars.

One way to decrease the current budget is to decrease the amount of paid faculty.

The university has already used a Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (VSIP). This program is designed to incentivize early retirement and is for academic and nonacademic staff.

Depending on faculty participation, VSIP could save over $700,000 annually according to a campus announcement.

According to chair of the Budget Commission Teresa Burns, “University-wide, more than 40 faculty members took the VSIP last time, and most were not replaced.”

Burns goes on to say, “During the last round of cuts, the Department of Humanities, which I at that time was chair of, cut four academic staff members and lost four tenured faculty members to the incentivized retirement program (VSIP). Of those eight people, one was replaced.”

The VSIP program, along with currently unfilled positions, has created a decrease in the deficit. VSIP retirements are possible from both the academic and non-academic side of the university.

“The non-academic side has continued to add positions in the past five years, after NOT making the $400,000 cut to upper administration they said they would do,” said Burns.

While faculty on the academic side of campus have been required to do their part to decrease their spending, the same is not true for the non-academic side. According to the 2019 State of Wisconsin Red Book, many positions have been added, including 19 in one department alone.

While many non-academic departments are vital for campus success, students come to the university to get an education. In order to make up the deficit, both sides of campus have to be involved.

The Chancellor’s office, Faculty Senate and the University Budget Committee will update campus on the budget on April 28.