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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Legislature floats big cuts to UA

    Republican members of the Arizona Legislature proposed massive mid-year budget cuts that could impose as much as a 16.2 percent decrease in overall funding to state-funded higher education, according to The Associated Press.

    In a press release UA President Robert Shelton said these budget cuts could “”cripple higher education in our state.””

    “”They have suggested mid-year cuts to the university system that could total $243 million – approximately one-quarter of the entire budget, with a total reduction of $388 million into fiscal year 2010,”” Shelton said.

    In a separate press release Fred Boice, president of the Arizona Board of Regents, said the purposed cuts would lead to job loss and academic depletion across the university system.

    “”Make no mistake about it; when drastic cuts to the universities are implemented, large numbers of university staff and faculty will lose their jobs,”” Boice said. “”There will be extensive elimination of programs and classes – creating a hole in the quality and quantity of our systems’ offerings of generational proportions.””

    According to the AP the full listing of the proposed cuts is to be released today, but the press release from Shelton’s office describes them as “”crippling cuts to the UA budget.””

    “”We are very conscious of the difficult deficit challenge facing the state, and all three universities are prepared to do their part to cut budgets,”” Shelton said. “”But cuts of this magnitude would bring irreparable damage. It would force the closure of colleges, increase the costs for attendance, and ultimately cut access to the best hope of a better way of life for our young people.””

    Boice said the legislature’s decision would not only be a detriment to the university system, it would also be a severe blow to the state as a whole.

    “”Crippling cuts will also severely compromise our state’s future, so much so it may never recover,”” Boice said. “”Our legislators must realize the long-term consequences that are not easily reversible, such as lost business, workforce and related revenues.””

    Shelton said he would continue to do his part to make sure that the legislature responsible for this decision fully understands the gravity of their decision.

    “”We plan to continue conversations with the governor and key legislators, and to focus on helping them understand the key role that the University of Arizona plays in spurring the economy, improving the quality of life in the state and affording access to upward mobility,”” Shelton said.

    He concluded his statement by urging the citizens of Arizona to voice their opinions in support of the state’s university system.

    “”And we encourage every citizen of this state who cares about their quality of life – who wants their children or grandchildren to have an opportunity to attend a quality university – to speak up now and to speak loudly,”” Shelton said.

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