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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Halt on hires could be detrimental

    PHOENIX – UA officials say a measure in the state legislature aimed to curb spending would be detrimental to the university and also for the recruitment of new faculty, many of whom are needed to replace those retiring or departing.

    As a result of an estimated $1 billion state budget deficit, HB 2043 mandates that all state agencies halt all hiring and promotions for the remainder of the 2007-2008 fiscal year ending June 30.

    This could have an effect on high-profile openings depending on when the bill goes into effect, wrote President Robert Shelton in an e-mail yesterday.

    At present, the UA is in the midst of hiring a new provost, as well as deans for the colleges of architecture, nursing and public health, said Johnny Cruz, director of media relations.

    The UA has 481 vacancies in all, with 181 full- and part-time faculty positions that could be affected by a hiring freeze, impacting summer and fall courses, according to Allison Vaillancourt, associate vice president for human resources.

    “”When you have to fill classes, you can’t not hire faculty,”” she said.

    The freeze could also affect the UA’s ability to hire student employees and graduate assistants, and make it difficult for students to afford attending the university, she wrote in an e-mail yesterday.

    University officials are already hyper-aware of budget restraints, Vaillancourt said.

    “”We encourage people to be cautious because of the economic climate,”” she said.

    Less than 30 percent of the UA’s budget comes from the state, but those funds are used for about half of employee salaries, she wrote.The UA would rather be able to do the belt-tightening itself than have the legislature do it, Vaillancourt said.

    “”A hiring freeze is just so untargeted,”” she said. “”You take away that strategic decision-making authority when you have hiring freezes.””

    Michael Roberts, a mechanical engineering research assistant, said a hiring freeze would deter some students from attending the university.

    “”If I didn’t get this money, I wouldn’t be able to be here,”” he said. “”People will just go elsewhere.””

    The bill passed the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday and next goes to the House floor.

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