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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

ABOR updates

 

ABOR – day 2

The Arizona Board of Regents met on Friday and asked university presidents to cut salaries.

ABOR President Ernest Calderón told those in the audience that there was going to be a “”doozy”” of an announcement.

Calderón said the regents were instructing the presidents of the three universities to cut the state funded salaries by 2.75 percent. These new salaries will take effect May 29. 

This came as a shock to the university presidents, who showed some displeasure at the announcement. They also have to come up with a plan for the next round of state cuts and submit them to the board by next month.

The regents asked the university presidents to submit plans for what they would do if Proposition 100 fails. Proposition 100 is a one-cent sales tax increase. A portion of the money generated from that money would be used for higher education.

The legislature could cut more than $100 million in funding if Proposition 100 doesn’t pass.

The UA would lose $40 million, on top of the $100 million they have already lost, and be forced to cut jobs and reduce financial aid, according to UA President Robert Shelton.

“”We’re te bottom of the bottom third for salaries,”” said UA Provost Meredith Hay.

At first, this plan came from the legislatures and included all state employees except university employees, and required employees to take mandatory days off without pay in order to save the state money.

The plan also entailed one furlough day for this fiscal year and six in the following two fiscal years.

Gov. Jan Brewer, who originally submitted a different proposal, wanted a 5 percent pay reduction for state employees.

In the past couple years the university has cut approximately 600 staff positions.

“”We didn’t lose faculty, but we did lose staff,”” Hay said.

During the ABOR meeting on Friday, no decisions were made, only presentations. Items were discussed in more or less a rapid-fire manner, not delving into too much detail. Regents heard a report on legislative activities, a report on national higher education issues, a update on public affairs activities, a report from the Arizona faculties council and the UA presented their strategic business plan.

Shelton and Hay rounded off the meeting to explain the UA’s strategic business plan. They explained how the university allocated their funds. They regents asked for points of clarification. Some of the regents asked questions that challenged certain decisions the university had or had not made.

Killian asked if the universities had considered having strip malls on or near campus.

“”Can we do more of that to increase the income to our universities?”” he asked.

Shelton told regents that their funding from the state has dramatically decrease over the past few decades. In the ’80s it was as high as 80 percent, but now Shelton said it is at about 45 percent with the rest being covered by tuition.

“”You can’t rest on your laurels,”” Shelton said about the UA’s vision for the future. Regent Mark Killian quipped as to what the universities would do if “”the one-cent sales tax fails and the world comes to an end.””

One of the positive aspects discussed in the UA’s strategic business plan was the streetcar, which Shelton hopes will lead to housing in downtown for “”young professionals”” in a few years. The UA plans to expand and have campuses in downtown Tucson. They hope the city and the university can support and grow together as a result of the relationship between the two.

“”This meeting, considering the number of students that we’re serving in the university system, this meeting is probably the darkest meeting for the board of regents since the Great Depression,”” Calderón said.

 

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