Provost focuses on budget cuts at CLASS faculty meeting
Provost John Antel addressed the concerns of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences faculty at a meeting Friday as the University prepares for a 10 percent cut in state funding in the coming fiscal year.
“The state is facing a deficit between $11 billion and $25 billion,” Antel said, “The total spending of the state is a little less than $190 million, so that’s a lot of money for a deficit.”
Antel said the state might face a larger deficit of up to $30 billion dollars as of late. The official numbers won’t be released until the Texas Legislature resumes its session in January.
“We will go into a legislative session starting Jan. 30 with everybody saying that they don’t want to cut expenditures and they don’t want to raise taxes,” Antel said. “We have to decide what we’re going to do and what we’re going to cut.”
The University will need to decide what programs or services it will cut and may need to rely more on outside funding. “It’s going to be a very volatile situation about who’s going to take most of the cuts,” Antel said. “We’re slowly becoming more and more of a private university.”
In working with the Faculty Senate, Staff Council and Faculty Budget & Facilities Committee, solutions have been drafted facing the University’s budget shortfall.
One initiative will be to put a hold on department hires and replacements. Another solution looked into is increasing student tuition and fees to compensate for the budget cuts.
“If you look at the history from 1990 to 2010, we went from about 54 percent of our money coming from the state to about 24 percent,” Antel said.
The importance of the situation was emphasized to CLASS faculty in attendance when Antel said that the University would have to slow down its push to achieve Tier One status.
UH is currently ranked at the top of seven research institutes in Texas.
Answering questions from faculty, Antel said the University will not be offering retirement packages due to a lack of state funding, which gives UH no resources to come up with an early retirement plan.