Everyone in the nation is being severely impacted by the economic downturn, and the public universities are no exception. You may wonder why I would discuss ASU budget cuts on the Arizona Sustainability blog but the main heart of innovation is found in the universities. Researchers, both student and professional, work tirelessly to find better ways to address problems ranging from social to medical to environmental. The research that goes on at ASU is invaluable to society.
The strides that have recently been made by their Global Institute of Sustainability working together with the School of Earth and Space Exploration and other departments have been encouraging, now the budget cut seems a direct cut on our future and potential. Most research is conducted based on grant funding which is not dependent on the state budget, for the most part, however, for the professors, students, and researchers to remain at ASU they rely on state funding for pretty much everything else. I am discouraged and worried that all of the education system (primary, secondary, and higher) gets hit hard when the economy suffers and that directly translates to more strain on students and teachers making success more difficult to attain. The future of innovation in the field of sustainability is on the chopping block, not just for ASU but for all Arizona universities and public schools. There has got to be a better way?
ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY News Release
January 15, 2006
Proposed Budget Cuts Would Severely Damage ASU, Negatively Impact 67,000 Students and their families, and Would Put Arizona on the Path to Resembling a Third World Country
TEMPE, Ariz. – The options proposed by the state legislature today would cut the university system’s budget by up to $243 million for the remaining few months of fiscal year 2009 and $388 million for fiscal year 2010. This would be the largest higher education budget reduction in the state’s history. Cuts of this magnitude would require Arizona State University to reduce costs by up to $126 million in less than five months and $194 million next fiscal year.
ASU opened its FY09 budget year having already taken more than more than $37 million in state funding cuts in the previous 18 months, resulting in the elimination of 265 jobs. Since that time, it has taken additional actions in preparation for the possibility of further reductions that has led to a cumulative elimination of almost 500 staff positions and over 200 faculty associates, the disestablishment of two schools and a reduction in the number of nursing students.
ASU administrators say that it is unreasonable and irresponsible to expect ASU, the state’s largest university and the producer of more than half the state’s bachelor’s degrees each year, to suffer cuts anywhere this magnitude without severely curtailing the service it provides its 67,000 students and reducing the enormously important role it plays in the state’s economy.
“The fact that the legislature has known about the state budget problems for months and failed to take appropriate and effective action to minimize harm to Arizona’s families and economy is unconscionable,” says ASU President Michael M. Crow. “Our students and their families, ASU alumni, and the working men and women of Arizona—all of whom are taxpayers and will be impacted by this action—deserve better.”
“The decisions made by our elected leaders concerning the FY09 and FY10 budgets will be the most important political decisions made in the nearly 100-year history of the state,” he continued. “For that very reason, there needs to be a thoughtful and public discussion of the options. Otherwise the Arizona of the future may more closely resemble a far-off, Third World country than nearby states such as Colorado and Texas.”
Arizona State University pumps $3.2 billion dollars each year into the state’s economy and creates tens of thousands of jobs. Each year it graduates more than 14,000 students, including engineers, nurses, mathematicians, scientists, teachers and entrepreneurs. These graduates, which include more than 151,000 alumni still living in the state, are responsible, in turn, for tens of billions of dollars of the state’s gross domestic product and constitute the largest single group of taxpayers in Arizona.
“You can’t cut your way out of a budget deficit of this magnitude,” said Dennis Hoffman. “The legislature needs to consider other options because a budget cut of this magnitude, if taken, will cause a sharp drop in the state’s GDP and prolong what is already a painful recession.”
ASU had already been planning for an additional cut of five percent by taking actions to reduce expenses while preserving educational quality, access to a college education, and the production of a skilled workforce. Cuts of the magnitude proposed today would cause the university to layoff and/or furlough additional employees, and consider program reductions that might affect students entering in fall 2009 and beyond.
Virgil Renzulli, firstname.lastname@example.org
(480) 965-8526 direct line
Terri Shafer, email@example.com
(480) 965-3865 direct line / (602) 363-2318 cell
Arizona State University
Tempe, Arizona USA
Related: Arizona university presidents discuss proposed budget cuts