UNI faces possible $3.7 million cut

UNI faces possible $3.7 million cut

JOSHUA DAUSENER, Copy Editor | [email protected]

Last week, Iowa Senate Republicans proposed a $3.7 million de-appropriation for UNI. The budget cut is part of a larger $19 million cut to the Board of Regents, in which the University of Iowa may face an $8.7 million cut and Iowa State a $6.9 million cut.

The proposed cut came as a surprise to many within UNI student and administration leadership, who were assured on several occasions by state lawmakers that UNI would be held harmless in this year’s budget bill.

The $3.7 million cut would follow last year’s $2.5 million de-appropriation, adding up to over $6.2 million in de-appropriations to UNI’s budget in the past two years — a 6.4 percent decrease in state funding in the past two years.

Northern Iowa Student Government (NISG) Vice President Tristan Bernhard and Director of Governmental Relations Maggie Miller released a statement criticizing the proposed de-appropriation bill.

“As this administration stated earlier this year, UNI cannot continue to sustain these detrimental blows to our budget while continuing to maintain the quality of our institution that students, faculty, staff and administrators alike are so proud of,” the statement read. “It is imperative that lawmakers understand that these sustained cuts to the institution have real ramifications on both the quality and quantity of educational opportunities offered to the next generation of Iowa’s workforce. Iowa has long held a tradition of educational excellence that these proposed cuts will undermine.”

The full statement can be read on the Northern Iowan’s website and on NISG’s Facebook page.

State lawmakers from both parties representing districts around UNI condemned the proposed cuts. Republican Walt Rogers from Iowa’s 60th District wrote on Twitter, “I do not support the senate de-approps plan and will be working to hold UNI HARMLESS like @KimReynoldsIA is, go panthers@nipanthercaucus.” Democrat Bob Kressig of District 59 wrote on his Facebook page, “The proposed GOP budget cuts will cause serious problems for our community colleges and our regent universities.”

Democratic Senator Jeff Danielson wrote on Facebook, “There’s no balance in the Senate Republicans’ ‘balanced budget’ philosophy. Simply cut, cut & cut. Not a peep about the tax giveaways that show no return for Iowans. It’s time to look at the entire budget, both expenses and revenue. That would be a balanced approach to creating a balanced budget.” Danielson also told the Courier, “It will be devastating to UNI. Think about it: a $3.7 million cut in the current year. They won’t be able to sustain that. They’ll have to think about layoffs, cutting classes.”

The proposed $3.7 million cut is preliminary for now; the state legislature will not be finalizing budget numbers until final revenue estimations are released in March.