Chancellor calls for budget cut proposals of 5 percent

Mar 12th, 2009 | By | Category: Campus News, Issue, March 12, 2009

Verbatem – Chancellor Harvey Perlman issued this March 9 e-mail about UNL’s current budget situation.

Dear Colleagues:

I write again about the budget situation. I wish I had good news. Indeed, I wish I had news that would provide some certainty. Neither is the case. President Milliken’s Feb. 25 letter outlined the situation. We know from the economy in general and from projections that it is unlikely we will escape some level of budget cut for the next two years. The scope and amount of that remains unclear.

On my office Web page ( there is a link to news and documents associated with the budget reduction process this year, including President Milliken’s recent letter. The procedures and principles we will follow are there and those procedures require me to adopt a “General Budget Framework” that outlines the situation. I have interacted with the Academic Planning Committee and the Vice Chancellors and that document should be available on the page by now. The “news” in that document is that we have asked deans and directors to conduct a budget exercise that would show how they could reduce their individual budgets by at least 5 percent. This can best be described as a “what if” exercise for planning purposes in case we are required to make significant reductions. The best thing we can do in this situation is to be thoughtfully prepared to make hard choices with the least impact on the university.

Our efforts here are driven by one primary objective: to preserve the strengths of the university so that we can continue to make progress and serve the people of Nebraska. Your good work over the last few years has demonstrated the role we can play in Nebraska’s success and I believe we have earned the public’s support. We also have to recognize the state of the economy and everyone’s financial circumstance in this extraordinary time.

There are two things you can do that can make a difference. Under the new budget model for the university, we get credit for every tuition dollar our students pay. Thus enrollment is a crucial factor. Dean Cerveny reports to me that right now is the critical time for engaging prospective students for next fall. Reaching out to prospective students by faculty and others is a way to help assure that we recruit the best and the brightest for next year’s incoming freshman class. As you have in the past, I hope you will respond to any request from Admissions to make calls or participate in tours and take proactive measures on your own where you think they would be effective.

Second, and less direct, is to save electricity. I don’t want to be a nag on this but there are real dollars here – maybe not millions but real dollars. In South Canfield, our efforts to turn off lights and computers and to unscrew bulbs, etc., has produced over $1,000 of savings so far. I urge you to keep at it. I still think the light levels in many hallways and offices are higher than necessary; if you think so let us know. And turning off power strips, printers, computers, chargers, and other devices when not in use saves money.

One new thing you will notice on the Web site I have mentioned is a suggestion box, where I invite you to leave ideas for budget savings. Any idea that you have, however large or small, is welcome, and I appreciate your feedback.

This university has advanced in the best and the worst of times. We have significant momentum in so many places. I know it is easy to sometimes be consumed by circumstances rather than be focused on the opportunities. But we have proven before that we are resilient and capable of taking advantage of bad situations and we will do so again. Thanks for what you do and double thanks for what you will do as we move forward.

— Harvey

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