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Proposed Principles Governing Budget Reductions

N0VEMBER 8, 2001

University of Nebraska-Lincoln



The State of Nebraska has experienced a considerable shortfall in revenues and it appears possible that the University will be asked to reduce both its FY 2002 and FY2003 budgets. Reductions of any magnitude will need to be accomplished in two steps. Step 1 will involve the short-run challenge of identifying reductions from available uncommitted resources. Given that FY02 is well underway, the short-run response will require identifying such funds opportunistically and without elaborate planning and prioritization. Step 1 reductions will be regarded as temporary reductions until Step 2 can be completed. Step 2 will involve incorporating more permanent reductions into the base budget of the University in accordance with our role and mission, our strategic framework, and our academic priorities. The consequence is that the final implementation of the reductions to the base budget may take 2 or 3 years to accomplish, with available uncommitted funds sequestered in Step 1 used to bridge the University until such base budget reductions of Step 2 can be achieved. The processes for both Steps may occur simultaneously.

PRINCIPLES GOVERNING STEP 1 REDUCTIONS

  1. To the extent feasible, reductions in Step 1 will be across the board, with efforts made centrally to backstop critical functions to the extent practical.

  2. Communication with internal and external constituencies by the Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellors, and Deans and Directors will be as open and timely as circumstances permit. The Chancellor will frequently advise and seek the views of the Academic Planning Committee and the Academic Senate Executive Committee.

  3. The University will protect as its highest priority the ability of students to graduate in a timely fashion.

  4. Essential support to units or programs that generate revenue will be maintained at a level that does not unduly jeopardize their ability to do so. Examples of these units include:

  A. Admission and recruiting which generates tuition revenue.

  B. Research and scholarly programs that generate external funding.

  5. Although reductions are to state appropriations, all units, regardless of the source of their funding, may be required, where appropriate, to contribute to Step 1 reductions. Those enterprises that are wholly or partially self-sustaining, (Auxiliary enterprises), such as the Residence Halls, the Lied Center, and Intercollegiate Athletics, may be asked to contribute.

  6. Reductions in academic and support units that have the effect of shifting costs to other units will not be permitted except in unusual circumstances.

  7. Funds allocated to non-personnel expenditures, such as building repair, equipment, classroom improvements and library acquisitions will be scrutinized to determine where deferrals can occur consistent with our stewardship responsibilities.

  8. Where possible, reductions will be taken first in academic and support activities that are more easily reinstituted if budget resources are restored.

  9. Layoffs/furloughs will only be implemented to the degree necessary and in accordance with University policies and procedures.

  10. Private funds designated to UNL by the University of Nebraska Foundation may only be used in accordance with the fund agreement.


PRINCIPLES GOVERNING STEP 2 REDUCTIONS

  1. Budget reductions will be consistent with the role and mission of the University, the strategic plan for the University as a whole and strategic plans of the various units within the University. In this context and until the budget situation improves, the focus should be on preserving strength, advancing the priorities of the University, and preserving the most vital missions of the University. The ultimate objective is to preserve the strongest and most competitive University current circumstances permit.

  2. Budget reductions will be determined in accordance with established procedures which include the bylaws of the Board of Regents, the bylaws of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the "Procedures to be Invoked for Significant Budget Reallocations and Reductions" dated 2/20/93(1), and Chapter 100 of the Business Policies and Procedures Manual.

  3. The highest priority will be accorded to the ability of the University to recruit and retain students. The future of the State of Nebraska depends on our retaining Nebraska students in the state and attracting new students to the state.


  A. Maintain the University's national reputation for innovative undergraduate programs.

  B. Within the need to focus resources in order to maintain strong programs, preserve an appropriate array of academic programs that will attract students with varying interests.

  C. Protect, to the greatest extent possible, the ability of students to graduate in a timely fashion.

  4. The second priority will be to maintain a robust research and scholarly enterprise. Essential support to funded research programs and research support units will be maintained at a level that does not unduly jeopardize the continuation or growth of external funding.

  5. The third priority will be those service functions that contribute to economic development throughout the State of Nebraska. Other service programs will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

  6. There is a high degree of mutual interdependence among University programs, regardless of the source of funding. Although reductions will be in state appropriations, auxiliary enterprises funded from other sources may be asked to contribute.

  7. Prior commitments will be subject to reassessment within the context of the current budget situation.

  8. Administrative consolidation will be a high priority where cost savings can be achieved.

  9. Reductions in academic and support units that have the effect of shifting costs to other units will not be permitted except in unusual circumstances.

  10. Funds allocated to non-personnel expenditures, such as building repair, equipment, classroom improvements and library acquisitions will be scrutinized to determine where deferrals can occur consistent with our stewardship responsibilities.

  11. Where possible, reductions will be taken first in academic and support activities that are more easily reinstituted if budget resources are restored.

  12. Layoffs/furloughs will only be implemented to the degree necessary and in accordance with University policies and procedures.

  13. Private funds designated to UNL by the University of Nebraska Foundation may only be used in accordance with the fund agreement.


FOOTNOTES

    (1) After a significant budget reduction in 1992, Chancellor Graham Spanier charged a broadly representative committee to develop a process that was flexible and yet permitted broad participation. The Committee developed a proposal during the summer of 1992 which was ultimately adopted by the Academic Planning Committee in November, 1992 and the Academic Senate in December, 1992. ASUN approved it in February, 1993 and shortly thereafter the Academic Planning Committee promulgated the procedures. These procedures are referenced in the UNL Bylaws.


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