Campus Budget Update

A message from the Chancellor

Last week, Governor Perdue directed most state agencies to cut spending by a total of 7 percent from this fiscal year's budget. The UNC system's cut for now is only 6 percent.

We already identified state cuts totaling 5 percent on campus last fall, so we're currently looking at another 1 percent. We're working with President Bowles and General Administration to absorb these additional reductions half-way through the academic year. I credit Provost Bernadette Gray-Little and Vice Chancellor Dick Mann for their prudent financial management in positioning the University to take the one-time cuts as best we can and keep moving forward.

We expect permanent state cuts next fiscal year. At President Bowles' request, we recently submitted planning scenarios for reductions of 3 percent, 5 percent and 7 percent. Even though state funds account for about a quarter of our total budget, permanent cuts of that magnitude would be painful. At this point, the scenarios are just that - estimates of the potential impact. For example, at 5 percent permanent reductions in state funding, we could lose as many as 120 faculty and teaching positions and 85 staff positions (SPA and EPA non-faculty). When possible, we would draw from vacant positions to reach these targets. Cuts at that level would mean reducing courses and increasing class sizes. At 7 percent cuts, we could lose a total of 230 faculty and teaching positions and 150 staff positions.

At the risk of repeating myself, let me remind you that these are only planning scenarios. I'm sharing them because we promised to keep you informed as we track how the economic crisis will affect us. I am inspired by the way the campus has rallied to face the budget situation. Overwhelmingly, what I've heard is that we're all in this together. What matters is the University's future success in educating students and helping people. That kind of response shows true Carolina spirit and pride. And it will carry us quite a long way.

To those of you who responded to my call for creative cost-cutting ideas, thank you. We invite anyone with a constructive suggestion to e-mail budgetideas@unc.edu. General themes to date have touched on energy savings, sustainable practices, personnel, technology and facilities. These ideas have been helpful. We're reading them.

Sincerely,

Holden Thorp