Over the past several weeks, as the downturn in the state and national economy became clear, UMass Dartmouth has been planning for substantial mid-year cuts in its state funding. The deep cuts announced today will require difficult choices in the days and months ahead, but I am confident that our administrators, staff and faculty will once again rise to the challenge, as they have done during prior fiscal difficulties, to preserve the quality of education for our students and financial access to that education. Leadership is needed at every level, and I will be conferring with the campus community over the next few weeks. But, there needs to be an urgency to our task. We already know some of the difficult choices that we must consider:
- A reduction in force accomplished by a strict but targeted hiring freeze and attrition, and regrettably, the possibility of layoffs.
- A targeted reduction in non-personnel operating budgets.
- A delay or deferral of some planned new activities.
- An accelerated energy savings plan that will require an adjustment in behavior by everyone.
- A selected use of limited cash reserves.
We are not considering a mid-year student charge increase or financial aid cut at this time. Because we are already several months into the fiscal year, our options are limited right now. Going forward, everything must be on the table to assure that we can continue to offer a quality education at an affordable price. It is imperative UMass Dartmouth remains a place of excellent and accessible educational opportunity. As we move forward, as Gov. Patrick said, these cuts will be painful and require the reduction of some service, but I agree with him. During this challenging time, our success and long-term viability will depend on our willingness to share sacrifice across the campus, our ability to innovate, and our desire to be in new and effective collaborations and partnerships.