WDAY: The News Leader

Published December 05, 2013, 07:07 PM

MSUM outlines plan to save money to balance budget

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - Faculty and programs are on the chopping block at MSUM.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - Faculty and programs are on the chopping block at MSUM.

The university is trying to save money to balance its budget.

The university projects an eight million dollar deficit for 2016.

But to fill that big hole, administration is now calling for big cuts.

It was standing room only as students and staff packed in to learn they could be losing some of their own.

Who they call the strong core responsible for shaping the student body.

Jill Frederick/Prof. of English: “They are the education system.”

Edna Szymanski/MSUM President: “I don't like cutting faculty.”

Both faculty and student programs on the chopping block.

Frederick: “It seems somehow that faculty are almost ephemeral to the educational process.”

In an effort to cut about three million dollars, from a looming eight million dollar hole.

Szymanski: “Our budget is balanced through this for the next decade. I believe that's vitally important.”

The plan calls for cutting out sixteen temporary faculty and six tenured, or tenured track employees, as well as phasing out five majors for students.

Karen Branden/Prof. Sociology & Criminal Justice: “Our friends are losing their jobs and that's going to affect students.”

Karlie Hoekstra/MSUM Junior: “The student body should've been more involved in this decision. I think only a select group of students were really involved in it and to me, I feel ignored in this process.”

The administration says the strategy corresponds to decreasing enrollment.

Cutting out 10% of faculty, for a 10% drop in students.

Paul Harris/History Prof.: “I don't really see where the talk about program quality, strategic initiatives, value of a liberal arts education that any of that had any bearing on this decision.”

And even though the plan is to cut only a small number, the passionate pleas from inside this room show these decisions touch all corners of campus.

Branden: If things were not important here, if people were not passionate about MSU, these cuts would be easy. They would be done already.

The five low-enrollment majors planned for phasing out include programs like medical laboratory technician, masters in fine arts, and community health.

And several academic department mergers.

Students in these programs should still be able to complete their degrees.

The university's faculty association will review the plan and put together a response by late this month.