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Published February 05, 2014, 06:33 PM

MSUM announces final budget cut decisions

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - More than 20 faculty members at MSUM are losing their jobs, and student programs are on the chopping block. The layoffs and cuts come in the midst of a multi-million dollar budget deficit at the university as enrollment numbers continue to fall.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - More than 20 faculty members at MSUM are losing their jobs, and student programs are on the chopping block. The layoffs and cuts come in the midst of a multi-million dollar budget deficit at the university as enrollment numbers continue to fall.

The University's administration announced its final budget cut decisions at a meeting today with the faculty union, and while most are happy the uncertainty is over, many still disagree with the outcome.

Several months of heated budget debate have finally come to an end, but the finality of MSUM administration's decision looms like a dark cloud.

Ted Gracyk – Faculty Association President: “The Faculty Association, speaking on behalf of the faculty, is just experiencing befuddlement.”

Twenty temporary positions and 3 full time will not be returning next year after 20 others accepted voluntary retirement.

Edna Szymanski – MSUM President: “That's not a whole lot. It's hard when we’re dealing with people's lives.

Oscar Flores – Economics Professor: “We're losing good people, but we retain many good people as well. So we'll do the best we can.”

The final layoffs are down from numbers originally projected, all cuts attempting to offset the school's $4.9 million deficit.

Edna Szymanski: “As administrators, we're required to do what's best for all of the students at the university and the good of the many and the long term future. That's what we've done here.”

They also plan to phase out five low-enrollment programs like music composition, community health, and American multicultural studies, but students currently in these programs can finish their degrees.

Oscar Flores: “I might disagree with the administration about a detail of their proposed solution, but I think what matters most is we still have a wonderful institution.”

Part of the solution does include plans to add new programs and some probationary faculty positions. Several master's and bachelor's degree programs are on the list.

Students did not attend the meeting, but many say they're sad to hear the final plan includes getting rid of staff and programs.

Angela Smith – MSUM Senior: “I think they should try to find other areas to cut because as a college, it should be more about academics and options for students. By cutting faculty members, it's just cutting opportunities.”

Faculty members will finish out the year.

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