UMD updates plan to reduce budget deficit

by Christopher Aadland

The University of Minnesota’s Duluth campus is planning to reduce its open staff and faculty positions over the next two years in order to balance its $6 million budget deficit.
Duluth Chancellor Lendley Black announced last week that students, staff and faculty members can expect to see budget cuts in several areas at the school, including lab services support and some open faculty and part-time staff positions.
The largest reduction would affect student life services, which will be reduced by 23 percent next year.
Jacob Froelich, the student body president for the UMD Student Association, said he’s concerned about how the cuts could impact student experiences.
“Students who are engaged and involved in student organizations, in their housing and residence hall, do better in the classroom, and it helps with retention rates,” 
Froelich said.
There would also be reductions in major departments and units across the campus. Athletics, finance and operations, and academic affairs could see cuts ranging from about 1 to 3 percent.
No academic programs are expected to be cut, but every department and program would likely experience reductions.
Steve Matthews, chair of Duluth’s Faculty Council and head of the history department, said though the cuts are “workable” for his department, he’s unsure if he’ll be able to hire new faculty members in the coming years. 
“We have no idea what the year after that looks like,” he said. “How do you plan your future? How do you plan your programs?”
Duluth campus leaders will make final decisions once state lawmakers set a budget for the University system in May. 
The Board of Regents will approve the University’s budget in June.