PULLMAN – The governor’s order to cut state agencies by 6.3 percent will result in another round of budget cuts for WSU. This will cost WSU an additional $11.2 million in funding. This new cut comes at a time when WSU is wrestling with a $13.5-million reduction in the fiscal year that began in July.
“Universities are hubs of economic activity and act as economic engines for regions and states, “said WSU President Elson S. Floyd. “These cuts to higher education seriously jeopardize our economic recovery, the sustainability of our state economic structure, and our long-term prosperity.”
In the last 15 months, the university has seen state biennial budget support fall from $522-million per biennium to $396-million prior to today’s announcement. The result of today’s reduction is a net loss of 26 percent of the state support WSU saw in early 2009.
The budget forecast by the Office of Financial Management estimates a new state budget deficit of about $520 million heading into the legislative session which threatens yet another round of budget cuts for the 2011-13 biennium for Washington state agencies.
“The effects of these ongoing cuts are becoming draconian to the state of Washington. There is now an even greater impetus to reassess everything we do,” said WSU Provost Warwick Bayly. “This is additional evidence of the need for a major shift in the higher education paradigm.”
Already the university has taken steps to cut back administrative costs. Last month, Floyd eliminated one third of his vice presidents and reorganized several departments. Those actions included:
- The Office of Enrollment Management and the Division of Student Affairs, Equity and Diversity were combined into the Office of Student Affairs, Equity and Diversity, and Enrollment Management. The Student Recreation Center, Housing and Dining Services, and the Compton Union Building have been added to this division for administrative purposes. With this change, all of the programs and services for WSU students are centrally managed and supported.
- The previous University Relations structure, including the offices of Alumni Relations, Events and Outreach, Marketing and Creative Services, Internal and External Communications, and University Publishing, were joined with the Office of University Development to create University Advancement and External Affairs.
“Four-year quality baccalaureate education is the foundation of moderate, western, civilized society. These cuts run the risk of losing our four-year institutions,” said Floyd. “Access is meaningless without quality. Washington has always provided quality public higher education. It remains to be seen if this tradition can continue.”