Why aren’t reasonable compromises allowed?
That is the main theme of Bron Taylor’s column in The Gainesville Sun, and I say “Amen.”
In the last several months, I’ve attended numerous meetings regarding the College’s budget cuts — departmental meetings, Senate meetings, faculty meetings and meetings of the Senate Task Force on the Budget.
At every meeting with the Dean, he talks about the possibility of a 10 percent budget cut for our College. For the College, that’s $909,000. He talks about the need to make cuts in personnel. He talks about how difficult it is for him to make these decisions.
And at every meeting, somone asks about alternative approaches to cutting lines (jobs).
- Can we have unpaid leave?
- Can we have temporary salary reductions?
- Can UF develop an early retirement program?
- Can we have a hiring freeze?
Businesses and other universities have developed such programs when they are facing downsizing of personnel.
But what the Dean and UF President Machen have said is “No.”
I applaude Bron Taylor’s column in The Gainesville Sun raising the range of compromises and asking why those aren’t on the table of discussion. His column makes that a more public question, and he presents the case for compromise in crisis in a clear manner.
UF’s reputation is being damaged even now as the word spreads around the country and world about the university’s approach to budget problems. Many who may have considered applying for faculty positions at UF won’t — not just now but for years to come.
Each cut may have a rationale from the dean making the cut, but that doesn’t mean the cuts are well reasoned for the overall department or college. The cuts may be the most expendient.
Of course, some cuts are political. President Machen talks abour “reshaping” the University. This is a time that each dean can reshape his/her college. (UF does have two women deans.)
Alternatives to laying off faculty and staff do exist. Why aren’t those alternatives in the discussion?
Bron Taylor does more reasons than most to be informed about and concerned about the proposed budget cuts. He is a professor in the Department of Religion. The budget cuts proposal from the dean in the College Liberal Arts and Sciences is to cut that department by approximately 65 percent.