Budget cuts planned at University of Wisconsin campuses

Chancellors at the University of Wisconsin's Eau Claire and Whitewater campuses are making cost-cutting plans to deal with a proposed $300 million reduction in state funding for the UW System, even though the Legislature has yet to consider the cuts included in Gov. Scott Walker's budget.

UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt said the university will offer voluntary separation incentives to about 325 eligible faculty and staff, the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram reported.

"Fewer resources will mean we can support fewer faculty and staff. This will require us to strategically eliminate positions and reinvent how we serve our students more efficiently," Schmidt said in an email to faculty and staff.

"While I hope this voluntary separation incentive program will help us identify the majority of the position savings we need to meet our budget challenge, there is no guarantee that it will do so," he said.

UW-Whitewater Chancellor Richard Telfer tells the Janesville Gazette that he will not fill 41 positions that are either open or will be vacant because someone is planning on leaving. Twelve of the 41 positions are full-time faculty jobs that affect 71 classes. Telfer says it would cover about $2.4 million of the projected $6.4 million in anticipated funding losses.

University deans and departments submitted course offerings last week. The university can cancel or open a class at any point until classes begin.

"I can't believe we're ultimately going to offer all the sections that are in the scheduled classes," Telfer said. "I just don't see that happening if all the things stay as they are."

Some classes will be listed with an enrollment cap of zero, indicating the class might or might not be offered, Telfer said.

UW System President Ray Cross said recently the "vast majority" of legislators have acknowledged the proposed cuts are too big and will work with system leaders to reduce them.

Chancellors from throughout the 26-campus system have said the cuts would mean job losses.

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