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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

UF President Bernie Machen announced on Monday long-awaited plans to slash the university's budget by $47 million.

Budget cuts by college
  • Business Administration: $1.47 million
  • Dentistry: $1.1 million
  • Design, Construction and Planning: $595,000
  • Fine Arts: $801,000
  • Education: $955,000
  • Engineering: $3.6 million
  • Health and Human Performance: $534,000
  • Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences: $9.5 million
  • Journalism and Communications: $580,000
  • Law: $1.24 million
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences: $5.97 million
  • Medicine: $2.64 million
  • Nursing: $510,000
  • Office of Health Affairs: $1.02 million
  • Pharmacy: $830,000
  • Public Health and Health Professions: $730,000
  • Veterinary Medicine: $1.55 million

According to the plan, about 430 faculty and staff positions will be cut, including 20 faculty and 118 staff members.

About 290 of the faculty and staff positions were vacancies from each college, and some positions will be funded by other money instead of state dollars.

No tenured faculty will be laid off.

All colleges and administrative units were instructed by Machen to reduce their budgets by 6 percent. With each college's 6 percent reduction, the total budget cuts amount to $47 million.

Machen left most of the budget decisions to the deans and vice presidents, but he said he did send some proposals back for reworking.

This reduction is an additional cut to the $22 million crunch UF absorbed in October. Together, UF's general revenue budget is $69 million less than it was last year.

UF's security programs and libraries were spared from the cuts.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, or IFAS, took the deepest cut, losing $9.5 million in state funding next year. IFAS expects to lose 14 faculty and 96 staff positions, including 66 layoffs.

"They have a large state budget," Machen told reporters at a Monday news conference. "The cut that they were handed is 6 percent."

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, or CLAS, follows behind, cutting $5.97 million from the budget. CLAS expects 17 staff and16 faculty layoffs.

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Machen said in an interview with the Alligator that at first, losing 490 positions was more than he anticipated. Losing 20 faculty members, however, was not as bad as he thought.

"I think it reflects a conscious effort by the colleges to try and minimize the impact on people," Machen said.

Despite the layoffs, he said UF expects to hire 15 to 20 more faculty members next year because of money earned from the Differential Tuition Program, which allows UF to incrementally raise tuition 40 percent over four years starting with this fall's freshman class.

Thanks to a 6 percent tuition boost from the state Legislature and a 9 percent boost from the university, UF's tuition will increase by 15 percent this fall.

The program requires that the money earned from differential tuition be spent hiring more faculty members in colleges where student demand is highest, he said.

With the program, Machen said he will be able to hire 150 professors and counselors throughout four years.

He said the prospect of gaining more faculty members combined with plans to reduce UF's enrollment by 1,000 students each year over the course of four years will improve UF's low student-faculty ratio.

Promotional raises of 9 percent for faculty will also be distributed this year in hopes of retaining quality professors, Machen said.

The Gainesville community will also feel the impact of UF's budget woes. UF is ending its financial support of the Archer Family Health Clinic and Oak Hammock rehabilitation services.

The Florida Museum of Natural History will take about $515,000 in cuts and will see five layoffs. The Harn Museum of Art will also lose $100,000 and will be closed Tuesdays as well as Mondays.

A few degree programs will also be cut, but students in those programs will be able to finish their degrees, he said.

Changes as a result of the budget will go into effect July 1 if all goes well during upcoming meetings with the Faculty Senate Steering Committee and the Board of Trustees.

Machen said relief is not the right term to describe how he feels now that the budget cuts are open to the public.

"Relief is not what I'm feeling," he said. "This is going to be a difficult two weeks."

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