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Friday, December 03, 2021

As UF nears the end of a heavily debated budgeting process, faculty members took advantage of an open debate on Tuesday to ask UF President Bernie Machen questions about the university’s method of budgeting.

Machen said he had hoped the Florida Legislature would scale back on cuts to the university, but the state mandated UF cut $38 million from its budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Last year, banking on a better situation in the future, Machen took $12 million out of UF reserves.

Now, though, he said UF will have to slash the budget in more permanent ways. Temporary cuts won’t be enough.

The university’s Board of Trustees will meet June 7 and June 8, when Machen will present a final budget proposal.

Several faculty members asked him about undesignated funds and reserves.

Machen said some funds have yet to be spent, but the university does not have extra, unaccounted-for reserve funds.

“There is no such thing as an undesignated reserve,” he said.

Machen said UF is stretching funds, and he plans to ask the Florida Legislature to increase UF’s tuition by 15 percent, the current limit.

When a faculty member asked about how UF is planning for the future, Machen said that for now, UF is investing primarily in faculty.

“If the faculty leave, we’ve got nothing,” he said. “We’ve got a bunch of empty buildings.”

Contact Clare Lennon at clennon@alligator.org.

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