Education

Budget concerns highlight NCSU forum

Posted January 27, 2011 5:35 p.m. EST
Updated January 27, 2011 7:04 p.m. EST

— About 500 North Carolina State University students, faculty and staff showed up at a chancellor’s forum Thursday afternoon to express concerns about university plans to save on spending amid a state budget crisis.

Chancellor Randy Woodson has asked school officials to consolidate business services, administrative duties and some academic units to reduce spending in advance of state budget cuts, which could be anywhere from 5 to 15 percent.

Since then, the university has received lots of feedback via e-mail, phone calls and the school’s websites. At Thursday’s meeting, they shared their concerns directly with Woodson about what would be cut and who would lose jobs.

University administrators admitted it is likely that layoffs will happen.

“We are looking at potentially losing 15 percent of our budget, which is $80 million,” Provost Warwick Arden said. “We are going to have to pay a lot of attention to the balance of personnel here at the university here as we move forward.”

Students worry about how the cuts will affect them, especially services such as academic advisers, tutors and teaching assistants.

“It's harder for us to get help anymore because tutoring services have been cut a lot, and TA services have been cut a lot in different classes,” student Bradley Selzer said.

Woodson said he is committed to preserving the highest standards even with the potential cuts.

“This is not about closing out programs to remove faculty,” he said. “This is about keeping this university strong for the future.”

Woodson has appointed two university leaders to develop a plan for how to consolidate services and programs to save money. That proposal is due March 15.

How deep the cuts will be, however, remains unclear. The state Legislature has not yet started working on the state budget.