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Dear University Community,
In October, President Simpson and I wrote to the UB community concerning the latest round of budget reductions issued by the Office of the Governor. At that time, we knew that New York State faced a current year deficit of $3.2 billion and SUNY would be asked to absorb a $90 million share of the plan to close that deficit. SUNY has now decided that UB must absorb $13 million of that budget cut.
With the imposition of this latest cut, UB has now been asked to manage approximately $40 million in reductions since the beginning of the 2008-2009 fiscal year. For this latest mid-year cut, we have decided to utilize $5 million of centrally held institutional reserves, nearly depleting this source, and to distribute $8 million of cuts to unit budgets. The reductions will be assigned in a differential fashion, as we continue to seek all ways to preserve the academic and research core of our university. When these actions are completed, we will have used $10 million in central institutional reserves and distributed $30 million in differentiated cuts to university units.
As we have done when facing previous New York State mandated budget reductions, we have consulted with our campus community including the Faculty Senate Executive, Budget Priorities, and Academic Planning committees; Professional Staff Senate; University-Wide Strategic Financial Management Advisory Group; and the deans and vice presidents. Budgetary reductions have been guided by our previously established principles so that we can best maintain our long-term vision as a premier public research university.
These are incredibly challenging times for our university. And, it is only with the ongoing support of the UB community that can we preserve the integrity of our academic and research mission. The principles from which budget decisions have been made are aligned with this fundamental goal. Thus, we are continuing to administer strategic budget reductions rather than across-the-board reductions. We are committed to providing an academically rigorous and transformative education for our students. We are maintaining faculty strength by continuing to recruit and hire new faculty. We are focused on optimizing support systems and eliminating redundancies. And, we are seeking to expand and diversify revenue streams.
With these principles at the fore and our commitment to preserving the fundamental nature of our university, we will pursue our UB 2020 aspirations with an uncompromising strength of conviction.
With that said, these continued budget reductions are taking a toll on our university. Our faculty growth over the last four years has markedly slowed. Course enrollment minimums, program capacity limits, and cancellations of course sections are being imposed across academic programs. Internal support for research and our research infrastructure has diminished. Our university emergency fund is being drained. And, the reality is that our financial foundation for UB 2020 is eroding, while opportunities to realize the fullness of our academic and research mission are likewise in jeopardy.
Although the budget cuts have been distributed in a differentiated way, each unit across our university is hurting. The reductions are real and quite substantial. And, we know that the New York State budget forecast is grim. So we must prepare for additional potential reductions and the impact of those reductions on our university mission.
At the close of the academic semester, I wish I could send a more uplifting communication. It is heartening to know that in the face of these present challenges our university community has been actively engaged in these discussions and is helping to find prudent and creative approaches to mitigate the impact of these cuts so we can preserve our UB 2020 goals. At the close of the semester and at the beginning of the holiday season, I find this collective ambition to be profoundly encouraging.
In an effort to keep our university community informed, this Web site has been created that provides additional detail concerning the budget. We will update the site as changes occur; and we invite the UB community to post suggestions and feedback at http://www.buffalo.edu/ub2020/financecommittee/form.html.
Once again, I thank you for your encouragement, your support, and your commitment to our university and to our shared vision of enduring academic excellence.
Satish K. Tripathi
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Last Modified: Monday March 01 2010