Schafer provides budget update

This past Friday Interim President Ed Schafer sent out a campus wide email updating the UND community on the university’s budget situation.

While addressing the current budget shortfall at the university is a priority, Schafer acknowledged that this effort is part of a longer term plan.

“The real work here, which is bigger than a budget process, is the long-term paradigm shift of reshaping the University based on our priorities and developing new ways of accomplishing those priorities,” Schafer said in the email. “This is a dynamic process, and it will continue to take shape as we move forward.”

There has been some pushback to proposed cuts, notably in UND’s music therapy program.

In the email, Schafer explained that UND has concluded the Tenured Faculty Voluntary Separation Incentive Program. Tenured faculty are eligible for this program if their age added to their years of service is equal to at least 70.

According to Schafer’s email, 21 faculty members have voluntarily chosen to participate in the program. Faculty who participate are paid a year’s salary if they separate from their employment at the university. Final approval decisions on faculty applications will be made in the near future.

Additionally, 88 staff members have chosen to participate in the Staff Voluntary Separation Incentive Program application.

According to UND’s website: “Approved applicants will receive a payment equal to one week of pay based on the individual’s annual base salary per completed year of service to the North Dakota University System, up to a maximum of six months of annual base salary.”

Similar to the program for the faculty, staff must follow the “rule of 90” the university chooses whether or not to approve the applications. Both of these measures were implemented to reduce the budget shortfall at UND.

There are currently budget shortfalls of $9 million at UND and $3.1 million at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. This budget situation is the result of a 4.05 percent allotment to state spending because of lower than projected tax revenue.

Initially the university planned to announce other budget decisions on April 15, but because these personnel programs will change the size of the budget shortfall, April 26 has been set as the new announcement date.

Additionally, Schafer announced that a summary of proposed budget plans will be posted on UND’s website on April 18. On April 20, he will hold an open campus forum regarding the budget reductions. Further information about the forum will be provided in the near future. 

Sean Cleary is the editor-in-chief for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]