Campus News

Adams: Governor’s recent budget actions are beneficial to USG

UGA President Michael F. Adams in a March 18 report to the University Council praised recent actions by Gov. Sonny Perdue to stem budget cuts to the University System of Georgia, the body that allocates state funds to UGA.

“The action that the governor took last week, after the action of the joint House-Senate subcommittee, was extraordinarily ­beneficial to us. Not only did he talk in terms of a $117 million cut (to the University System of Georgia budget) rather than a $300 million cut like the legislature was talking about, but the impact [his proposal] has on retaining that kind of funding not just for 2011, but for 2012 going forward is immense,” Adams said. “I have thanked him personally. Regardless of what your politics are, he’s been extraordinarily helpful to us. He said, ‘We have had to downsize but we will not take apart the university system on my watch,’ and I couldn’t have written that better.”

The university already has cut about $100 million from its fiscal year 2010 operating budget because of state funding reductions. Under the Georgia House of Representatives’ original plan, UGA faced an additional $60 million deficit. The governor’s proposal would shrink that number to about $30 million, but the actual amount won’t be known until the legislature passes a budget next month.

Yet while there is uncertainty in numbers, it’s clear that further reductions will be upsetting, Adams said. “To think that there would be another $60 million cut without significant harm to the number of programs is just not a reality,” he said. “The fact of the matter is there’s nothing left to cut.”

In addition to the president’s report, the council voted to approve the university’s 2010 strategic plan, which outlines goals for the institution throughout the next decade. The plan is part of the reaccreditation process for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

To develop the plan, a committee has been soliciting campus input for more than a year, said William Vencill, chair of the strategic plan committee.

“Since the committee developed the draft of this plan in October 2009, I’ve met with over 200 people to get input on this plan,” he said. “We had faculty, staff and student forums in 2009, had extended campus forums January 2010, so we’ve had extensive campus input from across the university community about this.”

The council also approved a new minor in public health and a proposal to offer the existing major in educational leadership on the Gwinnett Campus, and voted to terminate majors in education of the gifted; wildlife; and fisheries and aquaculture. It also approved a proposal to review procedures for handling sexual harassment, slight changes to its own bylaws and revisions of appointment, promotion and tenure guidelines.