UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen has announced $3.4 million in cuts, including dropping men’s baseball, golf, and tennis, which affects 56 athletes.
“We’ve turned those young men’s lives upside down,” Kristensen tells reporters during a news conference on the cuts. “That’s not done lightly, but it clearly was something that we did face-to-face and I think was the right thing to do and the right way to do it.”
UNK calls the cuts unprecedented. They affect 38 positions across the Kearney campus. Cuts include 16 faculty positions, 16 ½ staff positions, and 2 ½ administrative positions; representing nearly a 5% reduction in the university operating budget and workforce.
University officials say they implemented the cuts in response to steadily declining state funding as well as a drop in credit hour production and scheduled salary and benefit increases.
Feedback from faculty, staff, and students will be considered before budget reductions become effective July 1st.
The recommendations include $1.5 million from faculty, $837,000 from administration and support staff, $829,475 from operations personnel, and $450,00 from the athletic department.
Four colleges will be folded into three with the merger of the colleges of Fine Arts and Humanities and Natural and Social Sciences into a new College of Arts and Sciences.
UNK Director of Athletics Paul Plinske said student-athletes’ scholarships will be honored through their remaining eligibility, and UNK will support the athletes in their efforts to find new teams and transfer if they desire.
Kristensen says further cuts from the Unicameral would be devastating.
“If they give us a 4% base cut, these cuts will seem pretty mild,” Kristensen says.
Kristensen says he understands this will be a wakeup call for many Nebraskans.
“This is not a contrived problem. It’s real.”
Doug Duda, KXPN, contributed to this report.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]