Chancellor hosts town hall meeting regarding Program Prioritization

Four large screen projectors laid against velvet green curtains displayed all too familiar trends in tuition increases and state funding reductions to a crowded Kirby Ballroom on Tuesday, Oct. 8. “Solving this problem will be a multiyear effort,” said Chancellor Lendley Black. “Additional revenues and collaboration with the Twin Cities will be strong parts of the equation. We are not going to cut our way to solving this problem.”

Black went on to describe the Program Prioritization process and how such trends in higher education, both statewide and nationwide, are affecting UMD. He said the current target is to reduce $11.9 million, approximately eight percent of UMD’s operating budget.

Although this will be a multiyear process, most of the legwork will be completed by the end of the year.

“By December, we need a clear strategy for how we’re going to proceed,” Black said.

Black admitted that he “doesn’t have a good answer for how we got here,” but the situation is not “totally surprising” to him.

Later during the presentation, Black opened the floor to questions and comments regarding the issues UMD is facing.

“How can we keep students here and not export them to the Twin Cities campus?” student body president Kimberly Newton said.

Newton said the university needs to find common ground in prioritization by balancing the cuts and changes between academic and non-academic areas.

Because prioritization is an ongoing discussion, Black said anyone with suggestions on how to utilize resources and programs to their fullest potential can submit them on the chancellor’s website under the “Program Prioritization” link.

“This is not easy,” Black said. “I don’t like it, you don’t like it. But it’s the situation we’re in and I hope we can find a way to agree to disagree and move forward.”



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