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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Chancellor Motley Talks Budget Cuts, Offers Reassurance

In light of state budget cuts that will see all University of Massachusetts schools receive $5.5 million lessfrom the Patrick administration in 2009, University of Massachusetts Boston Chancellor Keith Motley gave a speech to a large number of UMass faculty and staff-including UMass President Jack Wilson-addressing the impact of the down-turning economy at the University October 27.

“We stand now in the midst of a very difficult time in economic history, during which it might be tempting for each of us to withdraw into a state of inaction,” Motley said. “But, my friends and colleagues, if this is our response, I fear that we would be ignoring what I see as the truly critical moment in this university community’s history.”

Despite budget cuts, Motley seemed optimistic about the manner in which cuts are being handled, referring to them as an “opportunity” several times throughout the speech.

The plan, Motley said, is to separate the task of overcoming the consequences of budget cuts into four separate groups.

“The first is the Utilities Workgroup,” Motley said. “We currently spend six million dollars on electricity and over one million on natural gas annually; this workgroup will look to save money on utilities by getting our campus to go ‘more green’,” explained Motley.

Motley said just by cooling academic buildings in the winter and relying less on air conditioning in the summer, the school could save up to $500,000.

The second group is the “Operations Work Group”.

“We currently spend over three million dollars on food, travel, and printing alone,” Motley said, suggesting cutting some of those expenditures annually to save money.

The “Financing Work Group,” is a group that will concern itself with what to buy or lease for the school’s benefits, such as furniture and computers.

The last group, Motley said, is the “Human Resources Group.”

“While this group will look at overtime, contract employees, and vacant positions-and I repeat that which I mentioned earlier-we are committed to protecting core faculty and staff,” Motley said.

UMB Vice President for Enrollment Management Kathleen Teehan ensured students that the school remains dedicated to serving the urban mission.

“UMass Boston has not changed its financial aid or merit based scholarship programs and still strives to meet 90% of student need,” Teehan said.”Our loan funds are from the federal government and the limits on these dollars have recently increased, therefore we do not anticipate changes in the availability of need based loans.”

Eligibility for these loans, however, has become stricter with more emphasis placed on credit history and student need based on income and resources, Teehan said.

Because private colleges are greatly increasing their tuition costs while state schools like UMB are trying to keep prices steady, Teehan enrollment at public universities is set to skyrockets in 2009.

“We are projecting a new student enrollment of 2,700 and total headcount enrollment of just under 15,000,” said Teehan.

Motley said that although the economic woes are discouraging, a university like UMB is more than prepared to deal with adversity.

“I choose to recognize that with every crisis there is an attendant window of opportunity whose intent appears to be resistance and obstruction, but, if courageously encountered, makes you better and stronger,” Motley said. “We are a university community […]that understands that trials come to make you strong and are being presented with just such an opportunity now to become better, stronger, more focused and engaged in our common purpose. It is our time!”