Tuition Hikes, Pay Cuts in UNLV's Budget

LAS VEGAS - UNLV feared higher education in Nevada would reach a new low but there is some bright news.

UNLV President Dr. Neal Smatresk told a packed town hall meeting Wednesday night the new post-legislature budget is still painful, but it could have hurt worse.

"We cut the cuts in half, and that's certainly a relief for a lot of people," he said. "I know it's been a tough year."

Looking at the numbers, the audience learned damage will be done. UNLV is preparing to take a $19 million cut. There will be 215 positions possibly slashed permanently. All employees will take a 2.5 percent cut in pay and tuition will go up 13 percent.

"Students, of course, don't want to pay more. It's like gas. Nobody wants to pay more," said Graduate and Professional Student Association President Michael Gordon.

With millions missing, UNLV will likely lose up to nine academic departments and 18 degree programs.

"That's a real blow to educational opportunities to students in this region and this state," said UNLV history professor Gregory Brown.

From the fiscal crisis, Smatresk moved to another hot topic. Smatresk believes a new football stadium - with mixed-retail development and a Greek row area in a university village setting - would transform UNLV.

The proposal died in the legislature, but UNLV is still moving ahead with the idea, making one thing clear.

"We will not compromise academics in this institution to build a football stadium," Smatresk said.

If approved, that stadium would be built in the parking lot by the Thomas and Mack Center on the west side of campus.

The Board of Regents is scheduled to meet next week in Reno to discuss the university system budget.


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