UNLV President Offers Grim News

LAS VEGAS -- The next two years could be brutal for UNLV. Governor Brian Sandoval is asking the university to cut nearly $50 million from its budget.

UNLV is planning ahead, just in case they are forced to file for something similar to bankruptcy. If this happens, programs can be done away with and tenured faculty could be let go, regardless of their contracts.

UNLV President Neal Smatresk is trying to get his staff prepared for the worst. But it is more than just tenured faculty who are running the risk of being let go. Some departments, and maybe entire colleges, could be eliminated.

"We've lost 540 positions in the last four years. We are about to lose about another 300 to 400 and that's hard," he said. "If the cuts are coming, we need to identify where they are going to be and give people the longest planning period possible so they can find a new job."

Cuts are also on the minds of students like Lindsay Roach. A kinesiology major, the College of Sciences could see more than $2 million in cuts.

"It's heart breaking because it's my school and I am graduating from here soon and possibly going to grad school here," she said.

Students aren't alone. Doctor Bryan Spangelo is a tenured professor on campus and could be one of the first to go if UNLV declares financial exigency.

"I have a PhD in bio chemistry and my research area is in a couple areas -- one is Alzheimers disease," he said. "What it does provide is protection. As a tenured faculty member, I can speak my mind to the administration -- let them know what I think. I can talk to the Board of Regents, the chancellor about things I think are important for the system without fear for my job."

The chairman of the Board of Regents, James Leavitt, says the declaration of financial exigency would be a last resort.

Deans from several colleges have until February 25th to come up with recommendations on how to cut from their budgets as a way to be ready if the proposed $47.5 million in cuts happen.


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