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City Pages

The University of Georgia is facing what President Michael Adams calls its toughest budget cuts yet, and he has strong words for the state policy-makers who are demanding more cuts.

Gov. Nathan Deal ordered state agencies earlier this month to slash another 3 percent from their budgets this fall.

UGA has already seen its state funding—about a third of its overall budget—cut 26 percent over the past four years, or about $100 million. Another 150 jobs will be lost in the latest round of cuts, on top of the 600 already eliminated. It’s the fifth year in a row that UGA has lost funding.

“This latest 3 percent cut hurt,” Adams told his cabinet last week. “We can’t continue down this path,” he said at a press conference later.

The problem is not confined to UGA, Adams said, citing a recent National Science Foundation report. “We’re into the bone marrow at research universities nationwide, and our budget cuts have been among the worst in the nation,” he said.

At $365 million, state support is now lower than it was in 1998, when UGA had 4,800 fewer students, Adams told faculty and staff at another meeting last week. Meanwhile, revenue from tuition and student fees has more than tripled from $99 million to $333 million in the past 12 years.

“I do not want to see the University of Georgia privatized—not this year, not next year, not ever,” Adams said.

The College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences will be hit hardest in the latest round of cuts, losing 11 research technicians, three administrative positions, three accountants, two development officers, a herds keeper, an editor, an assistant to Dean Scott Angle, a facilities clerk, a public relations coordinator based in Tifton and the director of fiscal management. The Cooperative Extension Service, which helps farmers across the state, will lose 40 positions, on top of 216 already eliminated over the past three years. And the college will delay filling seven faculty positions. All told, those cuts will save about $3 million.

UGA also plans to defer maintenance and repairs to buildings and eliminate 18 facilities management positions—eight of them filled—saving $4 million. Other jobs and programs on the chopping block include four fundraisers, staff who process scholarship payments, Terry College of Business interns, federal lobbyists, Georgia Magazine, eight safety inspectors at chemical labs and 17 positions in the offices of the vice presidents for public service and outreach, information technology, research and student affairs.

If those cuts aren’t enough, another 18 employees could be laid off, and graduate assistants might also take a hit.

Adams said he tried to protect faculty and teaching as much as possible, but staff had to be laid off because 80 percent of UGA’s expenses are personnel-related. “There’s just no place left to cut that doesn’t harm people in a significant way,” he said.