Letter to the editor
Published: Thursday, April 14, 2011
Updated: Thursday, April 14, 2011 11:04
This letter is in response to The Seahawk's editorial titled "UNCW gone construction crazy."
On the surface, it may appear that UNCW is going "construction crazy." Such a generalization does not provide an accurate picture of the complexities of UNCW's and the state's process for biannual budget appropriations or the multi-year phases of planning, design and construction for new buildings. Nor does it consider the different, and separate, funding sources used to support various building projects.
There is no doubt that throughout the last two years of state budget reductions, UNCW has made the support of our students and their academic pursuits our top priority. Indeed, most of the budget reductions have come from the administrative or staff side of the university's operating budget, preserving faculty positions and course sections as much as possible. For example, more than 50 staff positions were eliminated, and operating budgets were significantly reduced in many administrative support areas, amounting to more than $8 million in permanent state budget reductions over the last three years.
On the other hand, the funds used for construction projects come from different sources than those designated for academic and operating activities. In fact, construction funds given to the university are specifically designated for building projects and can be used for nothing else. Part of the reason the state separates these funds is due to the fact that construction projects actually are multi-year projects– from planning and design through construction. As such, construction projects taking place on campus today, such as the Psychology Building, were approved several years ago by our legislators; the money cannot be reallocated for other purposes. Other projects involving the upgrade of existing facilities, such as the Suites and Schwartz renovations, are upgrades to the fire safety system, which is being paid for by housing funds. In the case of the expansion of the Student Recreation Center, no state appropriated funds are used; the expansion is being funded using student fees that the student body voted several years ago to support.
Given the serious reductions already absorbed by administrative units within the university, as we move into the next round of anticipated state budget reductions, we likely will have to reduce budgets in both administrative and academic areas. Even as we do this, however, UNCW remains committed to doing everything possible to minimize the impact these budget cuts will have on our students and the completion of their academic programs. For more details about the budget and our budget planning process, I invite you to visit the budget office website at: www.uncw.edu/budget. Or, if you would like to discuss this topic in more detail, please don't hesitate to contact me at email@example.com. I would very much appreciate the opportunity to meet with any student, student group or class that may have an interest in this topic.
Vice Chancellor, Business Affairs