FY04 Budget Update
[posted July 10, 2003]
With the completion of legislative action to sustain the appropriation for the Commonwealth College and the approval of the state early retirement program, we can consider the principal part of the budget reduction process concluded for UMass Amherst. The table of reductions I presented on this web site last week makes clear the dramatic adjustments required to bring our budget into line with the state’s resources for this campus. We are grateful for all the support everyone on and off campus has provided throughout this traumatic process, and we appreciate the efforts of our legislators who prevented the dramatic reductions from becoming even worse from the executive branch vetoes. The intense efforts of our President and his staff in explaining the serious damage further reductions would have caused us clearly helped persuade the legislature of the seriousness of these issues.
Although the major part of the budget reduction process concludes with this memo, much work remains to be accomplished. Each unit affected has submitted a budget reduction plan, and we are reviewing those to ensure that the university can meet its obligations. The early retirement program will be implemented over the next several months in accord with the legislation. This will result in the loss of people, and once we know where those losses occur, we will need to plan for the necessary adjustments to ensure our ability to meet our teaching and other critical obligations. Some of the academic consolidations and adjustments require discussion through the normal faculty governance process in the Faculty Senate. As indicated in my previous message, while we have brought the budget close to the reduction target required of us, we have a remaining shortfall to recover over the coming year through careful management of our resources, increased revenue, and other adjustments as needed. All of this means that we will be dealing with the consequences of these dramatic budget reductions for most of the coming year even though we will have concluded the formal budget reduction process.
Through this incredibly difficult and painful process, I have been heartened by the strength and effectiveness of the people of UMass Amherst. Faculty, students, staff; community friends and alumni; and the many supporters of this campus throughout the Commonwealth and across the nation have found the creativity and commitment to carry us through this period with the minimum damage to our core academic strength. We have lost some substantial programs and activities of great value to many people; we have lost some colleagues whose contributions helped make this such a fine institution. Nonetheless, UMass Amherst remains, thanks to everyone’s efforts, a major American public research university. Even at the high cost we were required to pay, this campus sustained its academic imperative.
I am thankful to be a part of this strong and dedicated community.
John V. Lombardi