Las Vegas Sun

September 2, 2014

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Budget crisis has UNLV slashing staff

UNLV today announced significant staff reductions.

University President David Ashley has written a letter to staff noting:

"This spring we have issued 99 notices of non-reappointment, 29 of which were given today. We are losing valued members of our university community, many of whom have made significant contributions to UNLV, and they will all be missed. This is a stressful time to those affected, and to the campus community. I know you join me in your appreciation of their service and the value they have provided to the university with their individual talents. These difficult budgetary decisions were guided at all times by passion for the university’s mission tempered by compassion for the individuals affected."

Michael Wixom, chairman of the Board of Regents, said, "I’m deeply, deeply disturbed by these developments. I know (Ashley's) doing his best to preserve the university’s core mission, but it’s a challenge."

(An irritated source on the UNLV faculty, granted anonymity so the person could speak freely, noted that the parking lot was re-striped today, "cuz that's essential to our core mission," while also advocating cuts for the athletic department.)

The news of layoffs at the university system comes on the heels of a study showing Nevada now ranks 45th on the Milken Institute's 2008 State Technology and Science Index, in which the quality of education systems -- and higher education in particular -- are important benchmarks.

Wixom, appointed by Gov. Kenny Guinn, said he wants to bring together Republicans and Democrats, business and education leaders, to discuss a long-term funding solution. He said the strong political rhetoric on both sides, which could be heard before and during last week's special legislative sessions, needs to change so that leaders can find a solution.

The reality however, is that for anti-tax Republicans, there can be no compromise on Gov. Jim Gibbons' no-tax pledge, so a compromise seems highly unlikely.

Enter state Sen. Bob Beers, who said the layoffs are the natural result of full professors being asked to take on a full course load, meaning three classes. He said he has no problem with research professors who go out and find grants to pay for their research. The rest, he said, should be teaching.

"I think that's a very good development. It's wasteful to have professor teaching two or fewer classes."

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