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May 5, 2015

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UNLV president plans for ‘state of fiscal collapse’


Steve Marcus

UNLV President Neal Smatresk delivers his State of the University Address in this Sept. 15, 2009 file photo. On Tuesday he proposed a “financial exigency” plan in response to proposed budget cuts.

UNLV President Neal Smatresk told a somber Faculty Senate on Tuesday that the administration was planning a kind of bankruptcy to deal with its budget crunch.

Under the "financial exigency" plan, tenured professors could be fired and whole departments and programs more easily closed down.

Earlier this month, the Board of Regents said it would be premature to consider such a move until the Legislature approved a final budget by June.

Smatresk told the faculty group that the cuts for UNLV would total $47.5 million and would need to be implemented by July 2012, so a plan for financial exigency would have to be prepared.

UNLV has had about $50 million in cuts over the last four years, mostly in non-academic areas and mostly avoiding large cuts for professor positions. If the cuts proposed by Gov. Brian Sandoval were approved, Smatresk said, academic cuts could not be avoided.

"We would have to declare financial exigency," Smatresk said. He added, "I believe the proposed cuts could materialize."

He and other officials would spend the next few weeks developing cutback plans with deans and faculty groups.

"It's very clear our state is approaching a state of fiscal collapse" when it comes to education, Smatresk said.

The cuts, Smatresk said, will lead to a "smaller, more expensive, more selective institution."

"I need to tell you," he said, with a voice heavy with sadness, "it's hard to abandon old ways of thinking. A white knight will not come in and dramatically change the situation."

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  1. Ah, but Governor Sandogibbons is going to create better jobs by virtually shuttering higher education. In Republicanland, that's called logic.

  2. Ahhh but Mr. Smatresk how many of your staff and old colleagues are bringing in over 100K a year and lining their pockets with kids tuition money? How could your accounting possibly be in the red with all the high fees and state and federal subsidies and incentives? Poor management started UNLV's downfall way before the economy took a dive.

  3. Birdiedreamin: "bring back the 60's baby." I was there then, the 60s...marching, protesting. I like to think it had an impact, at least a small one. What disturbs me about university students today is that they don't, I'm not even sure if they take the time to vote. Sure there's no draft, but we poured tons of money in Iraq, we're doing the same thing in Afghanistan. Nevada is increasingly the butt of jokes and last, as well as first on the lists that it shouldn't be.

    In a way, I understand the funding cut. On the other hand, I also believe that given the state of our State, education and social services are the last things that should be cut. I also believe taxes, especially those on casinos, should be raised...and that students should be out raising h*** (not sure what one can actually print here) and trying to effect change.

    We have a fine university, they should support it. I do.

  4. Higher education educates smart people who then stay in the state and create businessess. Republicans refuse to accept this fact, believing that giving tax cuts to foreign corporations who take Nevada's Gold and Silver away while paying less than 1% in taxes is the way to prosperity. They don't believe in investing in education to create home-grown business.

    See where your budget has sent our state, Sandogibbons? Of course you don't. You couldn't care less.

  5. The cut is about 6 percent of their total biennial budget (excluding sports, dental school and law school).

    Mr. Hilton,

    If educated smart people stay in the state and create business can you explain California, Michigan, New York and Connecticut?

    Can you explain why states with an Ivy League school had a combined net migration rate of NEGATIVE 2.5 million between 2000 and 2008?

    We've been oversold on the benefits of higher education. It is bloated, expensive and ineffective.

  6. Meanwhile, along the East Coast, in a diversified economy with great universities, unemployment rates are far lower than they are in Nevada, where we just attract all kinds of high-tech industry by cutting education!

  7. Remember "The Switch" in Henderson? Sandoval said it was going to bring technology to Nevada? Take a look at it and remember this:

    1. The electronic design of all the boards was done somewhere else.

    2. The design and fabrication of the discrete electrical components was done somewhere else.

    3. The mechanical cabinets that hold the electronic assemblies were designed and fabricated somewhere else.

    4. The software to run this communications portal is written somewhere else.

    5. The income it generates goes almost entirely somewhere else, to owners, executives, engineers, mathematicians, programmers, marketeers and fuzzy faced geeks that are somewhere else.

    They came here for a cheap piece of desert land and cheap labor in the form of rent-a-cops, customer service agents and technicians trained to connect the right cable to the correct socket. The design teams that created this technology will remain where they are. Good luck Gov on the Recovery cause these design teams aren't going to re-locate in Nevada.

    (I apologize if that sounds harsh - we saw the same thing happen on Altair IV - Dr. Morbius was the only individual who was able to understand their thoughts).

  8. Now they can get rid of Titus and save her sayary.

  9. Now they can get rid of Titus and save her salary.

  10. Once again, Patrick Gibbons writes comments below an article but refuses to disclose that he is paid to do so by NPRI, a right-wing organization determined to dismantle as much government as possible, no matter how much the people want services such as public education, higher education, and law enforcement.

    And regarding the link you privided to your own post (how arrogant, by the way), if you have to rely on screen caps from fantasy movies like The Dark Knight and you-tube clips from The Simpsons in order to keep your readers' attention, may I suggest a writing position with either DC or Marvel comics?

  11. It's extremely sad at the lack of support the colleges and k-12 get in NV. Just keep cutting away politicians. You'll cut yourself out of the picture as soon as there is nothing left. It's been years of cuts now. I'd like to see how many of you have contacted your representatives about the cuts. I did, often upon deaf ears.

  12. Chunky says:

    "It's very clear our state is approaching a state of fiscal collapse" when it comes to education, Smatresk said.

    "I need to tell you," he said, with a voice heavy with sadness, "it's hard to abandon old ways of thinking."

    Knock! Knock! Who's there? It's the real world Mr. Smatresk!

    The entire state and country is facing fiscal collapse just like a lot of tax payers are right now.

    You're a bunch of so called professional educators, pull your heads out of the public feedbag long enough to come up with creative ways to do more with less like the people who pay the taxes are already doing.

    It's easy to lead when you have unlimited funding and the shield of "education" to hide behind. Show us some leadership and show us how creative you can be. Educated obviously does not correlate with smart.

    That's what Chunky thinks!

  13. i propose a salary cap of 75,000 for all state employees who do not pay for their own salaries by the revenue they create . make the state a million and you deserve triple figures otherwise your dead weight