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The University of Minnesota, Duluth (UMD) will announce nearly $12 million in budget cuts Monday.
The school implemented a process called Project Prioritization at the beginning of the Fall 2013 semester. It’s a process where administrators work with faculty and staff to evaluate budget expenses and what programs may need to be cut to make up the $11.9 million deficit.
However, those final cuts have some faculty members nervous.
"I think a significant amount of faculty members, more than I’ve ever seen at this institution in the ten years I've been here, are fairly concerned, " said Dr. Steve Mathews, the head of the History Department at UMD.
Mathew’s main concern is the students.
“I don't think anything drastic has occurred,” Mathews said. “But the concern that faculty have is that we are going to be put in a position where it's very hard to be able to offer the quality of programs that we need to market UMD, and to feel good about UMD ourselves."
In December, Chancellor Lendly Black told Fox 21 that the changes will be hard, but that they are necessary.
"Enrollment numbers are fluctuating, state support for higher education is fluctuating, and so this is a way for us to stay focused on our strengths," Chancellor Black said.
But Project Prioritization has faculty members questioning if cuts will really be beneficial.
“When we ask whether these will have a positive budget impact, are they going to save money, are they going to streamline programs so students can maintain a high quality of education,” Mathews said.
“The answer is there may or may not be budget impact with these changes. Well, if there's no positive budget impact in these changes why are we making the changes to the programs?"
According to Mathews, student concern is so high that some have come to him asking if they should change schools; wondering if UMD will still have the programs they need when prioritization is complete.
“I already have agreed with students that the best option may be somewhere else now that I don't know what type of program we'll be offering in the future,” Mathews said.
But others, like Student Association member Ben Default, don’t think students should be concerned.
“I personally feel there has been a lot of communication and it's a very stressful time. And the chancellor and his cabinet, they know that and they have been working really hard to make sure that everyone has the ability to have their voice heard,” Default said.
Chancellor Black has held several town meetings throughout the year to educate students on the process, but Default said only a handful of about 20 students have attended.
Default thinks that low number is concerning, because students might not realize how big the upcoming changes could be.
"You can never really scale back a 12 million dollar deficit with just snipping," Default said.
The budget announcement is set for 3:30 p.m. Monday in the Kirby Ballroom at UMD.