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System requires budget cuts include high-level positions

By Wade Allen
Oct 1, 2009

The position of Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Development, held by Dr. Tom Corti, was eliminated by the severe budget cuts imposed by the UNC Board of Governors.

Dr. Corti’s position was vacated effective Sept. 15, according to Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dr. Diane O. Jones.

“Every position has been impacted by that budget,” Dr. Jones said. “We’ve very sorry to lose that position but everybody had to make cuts.”

Dr. Corti was a major supporter of extracurricular events at UNCP and attended many gatherings to talk with students and gain their input. He attended many events related to the UNCP community such as the Friends of the Mary Livermore Library annual benefit.

According to Dr. Jones, the position held by Dr. Corti was the “only physical position [under her]” that had to be abolished.

Positions cut
“We tried to look at every possibility and every option,” said Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs R. Neil Hawk.

“We’re looking at five [positions to be cut],” he said. Hawk, as Vice Chancellor, is over the office of human relations at UNCP.

Jessica Hall, an employee in the office of international programs, had her position abolished in May, according to Director of International Programs Sara Brackin.

Hall’s position had been cut due to budget requirements that the University had to meet.

“It was very traumatic; I just don’t remember,” Brackin said, regarding the loss of Hall’s position.

Interim Chancellor Charles Jenkins said that funds flowing throughout the University were not the only things that were required to be cut.

“We had to produce positions of certain levels,” Dr. Jenkins said. “You know, budget and position cuts.”

In times of job insecurity, sometimes people confuse positions being eliminated because of budget cuts with having an employee resign from their position. At the Mary Livermore Library, Dr. Elinor F. Foster, dean of library services, said that she was glad to set the record straight.

“We did have someone that resigned,” Dr. Foster said. “No one was let go. What was let go were vacant positions.”

“This thing has really bothered me because I care about people,” Interim Chancellor Jenkins said.

University officials held several town hall meetings in August to address the subject of the budget cuts and how they were affecting UNCP on a daily basis. At the time of the meetings, the Chancellor said that he hoped no positions would have to be cut.

“I’m deeply saddened for the individuals and their families that have been affected by this,” Dr. Jenkins said. “I regret very much that it happened in general.”

Pressing on
“We’re going to move forward as a University,” Dr. Jenkins said. “Right now, money is real tight. We have to keep the economy of the state in mind.”

Dr. Jenkins said that he desired to “step forward” as a University to meet the challenges that lie ahead.

“It’s a time where we have to evaluate everything we do,” Dr. Jenkins said. These are sad times for us but we’ve got to move forward.”

Budget now
Since the town hall budget meetings were held over a month ago, many people wonder how the budget is looking now, compared to in August.

“I don’t think the parameters changed,” Hawk said. “We’re still at that same point.”

The original budget reduction plan, as described by Hawk, included 12.5 positions being cut at UNCP to be in compliance with the cuts imposed.

“We had to add two more administration to what we have,” Hawk said. “We ended up with 14.5 The composition’s changed.”

The marketing strategy plan for UNCP has been revised to be in accordance with the budget cuts imposed by the state.

The future plans include: Holding all vacant administrative positions pending further review of needs and that only positions recommended by a vice chancellor and approved by the chancellor will be filled; to continue to review administrative costs in order to further control position growth; and that any request for new administrative positions are required to be approved by a vice chancellor and the chancellor.

Dr. Jones: ‘Everybody had to make cuts’

Since current student enrollment at UNCP is at 6,664, several changes are being looked at around campus to meet needs that have been brought up.

Residence hall
“We’re looking at the area behind Village for the new residence hall,” Dr. Jones said. “That is the only space on campus that is big enough.”

According to Hawk, the process that is being studied is the same process used when constructing Oak Hall.

“The Foundation builds the building, leases those improvements back to UNCP,” Hawk said.

“Then we pay that back. We looked at doing this last year but it wasn’t feasible,” he said.

Dr. Jones said that UNC general administration had given UNCP permission to seek bonds in order to supply funds for the new residence hall.

“If we move the new residence hall to the north side of campus, it would free up parking on campus,” Dr. Jones said.

The design that is being studied includes a plan that has either five or six floors.

“With our enrollment, we can go up one more floor [to six],” Dr. Jones said.

Replace West Dr. Jones said that the new residence hall is an 18-month project and that if the hall can be constructed behind Village Apartments instead of on the land currently occupied by West Hall, it “will speed” up the process.

A new residence hall is being looked at to replace West Hall and Wellons Hall.

New cable
Despite budget cuts, some areas around campus are getting an upgrade.

According to Dr. Jones, Time Warner cable will be installed into all the on-campus residence halls in October.

“We had a contract coming due and we put that out for bid,” Dr. Jones said. “Every residence hall asked for this last year. Basically, they wanted HBO.”


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Updated: Wednesday, October 7, 2009
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