COLA seeks student ideas, opinions on budget flaws

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Students gave their input on proposed budget shortfalls facing the College of Liberal Arts during an open meeting the College Tuition and Budget Advisory Committee hosted Monday.

CTBAC invited liberal arts students to give recommendations and feedback before the committee submits a formal recommendation plan to Liberal Arts Dean Randy Diehl before spring break, said CTBAC president Carl Thorne-Thomsen.

According to an e-mail the dean sent to liberal arts students on Friday, the college is expected to face millions of dollars in cuts over the next three years. Diehl wrote that the cuts are necessary because of an estimated $27 billion state budget shortfall.

“These are difficult times for all of us and we don’t yet know how deep the cuts will be,” Diehl wrote. “I strive to be as methodical, equitable and transparent as possible during this process and to minimize the damaging effects of the cuts on our core research and teaching missions.”

The college will most likely cut $1 million from area studies centers later this semester, according to the e-mail.
These centers include Asian American studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, Humanities Institute, Texas Language Technology Center and more, according to a recommendation plan by the Academic Planning and Advisory Committee. No center will receive increased funding while the others are being cut.

Members of Liberal Arts Council have been reaching professors and students who are voicing their opinions against these measures, said Shakshi Kshatriya, international relations and global studies junior and a member of
the council.

“Many people feel very passionately about the centers and they are concerned about their decrease,” Kshatriya said.
The committee is focusing on creating more qualitative data to present to the dean by conducting online surveys and soliciting opinions of students across campus, said committee member Yaman Desai.

“We are looking at what services students really value and what services they use more than others,” Desai said.
The formal recommendations will include student feedback and other things that the committee views as high priority issues for the College of Liberal Arts.

Students recommended to the committee that it should ask the centers to look into more options for funding outside the University.

Many guest lectures that are organized through these centers are paid by student tuitions. As much as students might enjoy these guest lectures, the college should be willing to cut down on these costs if push comes to shove,
Kshatriya said.

Government and history junior Philip Wiseman said students are here to get a degree. Things that pertain to graduating on time and getting quality education should be prioritized over other expenses, he said.

CTBAC researched different departments and programs on campus to see how the budget cuts are impacting the University as a whole, Thorne-Thomsen said.