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UND budget cut plans to be released Friday

Mark Kennedy

UND will be announcing on Friday a series of draft proposals for budget cuts for academic colleges and support units, said university President Mark Kennedy in a Tuesday interview.

Kennedy said the proposed reductions will be made public through the university's blog, UND Today, at the end of this week after impacted employees are informed in less public channels.

"We wanted to release cuts at the support unit level simultaneously with the academic unit level so there'd be a firm understanding that this is not just impacting one side of organization and not the other," he said.

The follow-up to the proposals is still subject to some change as the state budget picture continues to become clearer. As of now, UND is anticipating an outright reduction of about $32 million in state appropriations over the upcoming 2017-19 biennium budget. The North Dakota Legislature is now looking toward a Thursday forecast of state revenues to further shape the extent of cuts passed down to state-funded entities.

Kennedy said the outcome of that forecast and the legislative deliberation to follow will help guide decisions at UND, as will the final outcome of a recent call for voluntary separations in the university workforce. More than 119 faculty and staff members ended up applying for a buyout or phased retirement plan. That process is now in the midst of a "two-month time clock" in which campus leaders and applicants will have an opportunity to decide, respectively, whether to extend or accept an incentivized exit.

Though the results of the budget forecast could provide breathing room to avoid some harder cuts, Kennedy said this week's proposals are written in such a way that "gets us to the Senate appropriations number" as it stands.

"Whether those actual prescriptions are the actual prescriptions in part depends on decisions that people that have elected to voluntary retirement ultimately make," he added.

Andrew Haffner

Andrew Haffner covers higher education and general assignment stories for the Grand Forks Herald. He attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he studied journalism, political science and international studies. He previously worked at the Dickinson Press.

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