President Gilmour's budget statement to the media
President Allan Gilmour
Wayne State University
Statement to the media regarding Governor Snyder’s higher education budget
February 17, 2011
Michigan is faced with serious financial challenges. We all know this. The governor has asked for shared sacrifices, and higher education must bear some of that burden. We will continue to work as a partner with the state to balance fiscal necessity with the need to keep Michigan’s public universities, like Wayne State, strong and competitive. Our universities are sources of pride, but they are also sources of graduates, new ideas, vital research and economic development. It is critical that we maintain these strengths.
The governor’s budget would result in a $42 million reduction, or 21 percent, in state support to Wayne State. This figure equals the tuition paid per year by nearly 5,000 students and is the largest single-year budget cut for this university since we began receiving state support. It also amounts to the lowest state appropriation to Wayne State since 1989. Such a cut would negatively impact both our teaching and our research. The proposed budget includes, as well, a tuition restraint that reduces the flexibility we need to make appropriate decisions that maintain our quality.
Wayne State is accustomed to fiscal responsibility. Over the past several years we have permanently reduced operating expenses by more than $50 million. Among other things, we have combined two colleges and eliminated another; eliminated more than 200 positions; eliminated and consolidated departments; implemented purchasing and hiring freezes; and refined our purchasing strategies. We will continue to tighten our belt.
Our top priority is our students. We regret that the state’s proposed investment in higher education is not stronger, but we appreciate the magnitude of the task facing Governor Snyder and the Legislature. As deliberations go forward in Lansing, we will continue to advocate for the role of our public universities in leading Michigan’s return to prosperity.