UA President Robert Shelton's Statement Regarding Proposed Cuts to University Budgets

Johnny Cruz
Jan. 15, 2009

University of Arizona President Robert Shelton made the following statement upon learning of the legislative proposal to make crippling cuts to the UA budget:

"Earlier today legislative leadership put forward figures on possible cuts to higher education in the State of Arizona. They have suggested mid-year cuts to the university system that could total $243 million – approximately one-quarter of the entire budget, with a total reduction of $388 million into fiscal year 2010.

"Mid-year cuts to the University of Arizona would total $103 million under this scenario.

"These figures are so extreme that they would absolutely cripple higher education in our state. At the very time that our state needs to stimulate the economy, the Legislature is talking about absolutely devastating cuts to the most powerful economic engine in our state. If enacted, these cuts would compound the current economic challenges in our state and make it harder for Arizona to recover from the recession. This is simply irresponsible.

"The state needs to protect its universities – not dismantle them – if it has any hope of building an economy for the future or aspiring to more than mediocrity.

"We are very conscious of the difficult deficit challenge facing the state, and all three universities are prepared to do their part to cut budgets. But cuts of this magnitude would

bring irreparable damage. It would force the closure of colleges, increase the costs for attendance, and ultimately cut access to the best hope of a better way of life for our young people.

"Compounding the budget cuts are proposals to micro-manage the universities. This is simply unacceptable.

"We plan to continue conversations with the governor and key legislators, and to focus on helping them understand the key role that The University of Arizona plays in spurring the

economy, improving the quality of life in the state and affording access to upward mobility.

"And we encourage every citizen of this state who cares about their quality of life – who wants their children or grandchildren to have an opportunity to attend a quality university – to speak up now and to speak loudly."