Sen. Doc. No. 91-057A UNIVERSITY AT RISKA Special Report submitted jointly toThe Faculty Senate byThe Academic Priorities CouncilandThe Research Councilto be presentedat the 463rdMeeting of the Faculty SenateonMay 23, 1991
A UNIVERSITY AT RISKPART I:INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUNDFor close to three years now, the University has faced a serious budget crisis.TheAdministration and faculty have tried to cope with repeated budget cuts and budget reversions.Somecuts have been across the board, others have been more selective.Some units have been virtuallyterminated; others have been significantly reduced.The sense of crisis has caused some faculty,particularly those most productive in research, scholarly and creative activities, to lose confidence inthe University’s ability to protect quality.The budget crisis and the repeated cuts have taken their toll; class size has increased, thequality of instruction has gone down.There are fewer small classes and seminars.Library hours,services and acquisitions have been reduced.Campus and building maintenance has deteriorated.Departments have attrited.Research and travel funds have dwindled.Other consequences have beena dramatic drop in faculty morale.It is widely believed that the faculty exodus which has begun, willaccelerate in the year ahead, and that the loss of gifted scholars will have long lasting negativeconsequences.It now appears that what has happened so far is likely to be but a microscopic version of whatis likely to happen in the future.As of this writing, state revenue estimates have been reduced again.State aid to cities and towns is about to be slashed.It seems, therefore, that the University will face atleast a “$10 million problem” next year, which will have to be absorbed by cuts in all areas of thebudget, including personnel.The administration has estimated that this might lead to involuntaryterminations for up to 200 members of the University community.It is unlikely that attrition, savingsfrom resignations and retirements or non re-appointments will make more than a very modestcontribution to the short-fall, as these have already been anticipated for the most part.The University faces at least two alternatives; it can “roll over and play dead” and absorb thepunches as they are delivered.Alternatively it can develop and embrace a clearer and crisper definition of its mission, developsome goals and adopt a method to cope with the crisis.We are all agreed that the University must notonly endure—it must prevail.A Short Statement on MissionThe Mission Statement of the University, approved by the University Trustees in March 1989,states, in part, that. . . the University of Massachusetts at Amherst is the most comprehensive campus of the statesystem, the public land-grant university, and a premier research institution.