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President Accepts Budget Task Force Report

May 25, 2011

Dear Members of the UNH Community,

Today, I am writing to share the report of our Budget Task Force, which I established in response to the state Legislature’s plan to cut support for the University System by 45 percent.

We continue to make a strong case for UNH, and are hopeful that lawmakers may restore a portion of our funding when they approve a final state budget in June. Yet, despite our best efforts—and the support of key partners, constituents, the UNH community, and alumni across New Hampshire—it is clear that we must prepare for a serious budget cut. The cut could be as high as $31 million for UNH.

The 18-member Task Force has worked tirelessly and with creativity, fairness, and compassion to form its response. It has also invited input from across the University community, which contributed more than 300 suggestions. Throughout the process, the Task Force has maintained its focus on protecting the quality of education, research, engagement, and the student experience central to our mission.

Some of the steps we are taking have previously been announced, including:

  • Reductions in benefits for non-unionized employees.

  • A voluntary Separation Incentive Plan (SIP) for all employees. Details of the plan can be found here.

  • A salary freeze for non-unionized employees.

  • A hiring freeze with rare exceptions.

I accept the Task Force’s recommendations for these steps. I also endorse its call for a study of longer-term options, including the possible merger of four units that cover science, engineering, the environment, natural resources, and agriculture into a single unit. We will also evaluate the role of the graduate school, develop a method for evaluating programs, offices, and departments across the University, examine ways to be more creative in our use of time and space, and study additional areas for savings and increased revenues.

When the final reports of these options are submitted to me in December, I, in consultation with the President’s Cabinet, will make final decisions based on those studies.

Please read the full report for complete details.

It is my greatest hope that we will find innovative solutions in the coming months that will allow us to minimize the necessity for even more serious cuts.

I want to express my sincere appreciation to the Budget Task Force for undertaking this difficult process. And I want to thank you, members of the University community, for working together to offer your continued support, insights, and good faith efforts to keep UNH strong.

Sincerely,

Mark W. Huddleston
President


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