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Faculty Senate creates task force to study UWRF budget process

Falcon News Service

April 20, 2016

In the wake of recent budget cuts at UW-River Falls, a faculty task force has been created to examine their impact.

The Faculty Senate created the task force during its April 6 meeting, but a group of student leaders successfully lobbied to get a student representative included as well.

The task force is to study how the university’s budget works and ways to improve communication about the process. It is to submit a report to the chancellor and the Faculty Senate chair by Aug. 1.

Brady Murphy, the Student Senate’s director of external relations and one of the students who lobbied for student representation within the task force, said that the group has been focused on being part of the budgeting process and making suggestions toward what could be done.

“This task force basically exists so that Faculty Senate has a voice in the budgeting process for the colleges, so they will be involved in the budgeting process. To what exact level of involvement and what degree or capacity is still not entirely known,” Murphy said.

Other students are looking at the task force to bring a level of transparency to the budgeting process to ensure that programs in which they are involved will be able to be funding properly.

UWRF Senior Malachi Becker, who also lobbied for student representation on the task force, said that he believes that the group will be able to shed some light on how things are run and avoid future miscommunication when it comes to budgeting.

“This honest miscommunication is the simple fact that the administration hasn’t been allowing the College of Arts and Sciences to look at a good chunk of their budget,” he said. The college, one of four that make up UWRF, was hit with a $1.5 million budget cut that will have an effect on course availability, class sizes and staffing.

Professor John Heppen, chair of the Department of Geography and Geographic Information Science, said that the budget task force is a way of seeing how budget decisions are made.

“I liken it to a brewery tour. It’s just gonna go see how beer is brewed and bottled but it has nothing to say in regards to how beer is made, what’s being made, what ingredients are put in. Like I said it’s like going to a tour or it’s like looking through a window,” Heppen said.

The budget task force currently meets on a weekly basis.