The UNM Board of Regents heard fiscal recommendations Monday that would cut more than $12 million from the University budget.

Andrew Cullen, vice president of Planning, Budget and Analysis, outlined the University’s plan to save money to the regents. His presentation included a $5.6 million shortfall that UNM will not receive from the state. Other cuts included more than $300,000 from Athletics, $1.9 million from the administration, $2.9 million from Information Technologies and $871,127 spread among departments.

Regent Don Chalmers said the cuts might not be enough.
“These recommendations seem to walk close to the edge without going over,” he said. “I think we need to put VPs on the table. I would put executive salaries on the table.”

Cullen compiled his presentation from recommendations made by department deans, tuition and cost-containment task force members, Academic Affairs and the President’s Strategic Advisory Team.

The presentation wasn’t all bad news. The University budget office projects a $4 million surplus from an enrollment increase.
Salaries, which were cut to go along with a three-year budget plan, should be $1.7 million less than last year.

The Instruction and General budget, which covers University
operations, has grown from $69 million last year to about $86.8 million by the end of the year.

The regents concluded, however, that regardless of budget cuts to departments, a tuition increase will likely help balance UNM’s budget.
“I have no problem raising tuition if we’ve done everything to lower our costs,” Regent James Koch said. Koch said he recommended cutting vice president salaries to avoid raising tuition. Chalmers said that was a feasible option.

“It’s tough stuff and those of us in the private sector have been through tough stuff, too,” he said. “This latest recession has been so different that we haven’t only cut the fat out of the organization, but sometimes we cut a bit of the muscle.”

The regents requested further analysis on tuition increases and whether vice president salaries can be cut by the time the regents approve the budget March 14.

Others, like Faculty Senate President Richard Wood, who was an adviser on the budget cut recommendations, said a tuition increase is inevitable.

“I don’t see a scenario where we don’t ask the students for a significant rise in tuition,” he said.