EKU approves budget cuts

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Eastern Kentucky University

RICHMOND, Ky. (WTVQ) – Jobs, academic and athletic programs at Eastern Kentucky University are going away, victim of an estimated $25 million budget deficit.

That deficit, the school blames on reduced funding from the state and pensions.

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The Board of Regents met Friday to vote on the proposed cuts.

Most of them passed.

In a matter of hours, votes were made and 153 jobs throughout the university were eliminated.

The men’s and women’s tennis teams are gone, and EKU’s regional campus in Danville will close.

The biggest discussion during the meeting was in regards to the proposed cuts to academic programs.

Of 13 listed, 12 will be cut. Those include Theater, the Associates Degree in Nursing, Nursing Administration emphasis, Business and Marketing Teaching, Deaf Studies, American Sign Language Studies, Family and Consumer Science Teaching, PE and Health Teaching, Economics, Religion, Sculpture, and Individualized Studies.

The School of Psychology degree is up for suspension as well. Its vote was tabled to allow for further discussion.

Four other degrees were cut, but rather than suspending the entire program, those in the major will be transferred to another path.

Those include a BS in Risk Management, BA in Chemistry, BS in Mathematics Teaching, and MS in Mathematical Sciences.

The president of the Student Government Association, Laura Jackson, sits on the Board of Regents as a voting member. She wants her fellow classmates, and others at the university, to know the cuts aren’t meant to be personal. It’s something she says the university has to do.

“In the end, I know, as I was thinking and as I was making my votes, it’s important that the university continue on and educate students and it’s important that we all keep in mind moving forward that we’re making these cuts for a reason, so that we can continue, and even though it’s very unfortunate that we have to cut anything, it’s the fact of the situation,” said Jackson.

Craig Turner, chairman of the board, sees these cuts as a way for the university to improve.

“Sometimes you prune a tree so it grows a little stronger,” said Turner. “We’re going to be more directive in the programs that we’re extremely successful at, and those that have low enrollments and low graduations, those are the ones that we’ve looked at about how to deal with those programs.”

As for students currently enrolled in the cut programs, they will be entered into a teach out agreement, meaning they will get to finish their degrees at EKU.