The College of Humanities and Sciences at the University of Montana is working on meeting cuts that seem to be higher than anyone expected. The department may even have to shave off up to 50 percent of its operational costs. The news was a surprise to History Professor Mehrdad Kia, who says faculty were led to believe this wouldn’t happen just a few weeks ago.

"Earlier this month at a meeting of faculty senate, a question was raised to President Engstrom about the state of the University budget," Kia said. "In response to that question, President Engstrom reassured the University faculty that there would not be any further budgetary cuts."

Now, Kia said departments are being cut to the bone.

"Some colleges are looking into for example cutting their phones and not using paper syllabus. We are living in a state of affairs that even that give, despite all the budgetary cuts, nobody could imagine," Kia said. "We are looking at every single item that can be eliminated so we can prevent the elimination of more faculty positions."

Vice President for Administration and Finance Mike Reid said these cuts are not new, but that particular departments may be facing tougher decisions now, after reallocation from the Provost.

"There could be some things with the allocation coming down from the Provost of the Deans where some areas are being impacted greater than others," Reid said. "In total, it's a 2.5 percent reduction out of the Provost operation. But there may be a situation where some deans are receiving a bigger reduction that they weren't anticipating based on how the Provost has allocated that out."

For his part, Kia said the cuts are "devastating" and will limit the college’s ability to communicate with and attract the new students it desperately needs to help boost revenue.

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