University of Montana Departments Struggle With Imminent Cuts
Nearly all departments at the University of Montana are facing cutbacks to help bring the school’s budget in-line with the current student population, which has continued to drop year-over-year. U.S. and Montana History Professor Jeff Wiltse says the History Department is facing the second highest cuts of all the departments.
"Everyone recognizes that cuts need to be made," Wiltse said. "I think the question becomes where and what the severity is. Speaking mainly from the perspective of the History Department, we are suffering some pretty drastic cuts. Our instructional budget is slated to be cut by 28%, which means there is the possible loss of four or five faculty within the History Department. I think that would be devastating."
The goal is to trim nearly $300,000 from the department that has just 13 people. Latin America History Professor Jody Pavilack is one of about 18 history professors, says she is on the shortlist for cuts unless some of the top tenured faculty doesn’t choose to retire.
"Well two or three if it was at the top and five if it is at the bottom," Pavilack said. "In principal it goes last in, first out. That is what is says in the union contract. All the Dean was doing was looking and saying, if you don't get the money from retirements at the top, we are going to start at the bottom. This is how they ran the numbers to get to the $300,000."
The $300,000 in cuts in the History Department are just part of nearly $5 million in cuts campus-wide. Some of those cuts in staffing may happen very soon. In a letter sent out by Provost Jon Harbor a deadline of October 12th is listed for “faculty to submit a voluntary end of employment form.” Deans are expected to have their plans for staffing that is in-line with budget cuts submitted before the end of this month.