Budget Cuts Dim University Beacon

Today was "University Day" for UNC. It was also in the news that the most recent University of North Carolina System budget cuts have resulted in eleven layoffs and the loss of 367 vacant positions. That doesn't sound like a lot compared to some Tar Heel manufacturing plants which closed with thousands of job losses. But, it amounts to 48 million dollars whacked from the University budget.

U-N-C officials say that while the student population has grown larger in the past several years, the budget has grown the other way-—smaller. The report says the chancellors fear they have pushed the limits of cost-cutting that can be accomplished without compromising quality. In plainer words, we are going to get what we pay for.

The cuts have led to 287 fewer teaching positions. To give you an idea of the impact of that number, it's equivalent to the entire faculty at Fayetteville State University . We are talking serious crimp here! The North Carolina constitution requires the state to provide higher education to Tar Heel students, and suggests it be, inasmuch as possible, free-—just as the state and the counties provide primary and secondary education, for the most part free to younger people.

The North Carolina System of public higher education-—which includes the nation's oldest state university, the Chapel Hill campus--has long been a beacon of excellence for other states to follow, but, with numbers like these it can only grow dimmer.