Union asks why UF holds $80 million slush fund during cuts
Graduate Assistants United responded to the budget cuts and layoffs at UF:
May 19--Graduate Assistants United, the union of graduate assistants at UF, has serious doubts about the nature of the current UF budget crisis. While it is true the state gave the University of Florida a smaller budget than in years past, our research indicates that UF has considerable assets on hand they could use to ease the cuts.
If you look at our website (ufgau.org) you will find an analysis of state audits of UF over the last five years commissioned by the National Education Association: http://www.ufgau.org/UFaudit.pdf.
This report is based on documents from the Auditor General's audit of the University of Florida (state documents open to the public). Table 1 lists the total "unrestricted funds" that the university has had each year. Unrestricted funds means money UF has in the bank it can spend on anything. Each year since 2003 UF has had more than $80 million. (See chart below.)
The school's direct support organizations carry over millions of dollars too.
If you look at Table 4 in the NEA's document, you can also see that UF's net assets (this includes building, equipment, etc.) have been increasing. (See chart below.)
Before the current budget cycle, the school's own reports show UF was in excellent financial condition. Why then isn't the school using some of the money it set aside for a rainy day on this most rainy of days rather than gutting the academic mission of the university? UF administration officials have said before that a budget crisis can be an opportunity to reallocate resources. Last year, while UF President Bernie Machen forced the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to cut back already under-funded programs because of a debt of no more than $9 million, he was sitting on over $130 million in cash. While we join others in decrying the lack of shared governance in setting the budget, GAU believes that this is in part a manufactured crisis so UF's administration can secretly shift money it pretends not to have to its own priorities outside of the public's notice.
We also call your attention to a petition in opposition to UF's proposed staff layoffs, which would lead to the termination of over 100 current employees. It urges the university administration to reconsider its decision to impose layoffs. http://www.petitiononline.com/UFlayoff/petition.html
Graduate Assistants United can be reached at http://ufgau.org
STATEMENT OF NET ASSETS
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