UM students, faculty to protest budget cuts


MISSOULA, Mont. - Some University of Montana faculty, staff and students have planned a rally to protest budget cuts. Organizers say they're hoping to provide information to the public about the impact of the shortfall.

The actual dollar amount continues to fluctuate. What once seemed like it could be a $16 million budget gap is now projected to be half that. It will all come down to the final enrollment numbers, which won't be known until next fall.

UM administrators say they're constantly monitoring where cuts can be made. But rally organizers say everyone deserves to be included in the budget conversations.

"Administration, faculty, staff students -- we're all stakeholders in this institution and we just believe that as a public institution…that we should all have a seat at the table -- anyone that wants to speak," said UM student Eamon Ormseth.

UM's Vice President for Integrated Communications Peggy Kuhr stressed that despite cuts the university will continue to focus on academics.

"If you look at education and academics, 80 percent of our general fund budget goes to academics instruction," said Kuhr.

Kuhr welcomed the idea of a rally and said it's an important and ongoing conversation. The rally is organized for noon Wednesday at the UM Oval.

Below is the press release about the event:

UM faculty, students, staff, and members of the Missoula community have organized a rally for Wednesday, May 1st at noon at the Oval on the University of Montana (UM) campus to protest the adverse impact of the budgetary cuts imposed unilaterally by the University of Montana administration. The purpose of the rally is to provide information and educate the public and the media about the devastating impact of the proposed cuts on individual lives and academic programs at UM. We will also provide the media outlets with a list of alternative cost saving measures, which would reduce university expenditures without undermining UM's academic and service missions.

If you have any questions or require more information, please contact:

Michael Mayer (Department of History) at (406) 243-2208 Mehrdad Kia (Department of History) at (406) 360-4067 Eamon Ormseth, (ASUM) at (406) 799-8889 GG Weix (Department of Anthropology) at (406) 243-6319 Michel Valentin (Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures) at (406) 243-2301 or (406) 214-1298 

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