Connecticut state legislators have been attempting to find a way for the state to escape a monumental budgetary crisis. In an attempt to close a sizeable fiscal gap, the University of Connecticut has undergone steep cuts.
While several proposed cuts have been of a large scale, most notably the proposed closure of the Torrington branch, most cuts will necessarily be of a smaller scale. The university must now seek to trim excess, so as to minimize impact on the UConn community.
UConn recently announced the closure of the Alexey von Schlippe Gallery, which is located at the UConn Avery Point branch campus. The Day reported on the closure of the art gallery, which has attracted protest and a petition that “nearly 800 people have signed.” While the closing of an art gallery that is vital to the humanities is unfortunate, budgetary realities demand such cuts.
UConn Dean of the Fine Arts, Anne D’Alleva, told The Day “…students need to be able to get their diplomas…a lot of the cuts are very painful, but for Avery Point, this was their best decision.” In order for UConn to come through this difficult financial situation, cuts of technically non-essential operations across all campuses are necessary.
While an art gallery provides a tremendous service to students, faculty and community, the Avery Point branch will still function as designed without the gallery.
Now that the university has confirmed it will consider closing the Torrington campus, given the low (and declining) enrollment of “only 88 full-time students,” according to The Daily Campus these smaller cuts are crucial. They account for a real difference in the current financials of the UConn system, while limiting the impact on student life.
UConn Dining Services began closing several university-operated cafés earlier in the afternoon, with Lu’s Café only operating until 1:30 p.m. after the return from spring break. The university should continue to seek similar cuts, which will temporarily affect student life.
Once this sort of cut has been in place for several weeks, students tend to get used to the changes. For example, the University removed napkin dispensers from tables in dining halls across campus during the 2013-2014 academic year. Students adapted to the change, resulting in a dramatic reduction in waste and cost amounting to $19,484.14 in savings, according to a Nov. 20, 2015 report from The Daily Campus.
Moving forward, the university must produce solutions to the serious budgetary shortfalls that have a minimal impact on students, faculty and staff. Trimming excess across all levels is preferable to large-scale cuts, unless those cuts are unavoidable or are logical after a cost-benefit analysis. UConn’s dire financial straits will require sacrifice from all members of the community; the university must ensure cuts are necessary and viable for the UConn community.