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Augusta State weighs potential program cuts

School focuses on nonacademic areas, but classes aren't immune

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Augusta State University officials met with staff and faculty Tuesday morning to detail potential cuts should $300 million more in statewide funding be slashed.

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Augusta State University President William Bloodworth discusses possible cuts for the next fiscal year with faculty and staff during a Tuesday news conference.  COREY PERRINE/STAFF
COREY PERRINE/STAFF
Augusta State University President William Bloodworth discusses possible cuts for the next fiscal year with faculty and staff during a Tuesday news conference.

"You try to keep the institution as whole as possible," ASU President William Bloodworth said at a news conference later in the day, quickly noting the difficulty ASU would face if it had to make $4.7 million in additional cuts for next fiscal year. "We did the best job we could do."

Bloodworth and Medical College of Georgia officials said they were contacted Thursday by the University System of Georgia's chancellor's office and given 48 hours to respond with possible cuts, assuming higher education funding statewide would be chopped by an extra $300 million.

Dan Whitfield, ASU's vice president for business operations, said at the news conference that the university first looked at nonacademic areas.

The list to the chancellor's office included eliminating $400,000 in campus maintenance and improvement projects, reducing $400,000 in equipment purchases, cutting seven campus grounds and custodian positions for $180,000 and cutting three public safety jobs to save $130,000.

Ultimately, Whitfield said, academics had to be examined, including costly programs that had fewer students.

Bloodworth said ASU's nursing program, which would represent a cut of $1.6 million, is one of its most expensive.

"Nobody wants to lose nursing," he said.

The new bachelor of science nursing program, previously an associate's program, started this semester and has 46 students. ASU officials, though, have said about 600 students are taking prerequisites in hopes of entering the program.

Other programs listed as potential cuts were the Continuing Education program ($167,000), the Business MBA program ($400,000) and the drama program ($151,000). The drama program has about 30 student majors and 30 minors.

Bloodworth said athletic programs weren't suggested as potential cuts because they don't receive funding from the state, instead being paid for by student fees.

Bloodworth stressed that everything right now is just a "scenario" that could change as the process moves forward with state legislators.

"It's not done until it's done," he said.

STUDENT PROTESTS

Augusta State University spokeswoman Kathy Schofe said students are organizing two campus protests against the potential $4.7 million in cuts.

One protest will take place about 12:30 p.m. Thursday outside Allgood Hall, she said.

The other is being organized through the college's Student Government Association and will occur Tuesday at the school's amphitheater. Schofe wasn't sure of the starting time.

Some students also are planning to leave ASU early this morning to attend state subcommittee meetings in Atlanta, where the potential cuts will be addressed.

-- Preston Sparks, staff writer

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Brad Owens
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Brad Owens 03/03/10 - 06:22 am
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This is just the begining. I

This is just the begining. I notice that they cut the grounds guy and the cops but no admin cuts were announced.

Cut Drama? Good Lord, what will they come up with next? What would Augusta be without all the 'Drama'

Anyway, what happened to all the lottery monies? Isn't the lottery supposed to make up all these kinda shortfalls?

I say cut pay for all employees, cut out any non-academic expenses, lay off non-essential employees, turn the ACs off, put GPS trackers in all the vehicles to cut on fuel abuse, turn off all non-essential electrical devices, charge the ROTC more rent, and GASP!!! (pulling hair, tearing clothes, and knashing teeth) RAISE tuition!!!

This is not the end of the world and in fact, is just the begining of the crunch coming form the economy. Wait until the TOUGH choices have to be made.

Brad

Brad Owens
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Brad Owens 03/03/10 - 06:28 am
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P.S. The students can

P.S. The students can protest all they like, but instaed they should take that time to go out and find a part time job to pay more tuition. This can be a great learning tool for them.

OR they can take over all the gardening and non-essential jobs around campus to allow for the cuts to be made.

BO

disssman
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disssman 03/03/10 - 08:22 am
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Brad I am with you. Where is

Brad I am with you. Where is the headline that Bloodworth and the professors were being offered a smaller salary commensurate with their reduced responsibilities? By the way after they cut the maintenance people, we will see a call in a couple of years for multi-millions of dollars to replace the facilities, just like our jail downtown. Can you imagine what would happen to your automobile or house if you just quit cleaning and maintaining them?

corgimom
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corgimom 03/03/10 - 08:27 am
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Brad, ever been in a large

Brad, ever been in a large building with no windows that open and no AC? Guess not. Now that those horrible warehouses are gone, it's not about AC, it's about ventilation. I don't think you thought that one through.

jamesnewsome
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jamesnewsome 03/03/10 - 08:36 am
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It is obvious that cuts have

It is obvious that cuts have to be made, but it is disappointing the President Bloodworth didn't lead by example and announce the first pay cut was his own. Then cuts for other top administrators should have followed before programs are affected.

DowntownJaguar
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DowntownJaguar 03/03/10 - 08:37 am
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The state should cut the

The state should cut the "University College" program.

augsaltwater
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augsaltwater 03/03/10 - 09:01 am
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"GASP!!! (pulling hair,

"GASP!!! (pulling hair, tearing clothes, and knashing teeth) RAISE tuition!!!"..........was that really necessary?
1) Tuition has gone up basically every semester for a while now, so your dramatic over the top exposé is not necessary.

2) Summer jobs for teens went out the window when the economy tanked. I got served at chic fila by an obviously overworked mom in her mid 30's trying to pay the bills. Good luck to any 18 year olds competing against that. Aug Greenjackets are about to hire a few good men and women though, hint hint.

"The state should cut the "University College" program"
3) Yeah and then even less people would get an education, that seems like the obvious path to a better society.

proud2bamerican
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proud2bamerican 03/03/10 - 09:11 am
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If ASU raises tuition they

If ASU raises tuition they will lose students. I have already transferred due to lack of assistance and cooperation in the financial aid department as well as virtually no online classes for non-traditional students. I am now enrolled at a very reputable university which not only awarded me special consideration re financial aid, but offers all courses online for the most part with lots of accountability. ASU needs a thorough review of their administration as the first line of business or they will go under, and that would be a shame for Augusta.

proud2bamerican
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proud2bamerican 03/03/10 - 09:17 am
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In addition, I was shocked to

In addition, I was shocked to hear of the new bus program when it was announced. That was a HUGE mistake and a POOR decision to say the least. Whomever came up with that proposal and signed off on it should be demoted at best. Whatever is "cut" at ASU, the bus program should be at the top of the list, and the buses sold immediately. After having an independent firm assess the administration and heads of all admin departments, they might consider cutting back hours at the student center and close the pool if it is still open. Raising tuition is NOT the answer; the problems start at the top and trickle down.

devgru1
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devgru1 03/03/10 - 09:16 am
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Bloodworth said athletic

Bloodworth said athletic programs weren't suggested as potential cuts because they don't receive funding from the state, instead being paid for by student fees. Can't those fees be used in educational areas???

proud2bamerican
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proud2bamerican 03/03/10 - 09:20 am
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devgru - The student fees are

devgru - The student fees are another minor reason that ASU was a disappointment for me as a non-traditional student. The fees are HIGH, and now I understand why. Good suggestion on your part!

devgru1
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devgru1 03/03/10 - 09:24 am
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Proud2bamerican is absolutely

Proud2bamerican is absolutely correct. The Financial Aid and Admissions Depts. are filled with the most rude people. My wife had to educate one of their employees on the Pell Grant guidelines. Their work/study employee has no clue as to what customer service is. I know of others who have transferred because of things such as this.

proud2bamerican
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proud2bamerican 03/03/10 - 09:24 am
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augsaltwater - I agree; the

augsaltwater - I agree; the last place that should be cut is in any areas of educational support. If anyone took time to review each and every program being funded at ASU they would see MANY that could and should be cut from the list. Which is why I believe they need to bring in an independent team to quickly review the obviously out of control planning, budgeting, spending going on at ASU. The "bus program" is a huge red flag of the lack of good decision making going on there.

proud2bamerican
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proud2bamerican 03/03/10 - 09:26 am
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Hopefully someone who is

Hopefully someone who is somebody that can influence ASU will be directed to read these comments - they are all good, and worth considering and acting on. If anyone knows how to contact those who make a difference around here, please direct them here for some ideas!!

pointstoponder
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pointstoponder 03/03/10 - 09:31 am
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I believe these suggestions

I believe these suggestions are part serious and part smoke and mirrors. They know there is little chance of the Legislature accepting some of these recommendations. Cutting maintenance and worker bees is a poor long term strategy. Cut tenured faculty and upper administration salaries first, then see where you are. Most other states are in the same dire straits. It isn't like other universities will be raiding the staff anytime soon.

jlhs32
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jlhs32 03/03/10 - 09:33 am
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Does anyone know what happens

Does anyone know what happens to tenured faculty that are teaching in a program that is eliminated?

deekster
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deekster 03/03/10 - 10:11 am
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I think "points to ponder" is

I think "points to ponder" is "possessed" by the spirit of Deke's campaign manager. "Everything is beautiful, In its own way; Under God's heaven, We're going to have a fine day:........." LOL LOL

crackerjack
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crackerjack 03/03/10 - 10:50 am
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Let Administrators,

Let Administrators, Professors and Staff take a 10% pay cut. That should just about do it.

DowntownJaguar
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DowntownJaguar 03/03/10 - 10:51 am
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augsaltwater--"Well, the

augsaltwater--"Well, the world needs ditch diggers too."

crackerjack
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crackerjack 03/03/10 - 10:52 am
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WELLLLLLLL, Do you miss Bush

WELLLLLLLL, Do you miss Bush yet?

JackBootedThug
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JackBootedThug 03/03/10 - 10:57 am
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IF the nursing program is cut

IF the nursing program is cut out and students are left mid stream with credits that won't transfer, I hope the university system gets its pants sued off. If they want to cut programs, great, but they should be obligated to finish out the students that enrolled in good faith and deserve what they paid for. Making these students start from square one would be criminal!

Riverman1
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Riverman1 03/03/10 - 10:59 am
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Augsaltwater said it well.

Augsaltwater said it well. This is what I wrote on the subject of keeping kids in school when they are not passing.

This is an important subject and let’s work from the premise that we both want what’s best for the kids and society as a whole. Suppose we do what I said and it results in large numbers of underachievers leaving school.

Of course, it would be ideal if we had Tech schools prepared to take them or probably, even better, apprenticeship-on-the-job training, available that they could move into if they wanted. All that is great, but the fact is they have to leave to improve the schools.

You know how we all strive for better schools. Well imagine how great the improvement would be without disruptive, underperforming kids in the schools.

You hint that some students would drop out early and they wouldn’t be working. Right? Realize there is always going to be a percentage of the population that can’t do school work and, also, can’t learn a trade. The fact is there is a need for those people. There will always be those doing very menial tasks. Even more there will always be some who won’t work at all.

But it is illogical to believe we can school these people up, make their parents proud, give them a diploma and they will do better in life. Contemplate what happens with that process. We are fooling those kids as we compromise the integrity of the high school diploma is what’s occurring.

In reality, these lower performing, less capable folks are going to be happier and more self-sufficient at the menial jobs. They will settle down and behave better as their conflicts with those further up the food chain lessen.

But back to those who won’t do any kind of work. That’s because they CAN’T due to their limited mental capacity, emotional problems or flat-out aversion to work. There are always going to be people like that, but they are better off not in schools and the schools are better off, too. We cannot change thousands of years of human behavior by giving underachievers a worthless high school diploma.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 03/03/10 - 11:00 am
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JackBoot, I agree. They

JackBoot, I agree. They should have to finish out programs with current students. No reason to let them off the hook with that.

Brad Owens
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Brad Owens 03/03/10 - 11:01 am
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Well, corgimom, as a matter

Well, corgimom, as a matter of fact I did spend time in both a windowless office in Kuwait without AC and a lot of time in a tent.

As far as the people on here whining about tuition, the Army is ready when you are.

I spent a lot of years in the military and I have education bennies because of it. If you want to go to school on a freeride then I suggest you are part of the problem here. I EARNED my G.I. Bill, Army College Fund, and Student Loan Repayment by serving.

When we are on top of our economic situation again and we have surplus monies I will be the first to say invest in ed programs. But we are NOT in good economic times and this is a case of, if you want the ed PAY for it.

Why should I see all my tax monies invested in the new campus go to pot because they lay off maint folks first? That is stupid and will not even cover 20% of the cuts they must make. The fact is there is NO WAY to continue the current level of services without more tuition being paid. I mean since when is it my duty to support college students for FREE?

Looking at some of the posters on here I get the idea that someone thinks that higher education is now a 'right' and should be paid for by someone other than themselves. If what you are getting is not worth the price you must pay out of your pocket, don't attend school. Simple huh?

As Judge Smails says, 'The World needs ditch diggers too.'

Also, as far as senior folks taking pay cuts, I am with Barry Paschal, eliminate POSITIONS not just reduced costs. Reduce the SIZE of the government and it will reduce the cost.

Either way the fcat remains that there just isn't enough money to pay for this anymore.

Captain Awesome
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Captain Awesome 03/03/10 - 11:18 am
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The MBA program has been

The MBA program has been managed very very well recently. I hope they keep it, even if they have to raise tuition.

Also, I think we could save a lot of money if high schools were more rigorous instead of expecting colleges to bring up people's reading levels and teach them basic math. A college degree isn't the golden ticket it use to be. But that's something we have to address as a nation probably.

Brad Owens
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Brad Owens 03/03/10 - 11:22 am
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Downtownjag, sorry, posted

Downtownjag, sorry, posted before reading your comment. Good post and my thoughts EXACTLY

baronvonreich
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baronvonreich 03/03/10 - 11:46 am
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Well said Brad @ 10:01am.

Well said Brad @ 10:01am.

TheDeerhunter
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TheDeerhunter 03/03/10 - 12:14 pm
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Brad Owens-posted "but

Brad Owens-posted "but instaed they should take that time to go out and find a part time job to pay more tuition." Yea, cause u know there are plenty of jobs out there for young folks. Those ditch diggers ain't hiring.

crackerjack
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crackerjack 03/03/10 - 12:18 pm
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It was smart of the Augusta

It was smart of the Augusta State University Officials to cut out programs. The students marching in protest to the Capitol will carry more weight than they could.

crackerjack
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crackerjack 03/03/10 - 12:23 pm
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The Hope Scholarship is going

The Hope Scholarship is going broke because they need to set up a loan through Local Banks to pay the first year of college, to be paid at the completion of each Semester with a passing grade. If you fail, then you have that debt to pay back. Their are just too many people starting college on the Hope scholarship that aren't serious about their education.

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