Originally created 03/07/03

UGA not yet in crisis, leader says



ATHENS, Ga. - University of Georgia President Michael Adams said the state's flagship school is in a not-so-rosy budget situation.

Dr. Adams described the details of the economic crunch: With a budget that is $40.3 million less than two years ago, UGA has 425 vacant staff positions, 340 vacant faculty positions and 400 vacant graduate assistantships.

Although he told staffers this week that the situation is not a crisis, he reiterated his previous stance that layoffs could be in the future if the General Assembly approves a significantly reduced budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The state Senate approved a budget this week that would cut $9 million from the University System of Georgia, though it does include $15 million in bonds to complete work on UGA's long-delayed Animal Health Research Center. The Senate version now heads to a conference committee to reconcile differences with a House-approved budget.

Two meetings Wednesday afternoon at UGA, one with staffers and the other with faculty, gave employees an opportunity to question Dr. Adams on the budget - a good thing, according to staff member Jeanne Epstein, who said rumors about pending personnel cuts had been circulating.

"I was pleased to hear that they're leaving personnel cuts to the very last measure," she said after the session.