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Cameron University prepares for budget cuts

Cameron University met with students and staff to get their ideas on ways to increase funding and reduce expenditures. (Source KSWO) Cameron University met with students and staff to get their ideas on ways to increase funding and reduce expenditures. (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -Cameron University officials are looking for ways to reduce spending and increase revenue in light of state budget cuts.

The university will have between $2 and $4 million cut from their $50 million budget for Fiscal Year 2017, which starts July 1. Last fall, the university solicited ideas from students, staff and faculty about ways to increase revenue and what reductions could be made. More than 100 ideas where compiled and the lists were given to faculty and staff earlier this month.

Monday night, Cameron University president Dr. John McArthur met with the student government to get their opinions on the list. Some of the ideas, which included reduction in faculty and reductions in class offerings, have some of the students upset.

Student government representative Patrick Perez says Monday night's meeting was emotional for him because he cares a lot about his education.

"Shock, outrage, a little bit of anger and concern about the future of the school," Perez said.

Perez says listening to the possibility of losing some of the important curriculum made him worry.

"They want to cut important programs like math, like history and it reduces the amount of options that are available for students," Perez said.

McArthur says officials would like to make changes that can be reversed when funding from the state is restored.

"We are going to concentrate on reductions and shrinking more than eliminating. We are trying to build our budget so that we can undo anything that we change. So right now, I think those are my priorities," McArthur said.

However, he does have other options.

"I think we will see some revenue increases. We will look at tuition the very last, but I think looking at our rent structure for outside agencies on our campus and looking at some of the service fees," McArthur said.

McArthur says regardless of the decision, the university must continue to look to the future.

"Our best response for Cameron University is to help students continue to get a great education so that more students want to come here and that's how we are going to get through this," McArthur said.

The decision will be made in two phases. Some will be made by March 1, which is the deadline for faculty employment contracts, and the others will be made by the end of May when the official state budget is expected to be released.

McArthur and the university's four vice presidents are hosting weekly listening sessions through the end of February for faculty and staff.

The university already implemented budget reductions for the current spring semester, because of mid-year budget cuts ordered by the governor. Those included dramatically reducing out of state travel for faculty, holding positions vacant following retirements and resignations and a 10 percent reduction in supplies and materials.

McArthur also said in the event that a degree program is cut, students already enrolled in the program will be grandfathered in and will be able to graduate with their degree.

Copyright 2016 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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