Deans announce department cuts

Budget CutsSince university President Rodney Bennett’s announcement over the USM Mailout Nov. 21, details of these cuts began to come to light as well as the cuts’ potential effects on students.

With the announcement of the end of USM’s yearbook, The Southerner, many students are nervous about the effect these cuts may have on their future experience at Southern Miss.

Katie Quinelly, a junior English major, said that while she trusted the administration, she was nervous about her remaining years.

“If they keep not replacing teachers, these class sizes are only going to get larger and it (will be much) harder to get into the classes I need to graduate,” she said.

A few deans have come forward about the details of their cuts. Dean Michael Forster of the College of Health stated in a recent interview that he worries about the future of his college, which had already suffered budget shortages.

“Departmental budgets are strained across the board, and still suffering the cumulative effects of previous rounds of cuts,” he said. “For several years, the College (of Health) has covered funding shortfalls through reserves, but these are now nearly exhausted.”

Dean Ann Blackwell of the College of Education and Psychology expressed the lengths that her college went through to remain effective for their students.

“Because priority within the College is to maintain a positive academic experience for our students, proposed budget adjustments were limited to items with the least potential for any negative impact on students,” she said.

Jeffrey George, president of the Student Government Association, said that SGA would continue to plan and host all the events Southern Miss counts as traditions, such as Lighting the Way and Eaglepalooza.

“The budget has been cut by $5,000 this year and $10,000 the next,“ he said. “We’ll have to be tight, but it will happen.”

In the Department of Theatre, these cuts were hard to decide for department chair John Warrick. This difficulty resulted in the elimination of Southern Miss’ summer stock company, Southern Arena Theatre. SAT previously produced two shows in repertory during the summer break and provided USM students with the opportunity to work in a traditional, professional setting.

“We couldn’t cut anything (from the year) without affecting the overall quality of the six productions we produce,” he said.

Details are continuing to emerge; however, the full extent of the brunt of the cuts is still currently unavailable. For future information on the budget cuts, keep an eye on the USM Mailout as well as future editions of The Student Printz.