UI closing several centers, putting multiple employees on furlough due to budget cuts

UI closing several centers, putting multiple employees on furlough due to budget cuts
KCJJ Staff

The University of Iowa is shuttering seven centers, reducing funding to three others and putting several employees on furlough.

President Bruce Harreld on Tuesday announced the closure of the UI’s Center on Aging, Confucius Institute, Iowa Center for Assistive Technology Education and Research, Iowa Center for Higher Education, the Labor Center, the Office of Iowa Practice Opportunities, and the UI’s Mobile Museum.

Spokeswoman Jeneane Beck says administrators went through the budget “line by line” to determine which areas the university could cut without “significantly harming” the academic mission of the university or student success.

In addition to the centers which are closing, the DeLTA Center, Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health, and Iowa Supports Education and Resources for Veterans and Enlisted are having their budgets reduced. That’s after the UI Research Foundation and the State Hygienic Laboratory, based at the UI, underwent a reorganization to reduce their budgets. The Institute for Public Affairs closed in May.

Harreld says a total of 31 full-time employees and two merit employees have been placed on permanent furlough due to the closures, though some may be reassigned within the university.

The university also plans to sell the Center for Higher Education located at the former AIB College of Business campus in Des Moines, bought in 2015 and opened for remote classes in 2016.

The moves continue belt-tightening and budgetary reductions at the UI due to reductions in state appropriations for higher education. The state Board of Regents instituted a budget efficiency program – labeled TIER – in 2014.

And the UI had its budget reduced by roughly $5.5 million in a mid-year budget cut earlier this year, the second straight year the legislature has enacted a mid-year budget cut. The state raised the Board of Regents budget for fiscal 2019, with the UI receiving a $3.15 million bump.

Still, the UI is raising tuition by 3.8 percent for the upcoming school year, and instituted a construction freeze and pay freeze on campus.