The University of Iowa announced plans Tuesday to close several centers on campus in response to legislative budget cuts. Interim Provost Sue Curry says school president Bruce Harreld made the decision based on input of vice presidents and deans.
“We’re doing this in response to back-to-back budget cuts by the legislature and we had to really look very seriously at making sure that we kept the resources that we need to fulfill our educational mission to our students who provide the vast majority of our general funds,” Curry says.
Some of the U-I facilities that will be shut down include a center on aging, a labor center, the U-I mobile museum, and the Iowa Center for Higher Education. The cuts impact 30 employees.
“Some staff have received furlough notices in accordance with our H-R policy. They will have assistance in finding other positions if they are available and assistance with looking for positions outside of the university,” according to Curry. She says some of the staff had other positions at the school and did not work fulltime in the centers that are being closed. The U-I will close the former A-I-B College of Business campus that’s now known as the Iowa Center for Higher Education.
Curry says the property will be closed and the social work program will be moved to the Pappjohn Center in downtown Des Moines. Students in the three other programs will be able to finish up online or through courses at the downtown location. A-I-B’s board of trustees donated the campus to the U-I in 2015 and Curry says it will be sold and the agreement requires the money to be used for scholarships for central Iowa students. Curry says students returning to campus in the fall should not notice anything different.
“We do not envision any major disruptions or problems that the students are going to encounter because of this. This is really about protecting and making sure that their educational experience remains as excellent as it always has been,” Curry says. In addition to the cuts, the university also will reduce funding for other centers that include:
The DeLTA Center; Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH); Iowa Supports Education and Resources for Veterans and Enlisted (I-SERVE).
The U-I’s statement says the Iowa Legislature has cut the school’s budget by 16 million dollars since fiscal year 2016. It says the midyear cut in April forced the university to adopt a five-month moratorium on construction projects. It also points out that since 1998, the state budget has grown by nearly three billion dollars and U-I enrollment has grown by more than five-thousand, but state funding for the U-I has decreased by nine million dollars.