Higher Education

Legislative hearing over Higher Education

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State lawmakers Friday insisted on a list of specific cuts which could be made to the state's higher education system. But Chancellor Jim Rogers says providing such a list publicly could have a devastating impact on colleges and universities throughout the state. Higher education leaders presented this 60 page document to state lawmakers. It details, in varying degrees of specifics, the impact on each individual campus of rolling back education spending to 2006 levels. But state lawmakers say they need more specifics on what departments or programs would be cut. The computer lab at the College of Southern Nevada is open seven days a week to accommodate students who may have children or jobs and attend class outside of regular hours. If funding was cut to 2006 levels, about a 19% cut, the days and hours of operation will certainly be cut.

'These students really have to have these services available at all kinds of different hours. We would not have the resources to keep them open all the time as we have, so we would be facing reductions there,' said K.C. Brekken with CSN. The college has already frozen 154 positions and it will close four regional learning centers including those in Boulder City, Lincoln County and in Downtown Las Vegas. At UNLV, the cuts could result in the loss of 210 faculty positions. Chancellor Rogers told lawmakers he is concerned about laying out specific department-by-department cuts, 'We will work with you in every way that we can. We are not trying to hide information from you and you know that. But we are very sensitive to having a run on the house in effect, because if you start talking about a department, then you start talking about the students and pretty soon the whole damn thing just falls apart.' In the hearing Friday, Rogers used a history department as an example. Rogers argued you can't just cut an entire department without impacting other departments. Lawmakers, though, says those are exactly the kind of specifics they need. Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley told Chancellor Rogers all other state departments are presenting unpleasant and unpopular lists of cuts, and that is what lawmakers need to make their decisions. Rogers agreed to work with legislative staff, but he says he will not present the list of cuts in writing.

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