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Montana Tech faculty react to proposed cuts

Posted at 8:52 PM, Dec 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-04 11:43:27-05

BUTTE – A proposal released Friday to help Montana Tech cut its budget by eliminating about 13 faculty positions and 10 staff members has educators at the Butte university concerned.

“I’m confused and I’m sad about what are the odds that we will continue to make intelligent decisions together if we’re not educating students in these fields,” said Chad Okrusch, the head of Montana Tech’s Professional and Technical Communication Department.

The report aims to reduce between $500,000 to $1 million from the university budget after Montana Tech saw a drop in enrollment by about 100 students this fall.

Among the many recommendations in Friday’s report is to eliminate some non-engineering related departments at the university.

“Presently have some concerns about some of the cut I think being too deep, particularly impacting the non-engineering departments,” said history professor and President of the Faculty Association Chris Danielson.

Okrusch added, “It seems to me to be short-sighted, I would say ill-conceived, permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

Some staff members believe the cuts are too drastic and the school should focus on better recruitment.

“The concern there is that these cuts could actually hurt longer-term recruitment efforts at Tech,” said Danielson.

Faculty and staff have been aware these cuts were coming from some time and it certainly made it a difficult and uncertain time on the campus.

“Created a climate of fear and anxiety amongst our students and our faculty members,” said Okrusch.

Tech officials will be taking feedback from the campus and will issue a revised version of the report this Friday.

There will be a public hearing on this proposal for any questions or concerns Tuesday at noon in the Copper Lounge in the Student Union.

There will be another public hear at the same time and place Monday, December. 10.

-John Emeigh reporting for MTN News