EDITORIAL: President Ransdell to speak against higher education budget cuts

Herald Editorial Staff

The issue: This Thursday, Feb. 25, President Gary Ransdell will meet with the House Postsecondary Education Budget Subcommittee in Frankfort to speak out against the coming budget cuts proposed by Gov. Matt Bevin.

Our stance: As with other Kentucky university presidents that have met with the House subcommittee, President Ransdell is sure to make a compelling argument. Our only hope is that the subcommittee listens.

Last month, Gov. Bevin presented his state budget proposal, which included an immediate 4.5 percent cut in state funding for postsecondary education by executive order. A nine percent reduction from postsecondary allocations is still pending approval, which is why many presidents of universities around the state are traveling to Frankfort to speak out against the cuts.

University of Kentucky president Eli Capilouto and University of Louisville President James Ramsey have already spoken with the subcommittee in Frankfort in recent weeks.

Both Ramsey and Capilouto tried to explain to the subcommittee the danger that this decrease in funding could cause to the universities.

“We can’t easily absorb cuts of this magnitude,” the Lexington Herald-Leader reported Capilouto telling the House Postsecondary Education Budget Subcommittee. “We can’t protect any part of our campus in the face of these draconian cuts.”

Not many universities can handle a budget decrease this large, and how they would handle them is still up in the air.

“I will say that it is not my intention to have an across-the-board approach,” President Ransdell said of handling the budget cuts during a meeting held with the Herald’s editorial board on Feb. 2. “This approach is going to have to be a bit more surgical and a bit more precise.”

The Courier Journal reported last Thursday that Ramsey has the same intentions.

Not only is there a proposed budget cut of nine percent, but Bevin proposed that by 2020, 100 percent of postsecondary education funding will be performance based.

The entirety of the situation shows that Bevin puts very little stock in higher education, especially any area of study that is not STEM based.

When President Ransdell makes his way to Frankfort on Thursday to represent WKU and take a stand against these severe budget cuts, we must trust that he will do his best to fight on our side. Good luck, President Ransdell.