Departments should plan for future cuts

It’s cramming time for programs at Western. While students take exams, the programs will be taking an exam of their own.

But if they fail this test, it could mean extinction.

In the next few weeks, Western administrators will decide which programs to eliminate to cover a state budget cut for this fiscal year. The cut is projected to be $3 million and could be as much as $6 million.

The reality is that some departments will have to go. There just aren’t other ways to raise $6 million by next month. Reserve funds have been tapped out, corners have been cut. It’s unfortunate that those departments (and jobs) will have to pay for the state’s budget woes. But the budget cut isn’t going away, so these programs will have to.

In the end, however, there will be departments that will be left unscathed or only slightly affected, like the students who still get an A or B on a test even though they crammed the night before.

Professors make it clear to students not to wait until the last minute, but study a little over time. Career counselors and advisers encourage students to plan for their future careers. The university recommends that students decide on a major as early as possible.

Likewise, it’s time for those surviving departments to plan for the future. They need to prepare for the possibility of good times, bad times and everything in between. Next year, higher education will likely face another cut. Western administrators might again have to face a decision like this next year.

This gives each department on campus one year to plan. To decide how to make your program one that is not indispensable.

Let the way you run your program be your selling point to administrators that your program can’t be cut.

Show that the money you’re given is being spent in the best way possible. For example, don’t blow a surplus (or any funds for that matter) to pay for new wooden file cabinets, when faculty members need research funds.

When unexpected circumstances arise, show administrators that your department can not only handle it, but thrive despite it. Some departments have already had several budget cuts. Show administrators that you’re being smart with your money, even if there is a lack of it. Think creatively of how your department can offer quality programming despite a lack of funds. Don’t give up thinking of new ideas, even if there’s no money to implement it. President Gary Ransdell said he wants to continue to create new initiatives that will help improve the quality of a Western education even with a budget cut.

If a program is thriving, Western administrators are probably not going to cut it, regardless of the number and amount of future budget cuts.

Western can’t control what state officials will do with the budget, but every department can control how they react to it. The next time a budget cut occurs, make cutting programs a more difficult task for administrators.

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s 9-member board of student editors.