March 29, 2010
Budget update: Follow-up
Note: Read President Greenwood’s testimony to the House Finance Committee
Dear university colleagues,
On Sunday evening, we wrote to you to let you know that SB2695, proposed HD1, included a $59 million cut to our special funds budget. We explained what such a cut could mean to the University of Hawaii’s future and asked for your assistance. We are deeply gratified by your strong and impressive show of support for the University of Hawaii in these crucial days at the state Legislature—and we are proud to say that your support has yielded positive results.
In response to our call for help in fending off this sudden move in the House Finance Committee that would have reduced the university’s budget by an additional $59 million, our students, faculty, staff, administrators and community supporters came through to help us avert virtually all of these additional cuts. Your support sent a clear message that higher education is crucial to Hawaii’s future.
In a matter of 48 hours, our university and community network urgently spread the word and managed to garner more than 70 pieces of written testimony opposing the cuts. More than 100 people showed up at the Monday evening hearing to lend their support, with dozens staying into the early morning hours with us to give personal testimony in support of the university.
Thanks to all of you, at 4 a.m. Tuesday morning, the House Finance Committee voted to eliminate all of the cuts targeting the university, except a $2 million reduction from the Housing Assistance Revolving Fund. Your support, passion and commitment to this university made it clear to legislators that UH is vital to Hawaii and its economy.
Because of your strong and impressive support, the university avoided cuts that would have included:
- $20 million from the Tuition and Fees Special Fund
- $15 million from the Cancer Research Special Fund
- $11 million from the Revenue-Undertakings Fund
- $10 million from the Research and Training Revolving Fund
- $750,000 from the Information Technology and Services Special Fund
While we are relieved to have this reprieve, we must remember that the legislative session is not over. Crucial decisions will be made during these remaining weeks of the legislative session, and we must remain vigilant, stay connected and continue to advocate strongly for the University of Hawaii and our future. We must continue to ensure legislators understand that we have a major role to play in securing a sound economic future for our state. The state of Hawaii needs to build intellectual capital as a resource for our future. In line with our strong strategic plan, we will continue to meet the growing demand for higher education as our residents turn to us to help them prepare to meet the challenges of an increasingly competitive workforce. We need to continue to share our success stories as a reservoir of talent and as a revenue generator for the state. With the faculty leading our efforts, 58,000 students are progressing toward their education goals and professionals are entering their fields. The university also took in more than $400 million in research and training revenue this year, generating jobs and fueling Hawaii’s economy.
Most of all, we encourage you to share your personal stories of what the University of Hawaii means to you. At the hearing last night, although many testimonies made a difference, it was the passion and clear impact of a UH education seen through the eyes of our students that truly resonated with our legislators. I thank our students on behalf of our institution for their perseverance and strength. The receptiveness of our legislators to take those comments to heart and support higher education in Hawaii should also be recognized.
Your efforts underscored the pride we have in our important work and the university’s vital role and responsibility as Hawaii’s sole public higher education institution. You illustrated in clear terms that, working collaboratively, we can accomplish even the most daunting tasks. We will continue to keep you posted on our legislative progress, and I encourage all of you to continue to be part of our efforts to ensure the University of Hawaii continues to be a vibrant part of Hawaii’s future. Together, we can get the job done.
M.R.C. Greenwood, president