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UT President Talks Budget Cuts, Research

UT_Tower_Main_Building_Entrance_0.JPG
Photo by KUT News.
UT Austin President William Powers gave the university community an update on the budget and his vision for the future during a speech Monday morning.

University of Texas President William Powers addressed the UT community this morning, touching on everything from state budget cuts, to his vision for the future and the importance he sees in having a leading research university. 

President Powers said, as the semester ends, the university still doesn’t know exactly how state budget cuts will affect UT.  But he gave an update on where things stand for the moment.“Under the House version, state general revenue for UT Austin will decrease by 20 1/2% or by $57 million a year. The Senate version would reduce our general revenue by about 16%, or about $50 million a year,” Powers said. 

Powers said UT has planned for cuts at the Senate level. But if the leaner House version passes, the university will have to make deeper cuts.

“We’ll have to make up the differences with some reserve balances, additional budget cuts and, yes, layoffs,” he said. 

There are 21 more days until the end of the Texas Legislative session.  The state has been cutting higher education spending over the past few decades.  Powers said UT is going to have to continue to change how it does business to be sustainable in the long run.  He also spoke about what he views as the importance of university research to help solve global issues.

“Our faculty are working on energy sustainability through research initiatives in carbon capture, large scale alternative energy storage and solar energy. Our advanced computing capability, which includes one of the world’s most powerful super computers, is being applied to the study of hurricanes, oil spills and earthquakes,” Powers said. 

The president’s remarks on research come after a special advisor to UT was removed from his position after questioning the value of research- and money spent on it- in higher education.  You can read more about that story online at KUT's political reporting partner, the Texas Tribune.