Budget Cuts Force Journalism School Against Wall

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Click here to see the slide show presentation given at the meeting.

FIU President Modesto Maidique spoke about priorities. He placed the schools of education, and journalism below the, yet to be open, school of medicine and the school of hospitality management.

At the meeting yesterday, Maidique revealed that schools and centers within the university have been ranked, and that these ranks will determine how much each school will be expected to cut, priority one receiving the fewest cuts, and priority four receiving the most.

The journalism school is ranked priority three. It has trained eight Pulitzer-Prize winners and graduates more Hispanic journalists than any other such institution in the country each year. The school is slated to lose 12.4 percent of its budget, or around $455,422, over three years, according to Lillian Kopenhaver, its dean. The school may be dismantled if it can't absorb the cuts.

Maidique, as of March 13, made $476,486.65 a year.

In justifying the cuts, he notes that he took a $30,000 cut last year. “I challenge you to find any administrator who has taken a higher cut,” Maidique said. He forgot to note that no other administrator makes as much.

Of the school’s $677 million budget, $19 million goes to fund a variety of university sports -- much of it is spent on a football team that is 1-11.

The new school of medicine will not be receiving any budget cuts because it comes from a different source, a different “pocket,” according to the president. However, the school of medicine is ranked at priority one. And that’s medicine, not nursing which is ranked at priority two. Also, the Center for Health Research and Study will be closed if the recommendations made yesterday are approved.

When categorizing the journalism school, the president called it a “small, expensive niche program.”

“It’s easier to cut us if we’re a niche,” said Allan Richards, chair of the school of journalism.

The journalism school, which may be gutted, isn’t the only one affected. The School of Education will also lose about 12.4 percent of its budget. FIU graduates many of the new hires of the Miami-Dade Public School System. “[For] education to be at the bottom priority is outlandish,” said Ben F. Badger Jr., an education major and contributor to the student news paper at FIU.

The cuts may be even more extreme than the low-end figures given yesterday because the budget has yet to be finalized. -- Elvis Ramirez

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