Jul 012003
Authors: Shandra Jordan

Two research centers that help CSU fulfill its mission as a land grant institution will each lose $1.6 million dollars in the new fiscal year.

Cooperative Extension, which helps carry campus resources around the state, and the Agricultural Experiment Station, which supports research in five colleges on campus and in nine sites around the state, will both be reducing staff through layoffs and elimination of vacant positions for a total of 45 positions between the two. Both centers are also consolidating at least one of their off-campus locations.

The cuts are part of more than $34 million in state funding for CSU, according to a press release.

“As with anything, the more you get cut it just puts more and more of a burden on the people who are left and you just get spread thin and then it makes it harder to serve the agricultural clientele of Colorado,” said Joe Brummer, a research scientist with the Ag Experiment Station and former superintendent of the Mountain Meadow Research Center in Gunnison, which officially closed its doors Monday.

Brummer will be moving to the Western Colorado Research Center at Rogers Mesa. The Mountain Meadow center focused primarily on hay production at high elevations, Brummer said.

Brummer will continue his research in the new location while maintaining an office in Gunnison for a while.

“I’ve always kind of covered everything, so really all they’re doing is moving me to a different location,” Brummer said. “The program will change somewhat over time because the environment is different.”

The only other staff at the center were an administrative assistant, who’s position has been eliminated, and hourly staff.

In addition to the closure of Mountain Meadow, another nearly $900,000 will be cut from Agricultural Experiment Station’s budget for support to engineering, veterinary medicine, applied human sciences, natural resources and agricultural sciences, said Lee Sommers, the director of the Agricultural Experiment Station.

One group that will be greatly reduced is the graduate assistant program, though deans and heads of colleges are still working on how to implement all the cuts in the colleges, Sommers said.

Five currently-empty positions in the Colleges of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources are being eliminated and support staff is being laid off.

“By losing faculty positions the research program they developed will not be part of the program at CSU,” Sommers said.

Each of the nine centers around Colorado is also seeing cuts in administrative and staff support, Sommers said.

“We will try and provide as many programs as possible but because of the reduced funding we won’t be able to provide as many services as we have in the past,” Sommers said.

The Agricultural Experiment Station receives 75 percent of its budget from state funding. The other 25 percent comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and some cash income from the sale of products.

Cooperative Extension will be eliminating its regional director from the Eastern Region as well as eliminating the Center for Rural Assistance, and other staff positions around Colorado including support positions and graduate assistants.

“The Eastern Region is a huge geographic region and it’s going to have to be picked up by the other regions, said Mary Gray, associate director of Cooperative Extension. “We have to figure out how three regular directors can cover what four used to.”

Some staffing reductions were effective Monday or earlier, other’s will wait until early fall, Gray said.

“When you have faculty who can be effective because they have strong support and graduate assistance and you take that away that’s a pretty tough change,” Gray said.

Gray said Cooperative Extension tried hard to analyze the values that are important to the institution and maintain a balanced portfolio of services when choosing where reductions were going to be made.

“We really tried to think about the whole system,” Gray said. “We had to evaluate what our mission is, where we’re actually having an impact. It’s been a tough round of decisions.”

Both Cooperative Extension and the Agricultural Experiment Station help CSU fulfill its role as a land grant university by making university services and knowledge more accessible to everybody, Gray said.

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