Aloha, Recession

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While Indiana may have used higher education cuts to promote improvement—rewarding state colleges with higher performance by cutting their budgets less—this policy apparently isn’t all that popular across the country. The University of Hawaii has decided to simply cut the salaries of all faculty by 6.7 percent next year, according to an article in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin:

University of Hawaii Professional Assembly Executive Director J.N. Musto has said that under law, the faculty’s contract must remain in force until a new agreement is signed. The union has vowed to go to court to stop any move to cut faculty salaries.

At a news conference this afternoon, [University of Hawaii President M.R.C.] Greenwood Greenwood said layoffs are “potentially on the table” if the UH doesn’t get the salary cut from the union. The UH system has to cut $154 million over two years and the faculty salary cuts will save $12 million a year. “I think you can do the math,” she said.

The faculty and the administration have been negotiating for 15 months to try to save money. A decline in tourism and real estate prices led Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle to cut $154 million in state aid to the university system as part of a drastic state-wide budget cut.

According to the university, the average professor’s salary is $84,000 a year. The proposed cut would come to a $5,600 reduction per person.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer