In the latest news from the department of academic budget gimmicks, the Missoulian reports that:

The possibility of a four-day work week stirred commotion – and emotion – on the University of Montana campus Tuesday, one day after President George Dennison announced ways the university may respond to predicted shortfalls in state and federal revenue.

Under a four-day week, UM would be open Tuesdays through Fridays. Many theater and athletic events occur on Fridays, so the university would close on Mondays. Staff would work four 10-hour days.

The unusual move, which will reduce the university’s carbon footprint (slightly) and also allow some students to work more hours at part-time jobs, is more popular than Montana State University’s response to tough economic times. MSU plans to cut bus service and lay off staff. Montana’s board of regents is considering forcing a five percent budget cut across the state’s colleges and universities when it meets tomorrow.

UM predicts that its four-day week will save about $450,000 a year, mostly in utility bills.

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