The University of Minnesota Duluth is planning to cut $5.2 million from its budget starting in July, and most of those cuts will affect academic areas.

In an email sent Oct. 11, UMD Chancellor Lendley C. Black informed faculty and staff that administration hopes to provide a detailed plan for the budget cuts by mid-November.

"Although it is difficult and painful, we must make tough decisions now to resolve our budget deficits and move forward in ways that strengthen UMD’s excellence, as we build a stronger financial foundation for the future," Black wrote.

Lendley "Lynn" Black.
Lendley "Lynn" Black.

The need for cuts is due in part to a $4 million structural imbalance expected in the operations and maintenance budget at the end of the fiscal year. In addition, UMD is expected to reallocate $1.2 million in the following fiscal year, adding to the budget imbalance.

A budget allocation letter sent to UMD in September from University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel and senior vice president for finance and operations Brian Burnett shows UMD's budget deficit has decreased each year since 2014, when it was $9.4 million. The deficit is projected to increase for the first time since then at the end of the current fiscal year.

The letter stated that the lack of progress on the deficit is due to significant cost increases without appropriately increased tuition revenue and state appropriations.

UMD tuition has increased at an average of 0.6% in the last eight years. Though this year in-state tuition increased by 1.5%, while graduate tuition increased by 3%.

Laure Charleux, UMD professor and legislative liaison for the faculty union group University Education Association, wrote in an email to two of Gov. Tim Walz's staff members that the university is already operating on an "incredibly lean operation" and that the proposed cuts "will greatly hurt UMD."

"We have been put for years in an impossible situation by the UMN system, which directly controls the amount and share of the state allocation we receive, much of our administrative costs via a system cost pool, our tuition rate and compensation increases, and which indirectly controls the number of students we can enroll," Charleux wrote.

In the letter, Charleux writes the $5.2 million in cuts could terminate between 5% and 10% of faculty, or more than 50 lost jobs between faculty and staff. The letter also factored in an estimate for class section cuts between 7% and 13%.