Top University administrators will uncharacteristically be spending much of this semester lobbying in Harrisburg to convince legislators to lessen the impact of Governor Robert Casey's proposed budget cuts. President Sheldon Hackney and Vice President Marna Whittington said yesterday they are optimistic that their trips to the state capital will capture at least a portion of the $18.3 million the governor has proposed to cut from the University's annual allottment. But they added they are unsure how significant legislators' modifications to the budget proposal will be. Both Hackney and Whittington said they plan to travel to Harrisburg "however much it takes" to convince legislators the University needs more state funds to maintain its quality of education. University lobbyist James Shada, the deans of the Veterinary School, the Medical School and the Dental School and Undergraduate Assembly representatives also plan to spend time in the state capital before the legislators vote on the proposed budget. The president said he plans to show individual politicians the economic and cultural contributions the University makes to the state, adding that he will solicit alumni help in persuading legislators. The administrators said they will have to rethink the University's budget for next year, adding they may have to allot money based on the expected figures received from the Casey administration at this time. Incoming Budget Director Stephen Golding said last night that, based on statements made by state legislators, he thinks University administrators may be able to modify Casey's budget proposal. He said Hackney and other officials must "demonstrate that the University provides a valuable need to the Commonwealth and to Philadelphia." University Trustee Myles Tannenbaum said it is "unthinkable" that legislators will pass Casey's budget, adding that lobbying efforts should convince the politicians that the University is a valuable asset to the state. "There will be some signs of non-gutless leadership that will say, 'We're not willing to let this happen,' " Tannenbaum said. "I really believe that it won't be easy, but I believe that we'll come out a lot better than it looks right now."Comments powered by Disqus
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