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Cuts to UNLV
Cuts to UNLV

AIR DATE: March 14, 2011

UNLV will have to cut more than $32 million from its budget if Gov. Brian Sandoval's budget is adopted by the State Legislature. This round will see departments cut or merged and tenure-track faculty will be let go. We talk to some of the faculty that will be terminated about what impact this will have on UNLV.

Prof. Bill Ramsey, Philosophy Dept, UNLV
Prof. Lynn Comella, Women's Studies Dept, UNLV
James Dean Leavitt, Chair, Nevada Board of Regents
Dean Paul Jarley, College of Business, UNLV

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As a freshman at Notre Dame in 2006, I had Professor Ramsey for Philosophy 101. It was his last class at ND before moving to UNLV. On one hand, I felt profoundly lucky to have caught him on his way out, yet keenly felt for all the freshman after me who would never experience his class. It is unconscionable that he's being cut from UNLV. Of all my classes at Notre Dame, his was one of maybe three that was truly instrumental not only in my education but in helping mold my world view and perspective. To say his class shaped me would be an understatement. This is such a shame.
LindseyMay 7, 2011 15:27:14 PM
The irony should not be lost that our economic and budget woes in every state (and nationally) are in large measure a direct result of the Gresham's Law scam mentality that so pervades our business, political, and legal cultures. Solution? Eliminate the teaching of ethics and critical thinking. Priceless. Literally. Bobby Gladd M.A., UNLV Ethics & Policy Studies 1998
Bobby GladdMar 31, 2011 13:34:06 PM
I listened to the KNPR discussion and could not fathom that I was listening to a discussion about the value of philosophy, women's studies and critical thinking. I trembled that there is a darkness that is enveloping this country and that Nevada has become its center of gravity. It reminds me of 1954 with Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy who treed Washington DC who saw communists under everybody's bed and when outed, wound up becoming a screaming mee-mee. But today, it's a slicker, more sinister motif we're facing. In no small way, college has been financially so out of reach for so many families for so many years it's come back to pummel us. It's like trying to explain wisdom to four year olds.
Dave MorganMar 30, 2011 19:21:52 PM
Before "Women's Studies" there were also great universities. But why aren't there "Men's Studies," "Transgender Studies," etc.? Such politically correct politicizing of education helps put state universities in trouble. Let's go for education - not brain washing ideology. Science is now politicized with the government wasting money about global warming when it is actually cooling. Eliminating carbon dioxide is the opposite of what the planet needs: it is required for photo-synthesis at the basis of the food chain. With more of it, vegetation grows faster with less water and so could help eliminate global hunger. See "Climate Change and the Emergence of Civilization" at for a fascinating journey. Universities exist to educate people, not to waste money on empire building. Funded research is usually inferior and faulty compared to that done with curiosity and interest in search of truth rather than money.
Carl LooneyMar 11, 2011 10:40:49 AM
Carl Looney is a perfect example of why Nevada needs increases for education, not cuts.
J.A. HuddlestonMar 19, 2011 16:05:04 PM
For those interested, contact info -- that is, email addresses -- for the Regents can be found here. Whatever your views in light of what has been said by the guests on today's program, you can write the Regents and urge them to make the right choice:
S.R. HaddenMar 11, 2011 00:35:54 AM
Both Prof. Ramsey and Prof. Comella made compelling arguments for why vertical cuts at the College level are not necessarily the best solution to the budget crisis. If implemented, the plan to disband Womens Studies and Philosophy will have a devastating effect not just on the College of Liberal Arts but throughout UNLV and will do irreparable damage to UNLV s national reputation. Surely Nevada can do better than this.
Elspeth WhitneyMar 10, 2011 17:32:37 PM
And to the larger picture of why these particular cuts are being made, which will hardly "save" any money (remember the impending $75,000 raise for a sports coach, and as Lynn pointed out, the 5 new incoming faculty), I also agree that the implications for women is grim. Our leaders certainly have some 'splainin' to do! As the president of both Nevada NOW and Southern Nevada NOW, frankly, I am horrified.
Susan LopezMar 10, 2011 13:26:32 PM
I meant "the implications for women are grim".
Susan LopezMar 10, 2011 13:29:32 PM
So sad that Nevada's leaders see cannibalizing it's education system as more viable than taxing mining companies who take resources from our ground, leaving nothing for the state behind except awful pollution. Sandoval and must be privately profiting off these corporations in some way. I agree with Lynn Comella. Morally bankrupt indeed!!
Susan LopezMar 10, 2011 13:24:48 PM
I have been following the subject on cuts to education with great interest. It would appear that the streamlining of universities and their internal operations follow a corporate business model and politically conservative agenda. I would like your guests to comment on this possibility. Does the bottom line criteria not squash programs (Liberal arts and Humanities primarily)perceived as superfluous because they do not generate revenue and which attract minorities? Is the board of regents made up of a cross-section of society,or are they solely business people who demand that university programs justify their existence by producing only monetary outcomes, thus replicating their world view? The social position gains of minorities, including women, in the last decades would be severely compromised and even reversed with this cost-cutting agenda. What criteria lie at the heart of the proposed elimination of programs in Nevada higher education? Certain social disciplines attract more Democrats than Republicans. Why don't you investigate if this might be the case? Thanks, Carlos
Carlos RinconMar 10, 2011 10:10:54 AM
What is happening in this country was always contemplated, but only in a kind of "out there" construct. But since Nevada is the working man's center of gravity for raw libertarianism, it should not be surprising that Governor-in-name-only Sandoval would act as outrageously as his political evil twin Scott Walker in Wisconsin. We have watched the unleashing of thousands of DADDY KNOWS BEST types who think with their pe*is and proclaim their devotion to the mind-set of Charles Darwin, all the while professing to be a disciple of creationism. In short, they really are C-R-A-Z-Y. Again, C-R-A-Z-Y.
Dave MorganMar 30, 2011 18:34:11 PM
Ethics for your info is taught at the War College, Command & Staff College and military leadership schools. I worked in clandestine ops and was assigned to the CIA on two tours. Using moral reasoning was a very real part of our job in making tough decisions that affected life and death. In civilian life, I worked for a municipality. I earned a MPA at Texas A&M. We also had to take courses on ethics. Again, I had to use my education in my civilian job. I also studied Logic. I still recall learning the techniques of winning arguements while being 100% wrong, techniques I find well in use by cable media such as Fox.
Colonel William R. Morales, USAF (ret)Mar 10, 2011 09:54:23 AM
Let's focus on why these cuts are proposed. As has been eloquently stated by today's speakers, the proposed cuts to UNLV cannot help prepare students to take charge of their lives or of their futures. These cuts -- and the people they represent -- will only increase the brain-drain from Las Vegas and the region. From Women's Studies, to Philosophy, Social Studies, but also programs like Education Leadership and Sports Education Leadership -- all of these faculty and program eliminations will without a doubt change a growing institution into a second-rate school. This is tragic. Is that what the state's leadership wants? Who does that serve?
Marcia GalloMar 10, 2011 09:43:27 AM
I thank Dr. Gallo for her comments above. As a Women's Studies major, I found here the academic rigor and the opportunity to think critically about issues faced in contemporary society I was yearning for after returning home from three semesters completed at Georgetown University. I began as a Secondary Education major, yet I constantly found myself taking electives within the department because the WMST coursework better prepared me for the urban education system found here in Clark County. I made the decision to pursue a Women's Studies degree because I felt more like a student than a number being pushed through the academic pipeline. Here, the professors show deep concern for the professional and personal development of each student who sits in a class, whether they are a listed major/minor or not. As others have mentioned, hundreds of students have the opportunity to experience a WMST class while pursuing another academic path at UNLV. This department offers classes related to social constructions that are not found anywhere else, and the experience had in an elective class has a profound impact on all those enrolled.
Mallory CyrMar 10, 2011 10:50:54 AM
In closing, I find it shameful that an institution 'diverse' in its student population does not value the same communities academically. Afro-American Studies and Asian Studies are housed in the Interdisciplinary Studies degree program (both with a chair and no full-time program faculty), Chican@ Studies sits only as a minor, and now Women's Studies is up AGAIN for elimination. This tells me that our university is not concerned with valuing the stories and the rich research and learning opportunities provided within these programs. It is a shame that a school with 26,000 students and a near 40% non-white community and a majority women community has chosen to give these communities limited or no space in the ivory tower. This university needs to become more concerned with progress than politics.
Mallory CyrMar 10, 2011 10:59:22 AM
How do these cuts affect UNLV's accreditation? Thanks, David Aris
David ArisMar 10, 2011 09:37:57 AM
The discussion needs to be about the ways to seek revenue generation in this state or these cuts will just keep on coming. The Governor clearly does not value education or educators. I don't see why anyone would want to re-elect legislators that are leading the state to be the very worst in the nation with regard to all levels of education. As for me personally, my Dept. was eliminated last year, so once my PhD students have completed their degress, I will leave UNLV and Nevada and never look back.
NancyMar 10, 2011 09:32:49 AM
I am an assistant professor of political science at UNLV, and I'm also the University's only prelaw advisor. The one course I recommend to my prelaw students comes from the philosophy department. I am currently teaching a course that is cross-listed with women's studies. The point here shouldn't be the number of majors, but instead the contribution of these departments to the education of students of all majors. Most of the students in my cross-listed class are not women's studies majors, and most of the prelaw students I send to the philosophy department aren't philosophy majors. Still, these departments impart critical skills and substantive learning to my students, and cutting them, in my opinion, is a mistake.
Rebecca GillMar 10, 2011 09:30:02 AM
My interpretation of the reasoning being used with department cuts related to the budget cuts is as follows. For the most part, the departments with the fewest number of majors are getting cut. Would you think it prudent to jettison the English department because it has fewer majors in comparison to the Hospitality department? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Dalton GriffithMar 10, 2011 09:19:50 AM
Is it likely that UNLV will suffer from the same problem experienced at CSN, i.e. reduced number of classes = students unable to complete their course of study in a timely way? Will a traditionally 4 year degree take 6 years to attain? When I recently completed a FAFSA for my college-bound son, the report on UNLV I received indicated a graduation rate of around 40%. May we expect an even lower rate as a result of the budget/program cuts?
Sonja BrouwersMar 10, 2011 09:13:05 AM
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