UF to track budget cut with web site

Published: Wednesday, January 21, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 21, 2009 at 2:02 a.m.

If they can bear to look, University of Florida faculty, staff and students will be able to follow budget cuts on a new Web site.

The site, launched Tuesday, includes announcements from UF President Bernie Machen and a question-and-answer section. Machen said last week that he's expecting cuts between $72 million and $75 million in the next academic year.

"People have some anxiety about the upcoming budget," said UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes. "We're trying to put the information that we have at this point out there."

Machen has asked deans to prepare plans to cut next year's budgets by 10 percent. The proposals are expected to be posted on the site in mid-March. Final decisions will be announced in mid-May.

At this point, the information on the site is rather thin. One posted question asks whether layoffs will be part of cuts.

"Unknown. However, layoffs may be unavoidable if departments or units are eliminated," according to the response.

The site can be found at budget.president.ufl.edu. Questions can be sent to president@ufl.edu.

Halting hazing: A former president of a UF fraternity suspended for hazing is trying to prevent others from making the same mistake.

UF senior Lyle Long was president of Pi Kappa Phi at the time it was charged with forcing members to drink large amounts of alcohol and perform physical challenges. In July, the fraternity was suspended for four years.

Long and other former members held a presentation on campus Tuesday night about stopping hazing. The effort aims to address a series of hazing incidents over the past five semesters, he said.

"It really makes the community look bad when every semester you hear about these allegations," Long said.

Long said his goal is avoiding any fraternity suspensions this semester. The effort will promote alternatives to hazing, he said, such as flag football and group projects.

Providing alternatives "is not an easy thing to do when you have a history of hazing," Long said.

Carbon neutral gators: The Gators' national championship isn't the only reason to celebrate the football season.

UF's home slate of games was carbon neutral, a first for such a distinction. The Neutral Gators initiative distributed about 30,000 energy-efficient light bulbs in Gainesville and planted 200 trees in the Everglades to offset emissions.

The initiative estimated UF's seven home games resulted in emissions of 14,000 tons of carbon dioxide, contributing to climate change. Emissions came from transportation to games, hotel stays and stadium electric use.

The light-bulb exchange alone offset 14,000 tons and the tree-planting another 20 tons, according to the initiative. Jacob Cravey, co-founder of a group behind the effort, said the next goal is offsetting emissions for home games of all UF teams.

"It should be easier from here," he said.

For more UF news, visit chalkboard.gainesville.com. Tips can be sent to nathan.crabbe@gvillesun.com.

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