Peter R. Pepinsky
STATEMENT FROM INTERIM AU PRESIDENT WILLIAM WALKER
AUBURN -- The specter of a prorated state appropriation looms over all of Alabama's public education system, from kindergarten through graduate programs. Any proration would have a terribly harmful effect on Auburn, its academic quality, its accessibility through low tuition and its public service programs including the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
Auburn could survive the across-the-board cut of 6.2 percent ordered by the Governor, but the impact would be devastating. And greater cuts would jeopardize the very fabric of the only college or university ranked among the nation's top 50 public institutions.
Far more significant than even the damage such cuts would exact against Auburn is the threat to the economic development of our state. If Alabama students leave the state for higher education, scared away by budget cuts that whittle away at the quality instruction they seek, they will not return to Alabama to work. Alabamians cannot afford to sacrifice the state's future educated work force.