More programs and employees eliminated


More programs and faculty positions are being eliminated as a result of SDSU’s $4.7 million budget cuts.

“Business as usual cannot be sustained,” President David Chicoine said in his Monday Morning Message email April 11. “These changes will have an impact on people, programs and operations.”

Some of these changes include shutting down the Olson Agricultural Analytical Service Laboratory, which is a research entity within the SDSU Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Department. With this, the 17 employees who work there will have their positions terminated.

“We’ve been kind of in a state of total shock,” said Nancy Thiex, a professor of veterinary and biomedical sciences and the OAASL laboratory manager.

College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences Dean Barry Dunn held a meeting April 11 with employees at the Shamrock in Brookings.

“It’s not a matter that any of these people didn’t work hard … . It’s not that at all,” Dunn said. “This is a really sad day. These are long-tenured, hard-working, great folks. … These are tough choices. There’s nothing fair about it.”

Mike Lockrem, University Relations director of marketing and communications, gave the official statement for the university this morning.

“The university officials are meeting individually with the people whose employment will be affected by decreased state funding,” Lockrem said. “A statement of actions regarding [budget-balancing decisions] will be made public later this week.”

Lawrence Novotny is a senior chemist who has been working at the OAASL since 1970. He and Thiex said the lab generates its own income, so shutting it down is “a mistake.”

“No one here is happy about it, as expected,” Novotny said. “… we view it as being a mistake, but of course the administration has to make the decision.”

The OAASL terminations will take effect Oct. 21.

“We have six months to do whatever [we] need to do,” Thiex said.

Thiex said the 17 people are still in “a state of shock and upset,” and is not sure what they will do now.

“It could mean a lot of people leaving the community, seeking employment elsewhere,” Thiex said. “Many will have to if we can’t find a way to relocate our lab within the city.”

Other areas of the university are seeing cuts as well. Lowell Haag, director and production manager for Ag-Bio Communications, confirmed that his unit and its nine employees have been eliminated. Thiex also said the soil testing lab and the physics department have been cut, but respective representatives would not comment on this.

University officials will discuss these matters publicly at the April 20 town hall budget meeting at 3 p.m. in Doner Auditorium.