The University of Montana Faculty Senate met on Tuesday afternoon in the Urey Lecture Hall to discuss the recent announcement of budget and staff cuts due to reduced enrollment.

One faculty member who attended the meeting, UM history professor Mehrdad Kia provided KGVO News with his perception of the meeting. Kia said it became apparent that the staff cuts could be more extensive than were originally announced last week by President Royce Engstrom.

"201 FTE's (Full Time Equivalents) will definitely translate into more than 300 or more than 300 range, and some people suggested even suggested up to 400 head count in terms of cuts of individual working staff and the faculty," Kia said.

Kia said some faculty members were considering contacting state officials outside the realm of higher education to state their case of frustration with the administration's proposed cuts.

"There are some faculty members who, for the first time are speaking about the possibility of approaching Governor Bullock directly, because it doesn't seem that the Board of Regents and the Commissioner of Higher Education don't understand the crisis we are confronting today," he said.

Kia also addressed the issue of cutting costs in administration to help bring the budget into balance, but said the administration claims that cuts have already been made.

"Their position is that they have already cut a sufficient amount from the bureaucracy, and there is no other place to go to cut more bureaucratic positions," Kia said. "To some of us it sounds like a cruel joke, but there is a very stubborn resistance to the idea of cutting the bureaucracy and the administration."

KGVO News has reached out to the university administration for their view of Tuesday's meeting, and will provide their response as soon as it becomes available.