In his annual mid-year address, University of Montana President Royce Engstrom traveled over painful, yet familiar ground as he addressed those gathered in the UC Theater on Wednesday afternoon.

Engstrom confirmed the numbers announced in December regarding layoffs and reductions in hours for staff and faculty.

"Going into FY 17, we have adjusted downward our employee base by 192 FTE's or full-time equivalents," Engstrom began. "That's a little lower than what I estimated before. Of those 192, 23 of them represent people who are actually being laid off. 14 are those who have had their percent time reduced by some significant amount. That decrease of 192 FTE positions us going into FY 17 for a student to faculty ratio of 18 to 1, which is what I set forward five years ago in my  strategic plan."

Engstrom took a few moments to touch on fiscal responsibility.

"This has been a difficult process adjusting our faculty downward to match our reduced enrollment, " he said. "This does not reflect anything other than the highest form of fiscal responsibility. Yesterday, I and several other administrators were in Helena attending a meeting of the legislative audit. We came through that audit perfectly clean without one single recommendation. Also in that meeting was a legislative audit of the entire Montana University System. That audit showed that in non-instructional expenditures, the University of Montana is lower than all of our peer set in the region, In fact, we are even more administratively lean than Montana State University. This is to assure you that we are being responsible as a university community."

In a comment that drew applause, President Engstrom told the crowd he was donating the amount of his controversial raise to student scholarships.


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