Gov. Matthew G. Bevin of Kentucky on Thursday ordered state officials to cut the quarterly funding allotment that the state is scheduled to send out to universities and colleges on Friday by 4.5 percent, The Courier-Journal reports.
Governor Bevin, a Republican who has been in office only since December, has already made plain that he wants major changes in how the state supports higher education. In a budget address in January, he called for basing increasing shares of the institutions’ appropriations on outcomes, “to ensure that we are actually graduating people who can go into the workforce and get out of their parents’ basement, among other things.” In remarks to reporters, he also took a widely quoted jab at the liberal arts: “All the people in the world that want to study French literature can do so,” he said. “They are just not going to be subsidized by the taxpayer like engineers.”
The cuts he ordered on Thursday were also first suggested in January, as a first step toward even steeper cuts the governor wants in the budget for the 2016-18 biennium. The Democratic speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives, however, has questioned whether the governor has the authority to cut funds for universities in the budget for the current biennium, which was passed by lawmakers in 2014. The speaker, State Rep. Gregory D. Stumbo, had no comment on Thursday, but a spokesman for his office said a legal team was reviewing the governor’s directive.
University leaders, including President Raymond M. Burse of the historically black Kentucky State University, have said their institutions would be badly damaged by Mr. Bevin’s proposals.