The University’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
community expressed anger last night at the recent non-renewal of
the contract of “one of the people who has been struggling to
keep us from slipping further into rampant homophobia,” Law
student and LGBT member Pierce Beckham said.

The LGBT office found out earlier this week that Holly Ferrise,
the Coordinator of Education and Training in the LGBT Affairs
office will not be rehired after June 30, when her year-long
contract expires.

“Holly has been an integral part of student experience at
the LGBT,” Breckham said.

Dean of Students Edward Willis said Ferrise has been with the
University as a temporary employee for several years. He declined
to comment further on “personnel decisions concerning the
employee,” but wanted to stress that “we are certainly
wanting to find ways of continuing that work.”

Willis stated that he does not have all of the details about the
decision to not rehire Ferrise, but noted how hard she worked in
the LGBT office.

“The work that Holly is doing in that office is critical
work for that division and that office, and we certainly want to
see that continue,” Willis said. “That would be the
goal and, we’re in the midst of looking at the budget at the
University.”

Also at the meeting, budget cuts to the LGBT office were
discussed. The University recently cut 80 percent of LGBT’s
programming budget from $10,000 to $2,000. This trickled down from
a 4 percent cut in the Division of Student Affairs due to cuts in
higher education funding. In December, due to miscalculations in
the 2004 budget, Gov. Jennifer Granholm cut an additional $16.4
million from the University budget, on top of an additional $36
million cut enacted last summer.

Willis added that budget cuts are being made in all areas of the
University and may only be notable in affecting student
services

“It probably feels different to students because the work
that we do is so public. It feels like Student Affairs is being
targeted differently. I thin that the budget cuts are across the
campus.”

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