The UNM Recreational Services Department, which oversees Johnson Center, will maintain regular business hours after it began a move to reduce hours to make up for a budget shortfall spurred by the recent minimum wage increase.
When the department created its budget last year, it had not anticipated the pay hike, which was added to the ballot and approved by voters in the city of Albuquerque in the November 2012 election. Of the 150 student employees at Johnson Center, 75 percent are receiving a pay increase under the new minimum wage. That change resulted in a projected budget shortfall of $30,000 for the remainder of this fiscal year, which ends June 30.
Recreational Services decided to reduce the hours of operation at Johnson Center to avoid a budget deficit. However, when UNM administration became aware of it late Thursday night, the president and provost reversed the decision to avoid cutting services that are important to student life on campus.
“We realize that students have a lot of demands on their time,” UNM President Robert G. Frank said. “Many are juggling rigorous class schedules with jobs and other responsibilities. We believe that recreation and exercise are key components of student life and we want those services to be as available and convenient as possible for our students.”
The UNM Administration will work with Recreational Services to help find a source of additional funding to keep Johnson Center operating at full capacity.
Recreational Services has already asked for more funding from the Student Fee Review Board, which is now considering revenue requests for the upcoming fiscal year.