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UI Meeting Launches Major Review

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- State education leaders met with the public today at the University of Iowa Friday morning.

The topic of discussion was efficiency and how to improve it.

The effort to save time and money at Iowas three public universities brought a lot of people out. Some to share ideas and others to protest the effort.

The Iowa Board of Regents hired a consulting firm to conduct an efficiency review in all three universities.

Today was the public's chance to ask questions about the process, but some people are still skeptical

The University of Iowas Philips Hall was packed with staff, students and members of the community.

Some came to learn more, others to protest.

"When you're going to consolidate clerical staff for four departments, you know, that makes it really hard to actually do the types of quality instructions that undergraduates deserve, said Cathryn Lucas-Carr, President of UE Local 896 COGS, a union of teacher and resident assistants at UI.

"As graduate employees, especially in teaching and instruction, we make up about 67 percent of the contact hours on campus and we make up about only two percent of the teaching and instruction budget, she said.

Lucas-Carr says that budget will either shrink or no longer be available once an efficiency review is completed.

The Iowa Board of Regents is paying Deloitte Consulting 2.3 million dollars to conduct that review.

It's a comprehensive study of higher education in the state. Part of the goal is to save money and maximize resources, but regents say they are aware of the contributions of university staff.

"70 percent of our costs is people and it takes great faculty and great support and administration to make sure that these universities continue to run well, said Bruce Rastetter, Regents president.

"What we do is for the long term health and benefit of the institution. We want to be a stronger institution on the other end of this, said Sally Mason, UI president.

Friday's forum was about getting input and establishing a dialogue with the community.

Lucas Carr hopes her voice will be considered.

The study begins next week at UI and today was the kick off for public input.

Regents say they will hold more at the other state universities.

The consulting firm will also take questions and suggestions online.

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