University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols declared a financial crisis at the state's only public, four-year university during a Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday afternoon.

The declaration under UW regulation 6-41 governing financial exigency allows UW to move into what Nichols calls a "very aggressive planning stage" involving a Financial Crisis Advisory Committee.

The committee will be made up of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the vice president for administration, deans and faculty members from groups across campus.

The declaration stops short of financial exigency itself, under which tenured faculty members could see their positions eliminated.

"It's our goal that we don't go to exigency," says Nichols. "We don't want to."

UW spokesman Chad Baldwin says the declaration will allow university administration to act more quickly once the program reviews currently underway are complete.

"It will allow the more rapid reduction or phase-out of programs where that action is deemed appropriate," says Baldwin.

Baldwin says without the declaration of a financial crisis, likely program reductions would be delayed potentially through the end of fiscal year 2018, preventing UW from realizing a savings in that fiscal year.

Per the regulation, Nichols will hold a town hall meeting of the UW community to explain why she declared the crisis and take questions and comments from UW community members. Nichols says that meeting will be held next week.

"We have some heavy lifting to do for fiscal year 2018, and in my opinion it would be much better if we had a campus-wide group with representation from everyone on campus that sat at the table in the planning stage working through this," says Nichols. "So that hopefully when we walk out of there, we're together on this."

"I'm afraid if we don't do something like this, we're going to have camps all over campus fighting with each other. I've seen this happen," says Nichols. "We're trying to pull the campus together."

The university has to adjust to cuts totaling $40 million over the next two years stemming from the downturn in the state's energy industry.

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