Hi Derek, 

You might already know this, but UConn was hit with similar budget cuts 2 years ago.  Not quite as severe, but still heavy for the University.  As you may know, CT’s economy has been faced with many challenges over the years.  

UConn’s solution (one of) was to round up students and recent alumni who have founded startups/companies or created novel methods/innovations that will help drive and promote statewide economics over the next decade.  All of those selected, myself included, controlled booth’s at the state capitol to share our opportunities for statewide growth with legislators.  The president used this tactic to showcase the opportunities state funds created for future businesses and innovations that would help create jobs, tax revenue and contribute to the state’s growing economy. While this did not work in full, UConn saw 143 million in budget cuts instead of the proposed 300 million.  Sources shared below. 

Macroscopic Solutions fit the model because we employ entomologists, offer solutions that contribute to entomological research and aid in education. One hard hitting item that Macroscopic Solutions focused on at the capital was our work with vectors; specifically ticks, how hosts transport them and spread disease (big problem that resonates with CT residents).  Normally, your average congressman wouldn’t care about a tick, but show them something interesting they’ve never seen before and a conversation begins. 

This solution does not need to revolve around entrepreneurialism; it can revolve around outstanding students, talent, intellectual property, etc.

My two cents….

If you would like me to draft a letter, I would be happy to create something that revolves around my personal transition from academic research to entrepreneur supporting PI's in the life, natural and material sciences. 


Mark R Smith, M.S.
[log in to unmask] | 410.870.5566

Message from President Herbst
To the University Community and all the members of UConn Nation:
Last night and early this morning both houses of the General Assembly approved a state budget that is appalling to us at UConn. The approved budget would cut state funding for the university by more than $300 million over the next two years. That level of cut is unprecedented and would be devastating for UConn, higher education in Connecticut, and the state as a whole.
This would simply decimate the university.  
Here is a partial list of what the budget approved by the General Assembly would mean for UConn and Connecticut:
  • The closure of regional campuses and multiple academic departments and potentially even schools and colleges;
  • The closure of UConn Health, or large parts of it;
  • Elimination of scores of majors and graduate programs;
  • Dramatically larger classes and waitlists that will make it challenging for many students to graduate in four years;
  • Major reductions to need- and merit-based financial aid for students across the board;
  • Devastating cuts to scientific and medical research programs;
  • Reduction of UConn police and fire services as well as the elimination of most student health and mental health services, and other student support programs; 
  • Elimination of many Division 1 Athletics programs;
  • Elimination of international programs; 
  • Dramatic reductions to fundraising efforts and philanthropic giving.
 It is difficult to describe how destructive the approved budget would be to UConn and higher education in Connecticut. We thank the governor for his promised veto of this measure, and we thank all those who believe in higher education for Connecticut and its residents.
Going forward, we are hopeful that the legislature and governor can agree on a far-sighted budget that protects investments in UConn, our students, and the state’s future.   

Susan Herbst
Office of the President
352 Mansfield Road, Unit 1048
Storrs, CT 06269-1048
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Message from President Herbst
To the UConn Community,

I write to inform you that the Connecticut General Assembly has approved a bipartisan budget agreement that will mean at least a $143 million reduction in state funding for UConn – including UConn Health – over the next two years.

You may recall that the governor had proposed a two-year cut of $100 million for UConn and UConn Health. The university accepted this, knowing that every state agency would need to share in the financial sacrifice as the state struggled to close its deficit. However, in September, the legislature voted to approve a budget that would have cut state funding for the university by $309 million – more than triple what we were prepared to manage.

The governor vetoed that budget and negotiations resumed.

This new budget is clearly a far better outcome with respect to funding for UConn. A cut of $309 million would have been catastrophic and we are relieved that the General Assembly was able to avoid making that kind of cut to the university.

That said, a two-year cut of $143 million is still a very steep reduction. It will clearly have a significant negative impact on the university and will mean difficult decisions.

UConn is the 18th best public university in the nation, out of 132 public research institutions. We will do all we can to maintain that position and – with the right resources – continue to grow and thrive as we move forward.

As we have often said, investment in UConn is one of the key factors that will improve Connecticut’s economy over the long term. Without an excellent public research university, we cannot maximize our ability to train our future workforce, bring national and international talent to the state, or invent, discover, and build through research and strategic partnerships. A mediocre flagship university does little good for its state.

The governor has not yet indicated whether or not he will sign this legislation. If the reductions in this budget become law, I will work with our faculty, staff and board of trustees as we continue to take steps to protect our core academic mission.

Managing budget reductions is painful, but straightforward; there is no hidden financial resource we can tap and there is no non-specific “fat” or other low-hanging fruit that can be eliminated to solve our problems. Nor can the university simply turn to philanthropy or external grants to shore up our operating budget. Those funds cannot legally be used for that purpose.

Instead we will contend with this round of cuts as we have contended with previous cuts over the last several years, including through the following:
  1. A prudent and strategic freeze on hiring while also protecting research and meeting teaching needs.
  2. A delay of certain projects, including the Gant renovation and construction of the new Science Complex.
  3. The restructuring of administrative functions and departments and the elimination of positions.
  4. Reducing services that, while positive and beneficial, are not essential to the academic mission.
We are grateful to the governor and the General Assembly not only for supporting a scaled-back reduction to UConn, but also for their support for UConn over the long term. We know that when the state’s leaders approve budgets that reduce funding for UConn, they are only doing so because they must close wide deficits in the state budget, not because they believe cutting UConn is good public policy or good for the state of Connecticut.

Just as important: thanks to all of you – the people who make up our community and UConn Nation. In recent weeks, you mobilized, took action, and made your voices heard. You wrote, called, and met with your legislators, advocated through the media, held demonstrations, and aggressively made the case for UConn and its value to the state. Each of your stories became our story and reminded everyone that UConn is essential to Connecticut’s success. The fact we were able to avoid the catastrophic cuts we feared is owed to your hard work.

Clearly, this advocacy for UConn must continue if we are to maintain and enhance our academic strength through the challenges of the years ahead.

With sincere appreciation,

Susan Herbst
Office of the President
352 Mansfield Road, Unit 1048
Storrs, CT 06269-1048
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Mark R Smith, M.S.
[log in to unmask] | 410.870.5566

On Jul 28, 2019, at 9:27 PM, Derek Sikes <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

URGENT: On Friday afternoon we learned that governor Dunleavy has proposed to *completely* cut the state appropriation to the museum and to all of the university’s annual investments in research. (A copy is here: https://bit.ly/2SHnJpP) We’re asking our many supporters to email the University of Alaska Board of Regents *now* at [log in to unmask] urging them to reject this proposal when they meet in emergency session to consider it on Tuesday. This single email address goes to the university president, too: [log in to unmask] They declared financial exigency at last week’s meeting due to the governor’s line-item veto budget cut to the university of a staggering 41% – on top of five years of cumulative budget cuts we’ve already undergone. In a second step, we’re hoping you will email support for the university to Alaska’s legislators, too, as they try to return most of the governor’s cuts to the university through a supplemental spending bill. Personally, I am sending my comments to both at the same time (instructions below).

As you know, education and research are integrally tied together at a modern university. The vast majority of UA faculty have a combined teaching-research-service appointment. Training the next generation’s workforce requires hands-on experience with research. It’s how we teach students to creatively and intelligently solve real-world problems. It’s how we develop new knowledge to make the world better for all of us.

The University of Alaska Museum of the North has world-class collections in many disciplines, documenting and safeguarding Alaska’s natural and cultural history and making it available to students and researchers from Alaska and worldwide. At the museum we would not be able to function without our state appropriation, which is spent on curation and collections management to fulfill our legal obligations as a collections repository. We also do a lot of student training and, yes, some research, too. We are a very lean, highly functional unit with partnerships in collections, education, research, and exhibits throughout Alaska and the world. And no, we can’t recover this cut through increasing fees, as the governor has proposed (they did zero research on this). We already recover a lot, and we’ve tweaked that pretty hard during the past five years of budget cuts.

The economic argument for rejecting these cuts is powerful, too. For every dollar the University of Alaska Fairbanks puts into research, we get back 3-6 dollars (depending on unit), mostly from federal grants. But it’s a partnership. If we pull out, those grants won’t come here. They will go to faculty and students in other states. So the money the state spends on university research is well spent for the excellent training it gives our students and the knowledge it develops, *and* it is a superb direct investment in the state’s economy. Here at UAF, the state’s only PhD-granting institution, $19 million in state research spending each year is turned into about $132 million. So cutting UAF research will have an outsized economic impact in Alaska’s Interior, now and long into the future (it takes decades to build this kind of expertise and competitiveness for federal funding).

We do not understand why the governor is doing this grave damage to the university and to the state when he promised otherwise before being elected (Dunleavy’s lies: https://bit.ly/2Ysw02U). It is ideological, and it is extreme. And make no mistake—it is a choice he has made; we are not in a fiscal emergency. The legislature passed a balanced budget that *still* gave away free money to Alaska citizens (the permanent fund dividend, or PFD). This entitlement program and the governor’s ideology are at the center of the problems we find ourselves in. A petition to recall the governor starts later this week (URLs at bottom).

The majority of Alaskans and his own party oppose his outrageous budget cuts, but he is the most powerful governor in the country, with line-item veto authority and a 75% super-supermajority required to override those vetoes. His mismanagement of the state thus far has us in chaos. (See some of the details here and here: https://bit.ly/2Y9iDbV https://bit.ly/2SJlKRT). His insertion into the regents’ job of managing the university is unprecedented, as are these levels of budget cuts.

I hope you will write to the board of regents and urge them to reject this proposal to cut research and the museum from the university’s future. We are in a state of financial exigency, so things are moving very fast. [log in to unmask] I also hope you will write our legislators, but emailing the board of regents is the first and most time-sensitive step. The legislators are in Juneau working to pass a supplemental spending bill that restores most of the governor’s line-item vetoes. That will also be subject to more line-item vetoes, and we will almost certainly need your support, especially you Alaskans, to tell our legislators how important the university and museum are to the state. I am sending them all (board and legislators) the same message right now. Instructions for contacting the legislature are also given below.

Alaskans—please do write to our legislators and consider signing the recall petition, which begins on 1 August (more on both below).

Thanks for your support!

Kevin Winker
Professor and Curator

More information about the university is here: https://www.uaf.edu/chancellor/initiatives-and-policies/advocacy/tool-kit.php

More information about the museum is here:

Recall petition:



UA mission statement: "The University of Alaska inspires learning, and advances and disseminates knowledge through teaching, research, and public service, emphasizing the North and its diverse peoples." Regents' Policy 01.01.01

Written testimony is accepted at any time and is shared with the board and the president. Please submit to: [log in to unmask]

To email Alaska’s legislators, go to this page https://uaf.edu/chancellor/initiatives-and-policies/advocacy/akleg.php , open the bar for each respective branch (House, Senate), and there is one button to email all the members of each branch. The easiest way I’ve found to use it is to right click on that button, choose ‘copy email address’, and paste that massive email grab into your email’s To: field.

Derek S. Sikes, Curator of Insects
Professor of Entomology
University of Alaska Museum
1962 Yukon Drive
Fairbanks, AK   99775-6960

[log in to unmask]

phone: 907-474-6278
FAX: 907-474-5469

University of Alaska Museum  -  search 400,276 digitized arthropod records

Interested in Alaskan Entomology? Join the Alaska Entomological
Society and / or sign up for the email listserv "Alaska Entomological Network" at