Georgia University chief defends budget

ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia university system chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. faced tough questions from state legislators Thursday about boosting staff pay and avoiding employee furloughs even as the state struggles to fill a $2 billion budget hole.

Davis defended the move, saying the public college system "must not make decisions that mistake the urgent for the important."

But legislators blasted Davis for raising fees for students - a $100 boost at the state's larger research institutions - while not asking for sacrifices from academics and other system staff.

Most of the university system's 41,000 employees will get raises this year that average 2.5 percent. Davis said he is "philosophically against" furloughs because they only delay budget problems.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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