Post Classifieds

Cutting the Cash

On November 21, 2012

Last week, announcements pertaining to departmental
and library budgets were abruptly made,
surprising students and professors alike. Some cuts
were immediate while others lurk in the future; the
forthcoming details have left many questions to be
answered. Cuts were made across the university,
touching almost every department.
Dr. Scott Chadwick, provost, responded to questions
about the austerity measures on Monday in an
email. "The cuts affect operating budgets only. We
intentionally made the decision not to cut positions
so no faculty or staff are at risk because of the budget
cuts," Chadwick said. "That is a normal and appropriate
course of action" (to maintain a balanced
Each reduction was evaluated separately; no unit
on campus was exempted. "We have rebalanced our
budget to ensure no reduction in quality of teaching,
learning or faculty scholarship," Chadwick said.
The campus has seen next to no reaction.
However, there has been speculation on the cuts
with rumors that it would cut into electronic resources
in the library next year in addition to what
was already cut this year. Furthermore, there have
been allegations that the cuts could hurt benefi ts
for faculty in addition to the inability to hire new
tenure-track professors.
Students and professors have mentioned details
about the percentage and extent of cuts to specifi c
departments. Dr. Chadwick declined to offer fi gures
for the cutbacks.
Dr. Sarah Melcher, chair of the theology department,
offered her take on the situation by email. She
is in favor of making fi nancial concessions to comply
with a balanced budget. However, she disagrees
with the methodology.
"To comply with administration's directives in
regard to the library budget means that they must
cut new library acquisitions for faculty; that is, books
and media for research and teaching. In my opinion,
books and media for research and teaching are
mission-critical. . . New acquisitions should be a very
high priority," Melcher said.
Dr. Alison Russell also offered her opinion as
chair of the English department. She reiterated Dr.
Melcher's comments about access to resources for
research and teaching, but added that access to travel
for conferences could further limit professors' opportunities.
Attending and presenting at conferences
is a key part of academia, and money budgeted for
that may be cut up to 25%.
A few students were also willing to opine on the
possible impact. Senior Chris Makoskie expressed
that the current handling of the budget "is kind of a
damnation of the Jesuit ideal."
Katie Scheidler, also a senior, noted her concern
for what type of reputation the university seems to
be building at the moment." As a student, I am extremely
concerned where my money is going. And
I'm concerned that my money isn't going to programs
that are going to help me grow as a person,"
Scheidler said.
Widespread response to the cuts has yet to surface
on campus. The number of students openly expressing
concern has been small thus far. Of almost ten
professors contacted by the Newswire (tenured and
non-tenured), only one was willing to publicly comment
on the situation.
Considering the abrupt nature of the cuts and the
announcements regarding them, forthcoming information
is anticipated to be equally abrupt. More developments
will be noted as they appear.

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