BGSU shortfall questioned PDF Print E-mail
Written by DAVID DUPONT Sentinel Staff Writer   
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 11:20
Faculty Senate meeting at BGSU's McFall Center. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
University faculty and administration faced off with dueling numbers at Tuesday's Faculty Senate meeting.
Pressed by faculty, Provost Rodney Rogers said Bowling Green State University is currently projecting a $6.9 million shortfall when the next academic year begins July 1.
That's on the upper end of what the administration has been projecting, he said. It comes even after 30 non-tenure track faculty were let go for that academic year.
Those 30 faculty who are losing their jobs taught 2,400 students, said Lawrence Coates, the representative from the Faculty Association. The university and students "will miss them."
Coates said that an Ernst & Young audit of university finances released in fall found that the university had a strong fiscal position in 2013, including a $3.2 million increase in its unrestricted fund balance.
The audit, Rogers said, was a backward look at the university. Using it as a guide is like driving by looking in a rearview mirror. A budget is a forward-looking document. "What we want to assure is we stay on very firm footing."
Rogers said the administration will present a public forum on the budget. No date was announced, but Rogers said after the meeting it would be held by the end of February.
Julie Haught, of English, said that the cuts appear to be "an overcorrection."
Rogers said the university is continuing to struggle with smaller enrollment. The freshman class was about 300 students fewer, and that will mean the need for fewer classes. Also, he said officials are looking at reducing the number of sections of certain courses offered if possible.
Coates said that he held out hope maybe some could be rehired if it turned out there was a need for more classes than anticipated.
Enrollment is the key, Rogers said, and extends beyond the traditional 18-to-22-year-old cohort, to transfer, returning and international students.
President Mary Ellen Mazey urged faculty to do everything they could to encourage prospective students to enroll.
She said she gave one student and his family a tour, and was pleased to learn he had put down a housing deposit, a sign he intended to enroll.
Mazey said that the university retained more students from the fall to the spring semester than it has in the past.
A report by the consulting firm Accenture identified millions of dollars in operational savings, and the university is forming six committees to see which of those the university will implement. Faculty will be included on all those committees.
Neocles Leontis, of chemistry, made a plea to retain the bookstore. "As small as it is," the bookstore is part of the culture of a campus, he said.
Mazey said that the issue needs to be studied. The operation must be able to sustain itself. Also, the space it occupies is prime, and could possibly be used for other university services.
She said the university also aims to reduce its energy costs and plans to work with the city to accomplish that.
Mazey also said that plans are being made for another capital drive that would double the college's endowment. She said the administration would like to see more endowed professorships and colleges.
In discussing the $23 million renovation of South Hall as a new home for media and communications studies, Mazey put a call out for a donor who may want to earn naming rights for the renovated building. It was time to put someone's name rather than a direction on the building, she said.
Last Updated on Friday, 17 January 2014 12:08

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