Meanwhile, on the hot and gritty south side of campus:
From: CAS Dean <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [Casfac] Budget News
Date: May 19, 2021 at 3:41:28 PM PDT
To: “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dear faculty and staff, As many of you know, the pandemic created a substantial loss in tuition revenue this year, in large part due to a 20% decline in the size of our non-resident freshman class. This represents roughly a $30 million loss in tuition revenue. And this small cohort will continue to impact budgets for another 3-4 years. Unlike many higher education institutions, our academic operations have avoided layoffs, pay cuts, benefit reductions, and cuts of departments and programs. However, while we have implemented hiring freezes and expenditure controls to weather this financial crisis, these measures were far from enough to mitigate the losses.
As a result, the Provost’s Office will be pulling back any current carry-forward balances from general fund accounts across all colleges, schools, departments, and programs. These adjustments are being made immediately in CAS. And let me emphasize that these are adjustments to carry-forward balances, not to our recurring budget. Faculty-controlled funds, ICC funds, and Foundation accounts will not be touched.
We are keenly aware that some departments and programs had planned expenditures from their carry-forward balances that will now have to be foregone, and this will be disruptive for many of you and your departments. We also recognize that some departments have larger balances than others, and so there will be unavoidable inequities in impacts across department and programs.
Our Dean’s Office will be working with department managers and heads to assess each unit’s situation and find alternative available funds where possible. We know that this won’t be possible for every unit, and there will still be plans that departments and programs will have to forego. We will put in place a process for departments to propose exceptions for unique and extraordinary situations, which we will consider in consultation with the Provost’s Office. But we obviously cannot approve very many of these and still meet our financial obligations.
Despite this short-run budget news, I am very appreciative that the provost is taking this moment to reset budgets across all his units and create principles for budgeting going forward that will be beneficial to the college and the university. With the reset in college and school budgets, CAS’s annual deficit between funding and expenditures will be eliminated. Our understanding is that schools and colleges will get clear budgets to which we can manage independently, but with accountability, going forward. The provost also understands that we have very low staffing in CAS and is working with us to address this once we are out of the hiring freeze. Our budget for next year reflects his commitment to begin to address staffing needs. We have advocated a long time for such change and believe this will set the college on a much better financial foundation.
I end by acknowledging that this will create a lot of additional work for our department heads, managers, and Dean’s Office staff at the end of a very difficult year. I am deeply appreciative of their engagement and leadership on behalf of the whole college.
Tykeson Dean College of Arts and Sciences