Layoffs, retirement incentives and cutting programs are some of the options being looked at by Eastern as ways of reallocating $23 million needed for the next administration.
Eastern President Doug Whitlock said the reallocated money is going toward improving the university’s growing programs. He said it would specifically go toward adding faculty members to the growing programs and providing raises.
“This will help my successor deal with this institution’s future in a very strategic and positive, positive way,” Whitlock said.
The only person to become more positive in this process will be the next president of Eastern, especially if people will be getting fired.
Whitlock said he doesn’t feel it’s possible to reach this goal without cutting employees because they make up 75 percent of the university’s budget.
Rather than cutting back on employees, we at The Progress would like to challenge the administration to cut back their own salaries.
Several administrators at Eastern make six-figure salaries. Whitlock makes $259,335, Janna Vice, university provost, makes $184,300 and Judy Spain, university counsel, makes $126,684.
Laying off employees and removing entire departments might seem more meaningful if the administration is willing to look at the usefulness and effectiveness of it’s own positions.
More importantly, the decision to do so would not seem so radical if administrative employees were open to taking a salary cut or shrinking their staff.
Why do these administrators not take a hit to their own paychecks for the betterment of the university? Instead, they immediately jump toward cutting programs that are beneficial in some fashion to a percentage of the student population.
Another option being considered by the administration to put a dent in the money needed for reallocations is to create retirement incentive programs.
But this could be detrimental to the educational experience for students.
The professors closest to retiring have in many cases been at the institution the longest; therefore able to offer more personal, first-hand experiences to lectures and coursework.
By trying to force these elder voices out of the university, administrators are turning away valuable knowledge that could be beneficial to the overall educational experience.
The university community wants to know why there is a sudden need for $23 million?
There was a huge fiscal oversight if administrators randomly found a $23 million gap in their budget.
No prior emails or notifications about the financial status of the university had been sent to the students.
The Eastern community and its constituents cannot be expected to know the status of all things related to the university if we are not updated. We have to be informed, and the university has a responsibility to keep the university community knowledgeable.
If students, faculty and staff known about the reallocations beforehand, perhaps more could have been done to get ahead of the curve.
The Eastern community was caught off guard by the news of our financial situation. When the university is reacting in such a shocking manner, administrators should recognize they are doing something wrong.
The university should hold forums in order for all faculty, staff and students within these departments and programs to give their input and recommend their own ideas for finding the money.
Administrators must lay all the information out on the table and come up with a reasonable solution that will benefit all parties involved.
If Eastern does this, it may be able to avoid cutting as many programs, departments, and more importantly, jobs.