- Letters to Editor
BY: KYLE WOOSLEY
The Strategic Budget Reallocation Task Force addressed several rumors regarding the $23 million reallocation this week March 4.
In an email sent out Monday, the task force debunked rumors regarding which areas will be seeing the most cuts and any areas that may be exempt from the university-wide evaluation.
The decision to reallocate $23 million was made by Eastern’s Board of Regents in order to allow the next administration to increase the efficiency of the university’s growing programs.
“Anything that has been rumored to have been decided or concluded is false,” said James Street, co-chair of the Strategic Budget Reallocation Task Force. “We haven’t made any decisions.”
Eastern President Doug Whitlock said any decisions that are made would come with “adequate notice.”
“This particular one [email] had to address some particular rumors about what may or may not be cut,” Whitlock said. “These phrases like ‘I heard that’ are not accurate because nothing has been decided. I also wanted to assure everybody that non-academic areas will not be exempt.”
Janna Vice, university provost and co-chair of the task force, said the email was a response to feedback the task force had been given.
“Folks just want to make sure truly everything is being reviewed and the purpose of the email was to reassure people that was the case,” Vice said.
Street said he wants to reiterate all areas of Eastern will be included in this evaluation.
“There are no areas in the realm of the campus community that will be left out of this self-examination for efficiency and cost-cutting measures,” Street said.
Street said questions have been made about particular areas, such as athletics or the EKU Center for the Arts, being exempt from this university-wide evaluation.
“While nothing has been finalized yet, nothing is off the table yet,” Street said. “That’s not to say there won’t be any closings and any decisions to the contrary is wrong.”
Street said all proposals that have been offered since the email address to send suggestions was set up have been in the best interest of the university.
“I have been overwhelmed by the unanimity of purpose of the task force,” Street said. “While we have disagreed, everybody is approaching this from an altruistic [perspective], doing what’s best for the university, standpoint.”
The most important thing to remember, Street said, is the task force’s standpoint going into making these decisions.
“One needs to understand we’re looking at this from a strategic perspective, so ultimately decisions will have to made about the core mission and what programs are more beneficial to students,” Street said.
Craig Turner, chair of the Board of Regents, said he would be meeting with the task force for a status meeting next week in order to get an update.
“I have not thought up a plan yet,” Turner said. “They [task force] haven’t officially presented their thoughts yet.”
Vice said the task force is only permitted to reveal so much information before meeting with the Board of Regents.
“We’ve really been as specific as we’ve been able to be,” Vice said.
Street said even though there is some negative feedback, he is pleased with the progress and input from the university community.
“I’m not surprised how they’re [campus] responding, but it’s gratifying to see everybody pulling together to do what’s best for EKU,” Street said. “It’s a tremendous challenge, and everybody is doing their upmost best to respond to it. We have yet to hammer out a final approach but we will ultimately do what’s best for the university.”