As Janna Vice enters her last semester as provost, she said to the Faculty Senate Monday, Dec. 5, “The greatest threat to EKU is not athletics or performance-based funding, it is that we become a divided camp.”
“It’s about more than just the budget, it’s about who we are,” Vice said. “I believe we have much evidence to show that we are achieving academic excellence.”
The senate meeting lasted longer than expected. Discussions occurred concerning campus revitalization efforts, updated university curriculum plans, program cuts and, of course, the budget.
Budget talk left some members of the senate confused and concerned, but Interim Associate Vice President of Facilities Services and Capital Planning Paul Gannoe seemed to clear the air on how the campus revitalization funds are being accumulated, while also giving an update on the progression of the projects.
He broke down the roughly estimated budget on projects funded through public-private partnerships (P3):
- $75 million – New Martin Hall and New Hall B
- $7 million – parking garage
- $1 million – Carloftis Gardens
There will be around 1,100 beds offered between the two new residence halls, and the parking garage will be home to 320 parking spaces. It is expected that students will be able to move into both Martin Hall and New Hall B as early as the fall semester.
The baseball and softball fields are also undergoing construction that will revitalize the concession stands, seating areas and dugouts. The football team is receiving an updated locker room and a player hangout space. An estimated $15 million will be spent on athletics.
The new Student Rec Center will replace Todd and Dupree Halls. Roughly $40 million will be spent and will be funded by the student usage fee. Park Drive will eventually be closed off, limiting thru traffic to service vehicles and extending the square footage of the new Rec Center.
President Michael Benson reviewed performance-based funding and reiterated that the university needs to stand together during this current budget crisis. He also discussed the importance of student recruitment efforts, calling it “part science and part art.”
“This is kind of the hunger games for higher ed,” Benson said regarding student recruitment efforts. “This is brass knuckles now. If we don’t have what students want, their funds are portable and they’ll go elsewhere.”
Vice presented the first reading of a Council on Academic Affairs (CAA) proposal to remove the university’s wellness requirement from curriculum, which she said would save the university $300,000.
“We are the lead institution for transfer students in Kentucky,” Vice said, “yet, all transfer students must complete the wellness credit.”
The second read of the proposal will be presented in February.
The Faculty Senate also voted to approve the program revisions made by CAA. Both groups are in favor of the theatre program offering certificates rather than a B.A., the suspension of the French B.A. and minor, and the redesigning of the horticulture, journalism and geography programs.
“We will have faculty hurting at this time, but we are reminded to stay supportive and considerate to those affected,” said Richard Day, faculty regent.
Minutes from the Oct. 3 meeting were altered regarding the no confidence vote in Day, as it was recorded that the vote narrowly failed. The breakdown of the votes are as follows: 30 votes in favor of no confidence in Day, 18 opposing votes and 13 abstentions.
The 13 abstaining votes were thought to be counted as opposing votes, but as the rules were later reviewed it was brought to attention that the abstaining votes do not actually count toward the final decision. The Faculty Senate voted in favor of removing the individual percentages of the Oct. 3 vote from the official minutes of the session.