Category: Letters to Editor

Donors question if they want to continue donating in spite of recent cuts

I was about to make my annual contribution to the Roberta Hill Memorial Fund, which has provided scholarships to students in Family and Consumer Sciences (formerly Home Economics) since 1977. Then, I read the article in today’s Herald Leader regarding the cuts in academic programs, cuts made necessary by the $13 million shortfall. What particularly provoked me was Mr. Turner’s attack on the faculty for taking so long to make the cuts in academic programs and to increase the costs in the employee health insurance (by a staggering 400 percent — unbelievable). As regrettable as the academic cuts are, such cuts in benefits have to be harmful to established academic programs, the future of which depends on retention and hiring of quality professors. Where were the administration and the Faculty Senate on these decisions? Perhaps their “time-consuming” deliberations prevented further damaging cuts, but how much more burden should the faculty bear? Mr. Turner’s own profile (EKU News, Oct. 8, 2013) suggests he is all for the values of smaller classes, individual teacher-student ratios and shared governance, which his current remarks contradict. Mr. Turner’s argument that the athletic budget of $14 million is necessary for “better retention and graduate rates” is peculiar at best. To add to the possible cost of the athletics program, AD Lochmueller has promoted a much greater budget – up to $24 million – in order...

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Parking changes have affected both commuters and residents

To whom it may concern, Did the changes made to EKU’s parking system this past summer of 2016 make things work any better for residents and commuters? No, because people have to park illegally and park in different lots that aren’t anywhere near their dorms. Also, this parking situation has filled the parking lots to their capacity and has caused students to park illegally on yellow caution lines or along curbs in hazardous zones.. Some people have also moved traffic cones and construction fences to find parking and that got their car towed. Because EKU made the decision to change up the parking zones, resulting in less spots for a large incoming class, it has resulted in mass chaos for resident and commuter students trying to park either near their dorms or near their classes. EKU deciding to tear down so many buildings has also reduced parking. Ashland, Perkins and Vickers lots are all across the bypass from campus. This makes it either a long walk for students or they have to wait for a shuttle. Another reason it is so rough on residents is there are more residents than commuters, and there are huge lots for commuters and not very big ones for residents. On the other hand, EKU does provide what they can for the parking situation for us. For example, they made a new lot, the...

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Fact-check on faculty benefits and course load

To the Anonymous Staff Member, I offer this open-book pop quiz: 1. Anonymous claims that “Vacation accrual impacted only staff.” How many vacation days do faculty receive per a nine-month contract? a. 12 days    b. 6 days    c. 0 days    d. 9 days 2. Anonymous whines about “faculty get[ing] their summers off.” How much do faculty get paid during their “summers off?” a. $3000    b. $0    c. $2000    d. $1000 3. Despite not getting paid during summers, faculty are expected to: a. conduct research    b. prepare reports for promotion and tenure    c. perform professionally-related service    d. all of the above 4. Anonymous claims that “They [faculty] can teach a class with one person in attendance.” Such a class, taught in addition to faculty full teaching load, is called: a. seminar        b. hybrid    c. upper division    d. independent study 5. Faculty get paid how much for teaching an independent study? a. $3000    b. $0    c. $2000    d. $1000 6. Anonymous claims that during transition to retirement, faculty receive “full salary.” What percentage of salary do faculty actually receive during RTP? a. 50%    b. 25%        c. 75%        d. 100% So, put your big boy pants on, and do some research; good luck! Answers: 1-c; 2-b; 3-d; 4-d;...

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Budget cuts always seem to target staff rather than faculty

No staff can use their real name when addressing any issue related to faculty; it is too risky-we will be eliminated so quickly… For the last several years, every budget cut has been to staff: The RIF (reduction in force) saw some departments lose 20+ staff (IT and Facilities) and the second RIF white boxed and gray boxed more staff. The most recent student success RIF saw all staff eliminated. The two faculty that had staff positions went back to being faculty. Vacation accrual impacted only staff. The current RFP out impacts only staff. Even athletics has cut staff positions.

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Journalism program invaluable to campus

That’s why it troubles me to learn that the university is considering shutting down the journalism department at my alma mater. Budget cuts are the reasoning behind the move. But, I would urge the administration to reconsider this proposal – not just because of my own nostalgia, but because the education and real-world training of future EKU students is at stake.

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Less is not more when it comes to funding higher education in Kentucky

Nearly 30 years before he would become president, a young Abraham Lincoln began his political career by running for a seat in the Illinois General Assembly. Although he was largely self-taught, his passion for public education was already evident. In a campaign letter to those he hoped to serve, he called it “the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in.” His words are a welcome contrast to the remarks Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton gave last week to The Eastern Progress newspaper. “Those of us who go to work must give part of their earnings to put you through college, and I disagree with that,” she said, as if educating the next generation of citizens was a burden rather than an opportunity. Her words also directly contradict state law, which says that “the general welfare and material well-being of citizens of the Commonwealth depend in large measure upon the development of a well-educated and highly trained workforce.” To put that in another way, whatever savings she thinks we might see from not funding higher education would pale against the losses caused by businesses looking elsewhere for that well-educated and highly trained workforce. Those who want to cut higher education seem unaware of what has already occurred as the lingering result of the 2008 worldwide recession. In the last eight years, Kentucky’s public colleges and universities...

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Brinkley’s talk on EKU’s campus shows value of studying history

This past week it was a rare privilege to hear the prize-winning historian, Doug Brinkley, at EKU. He presented an impressive, factual, scholarly, and well-researched examination of the scientific and environmental contributions of the two Roosevelt Presidents with a passion only matched by a T. Harry Williams on Huey Long or a Tom Clark on Kentucky. Contrary to what some politicos have said, history is alive and well, and Brinkley proves the point in the best of styles. I congratulate and thank all those who made his visit to our campus such a success. Dr. Hank Everman Professor Emeritus in History History Professor at EKU from 1970 –...

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Letter to the Editor

I read with great interest your September 9th article about Eastern taking over the management of its large capital construction projects previously conducted by the state. As President Michael Benson noted, this will allow Eastern “to be in control of our own destiny,” and I share Eastern Director of Capital Construction Paul Gannoe’s optimism for this change. Indeed, it makes sense that stakeholders closest to realizing the benefits of these capital projects should have significant influence in managing these projects. But I offer a warning. And before I do, a disclaimer: I work for a consulting organization that deploys technology solutions that help organizations with large capital programs plan and execute their projects. In that capacity, I’ve worked with many organizations facing challenges similar to Eastern, and I’d like to share a common problem I’ve observed: Organizations may have processes to execute their projects and control costs, but without software to enforce those processes they often encounter significant problems including cost overruns and schedule delays. Processes without software to enforce adherence to those processes are built on hope, not control. And that’s a huge risk. While the article didn’t dive into the details of the systems Eastern uses to manage and control its capital projects, I do hope that robust mechanisms are in place to ensure the delivery of world-class facilities and infrastructure that the Eastern community deserves. Regards,...

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Obama making right moves for Eastern Kentucky

Sacrifice zones are areas that have been ravaged in the name of profit. Destroyed thoroughly, these places suffer in ways that you wouldn’t expect. Their sense of community, environmental health, human welfare and economic context are all affected. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that our beautiful home state of Kentucky harnesses one of the hardest hit sacrifice zones around: our Eastern Kentucky coalfields. Our coalfields have been completely neglected by not only the resource extraction industry, but our very own government. With unemployment mounting, and communities and families continuing to struggle, there’s finally a glimmer of hope. President Obama has proposed a $1 billion lifeline for Eastern Kentucky and other distressed coal impacted communities in Appalachia. Emphasizing on cleaning up abandoned strip mines, capturing carbon pollution from power plants, protecting retired coal miners and uplifting local entrepreneurs. Revitalizing the Appalachian economy has never seemed so attainable. Whether his budget proposal is approved or not, President Obama has done something truly admirable. He listened to the needs of people in individual communities. He didn’t paste some cookie cutter solution onto Appalachia like many presidents have tried and failed to do. Recognizing that we’re a region with unique problems and that we need a unique set of solutions was such a vital step to the Just Transition movement in Eastern Kentucky. With someone as powerful as our president addressing the real...

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Regional campus Eastern students are still Colonels

Regents meetings should be accessible to greatest number? Shouldn’t the regents meeting be accessible to all? Do  students that attend extended and regional campuses not count as Eastern students? We may not live on or near Richmond’s main campus, but we pay tuition, take classes and take pride in our university just as the main campus students do. Why should the regents only meet on the main campus where it would be a two hour drive or more for us students from Hazard attend? By bringing the regents meeting to Hazard it gave southeastern students an opportunity to meet the regents and President Benson which is something most of us only get to do on the day we graduate when he presents us with our diploma. That is, of course, if we are lucky enough to be able to make the two hour drive to Richmond for the graduation ceremony. Having one of the four meetings at an extended or regional campus is by no means stopping anyone on the main campus from attending these meetings; it is only creating an opportunity to reach community members and students who might not have such a chance to meet with board members. As stated, these meetings are open to the public and anyone may attend. Anyone from the main campus was more than welcome to make the two hour drive to...

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