May 6, 2019

Faculty Senate explores $17 million shortfall

By Amanda Light

During the report of the Cleveland State University Faculty Senate president at the May 1 meeting, President Bill Bowen focused on the $17 million operating budget deficit.

“I recognize and I deeply regret that this is all going to cause some anxiety,” Bowen said. “But in my mind, we all deserve openness and transparency because this is our university.”

Bowen said that the deficit resulted from low enrollment and the Board of Trustees’ mandate for a balanced budget. Last year, he said, the Faculty Senate Structural Solutions Committee convened to compile ways to fill the deficit gap. He added that this year the Faculty Senate Planning and Budget Advisory Committee took on the issue too.

He said the solution will involve increasing revenue, decreasing expenditures or some combination of the two. He explained that the operating budget paid for things such as gas, electricity, salary, computers and keeping the school running. However, as it stands now the university spends more money to educate students than it brings in.

“We’re not simply employees here, we are the university,” Bowen said. “While I remain very optimistic about the future of this place, I think sometimes it has to be tempered by a little bit of tough-minded realism.”
Near the close of the meeting Cleveland State President Harlan Sands delivered his report to the senate. He said about 400 persons attended the town hall meetings to discuss the new strategic priorities.

Sands also noted that he met with the governor and the lieutenant governor twice and feels encouraged by the first increase in the State Share of Instruction (SSI) component in years. The SSI is the main subsidy Ohio provides to offset the instructional costs of public institutions.

To conclude the meeting, Student Government Association President Samia Shaheen gave her last report. She said SGA registered 250 students to vote through the “Vike the Vote” drive. SGA also established a lounge for first-generation college students in Berkman Hall. The organization also worked with various faculty members to create the textbook affordability survey and implemented the textbook hero awards for professors who used open access materials in their classes.


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