KSU President Papp conducts town hall meeting to address requested budget cuts
Faculty, staff and students express concerns over tuition, layoffs and program cuts …
Georgia (Mar 2, 2010) —
Faculty, staff and students express concerns over tuition, layoffs and program cuts
Kennesaw, Ga. (March 2, 2010)— Kennesaw State University President Daniel S. Papp conducted a Town Hall Meeting today to brief the campus on the potential implications of $14.1 million in Fiscal Year 2011 campus-wide budget cuts.
Papp provided background and outlined the budget-reduction plan he submitted on Friday as requested to Board of Regents (BOR) officials, who have been asked by legislators – in a worst-case scenario – to cut the University System of Georgia’s (USG) FY11 budget by $300 million. KSU’s portion of that hypothetical $300 million in cuts is $14.1 million.
The USG accounts for 12 percent of the state’s multi-billion dollar budget, yet the $300 million in requested cuts represent nearly a third of a $1 billion projected revenue shortfall for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
Cutting the USG budget by 30 percent, Papp said, is a worst-case scenario, however, KSU and all other USG institutions were directed to identify the hypothetical institutional-level cuts.
“We are in a rather tight budget situation, that is a gentle way to put it,” Papp said. “We are in a situation that is serious. I cannot underline how serious it is.”
Papp spoke to a standing-room-only crowd in the University’s Student Center. He fielded questions from students, staff and faculty about the impact of the cuts on financial aid, faculty travel, class size, HOPE scholarships, tenure and intercollegiate athletics.
The proposed cuts to KSU’s state budget include laying off or eliminating 224 positions and reducing the number of freshmen and transfer students by 10 percent. Funding for the Siegel Institute, the Burruss Institute, the Center for Excellence in Teaching, the Kennesaw State University Press, and the Collegiate Recovery Center would be eliminated. Selected degree programs in education, business, humanities and social studies also would be cut.
In an earlier communiqué to the campus community announcing the Town Hall Meeting, Papp communicated the dire implications that such a huge cut would have on KSU’s operations: “A reduction of this magnitude would be an immense setback, even a disaster, for the university,” Papp stated. “It would require some combination of a cap and even a cutback in student enrollment, a reduction in the number of faculty and staff, program elimination, the reduction and probable elimination of faculty and staff development programs and travel, and other draconian measures.”
Papp continuously stressed in today’s meeting, however, that the identified cuts are based on a worst-case scenario and are hypothetical, and that presently no programs are slated for elimination. “I cannot underline enough that these are hypothetical,” he stated.
He also cautioned the meetings’ attendees to not over react: “Please don’t panic. Be calm,” he said. “This situation is a work in progress.”
The worst-case scenario for Fiscal Year 2011, Papp explained, includes a scenario where the state faces a $1 billion shortfall, the USG is asked to cut $300 million from its budget, the state has no new sources of revenue, and there is no new formula funding and no tuition or fee increases for the University System of Georgia.
At the present time, however, the state’s budget picture for FY11 remains unclear and there are still many unknowns, Papp said, including: how big will the state budget shortfall might be, what share of the shortfall the USG will absorb, what other revenue sources the state can tap into, will there be new formula funding, and whether there will be a tuition hike.
“What if we get some of the formula funding? What if, as this year, we have furloughs?” Papp said. “In military parlance, what we’re doing is worst-case planning.”
The university will begin holding operational-division discussions about the proposed cuts starting March 2.
The president also encouraged the KSU community to contact their state representatives and senators. “We do have an opportunity to influence the process,” he said. “The nearest term help would be to talk with your state legislator.”
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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more than 70 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including new doctorates in education, business and nursing. A member of the 35-unit University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing student population of more than 22,500 from 142 countries.
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers close to 200 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.