A letter from President Allison D. Garrett to the Emporia State campus community — students, faculty + staff.
June 10, 2020
Dear Hornet Nation:
I want to thank all who watched yesterday’s Town Hall in which I discussed our Fiscal Year 2021 budget. I also appreciated the thoughtful questions you asked.
As you will recall from my message to you in January, we needed to take two actions: solve for the current FY2020 budget shortfall and establish a new, more sustainable budget beginning FY2021. We now know that for FY2021, we need to permanently reduce our budget by $2.2 million.
We asked each campus department this past spring to look at its own budget and identify potential, permanent reductions. Thank you to everyone who participated in this process. I also thank the representatives of ESU Shared Governance who weighed in on our budget process and reviewed the final decisions.
We still do not know the full impact COVID-19 will have on our budget. To establish our new budget targets, we have reduced both staffing and operating costs. Although $2.2 million is just 2% of our approximately $100 million total operating budget, these decisions are never easy.
In higher education, two-thirds of total budgets typically are wages and benefits for full- and part-time faculty and staff, hourly wages for student employees and salaries and tuition waivers for graduate assistants. These are the employment reductions we made:
- Eliminated 20 employee positions. Of these, 16 positions were vacant. These positions are now eliminated. For the balance of these reductions, four of our co-workers were notified that their positions will be eliminated either immediately or at the conclusion of FY2021. One-third of these eliminations were instructional personnel and the remaining two-thirds were administrative personnel.
- Reduced some funding for temporary hires and overtime pay in instructional and administrative areas.
- Reduced hours allocated for student hourly workers. Some departments will hire fewer students; others will hire the same number but reduce the amount of hours they work each week.
- Reduced the number of assistantships and tuition waivers for graduate students. Positions affected include graduate administrative assistants, teaching assistants and research assistants.
These very difficult decisions do not in any way reflect on the good people in these positions or their professionalism.
We also have instituted a hiring “frost.” I stop short of calling this a hiring freeze because we will have necessary positions that must be filled if they become vacant. These decisions will require approval from the appropriate vice president.
A question during the forum asked whether we were studying academic programs for possible cuts. The simple answer is, yes, because academic program review is a continual process at Emporia State and throughout higher education.
Emporia State has a program discontinuance policy in place that specifically addresses this. That policy requires a series of thoughtful steps plus an appropriate period of time for phase-out so we can graduate any students enrolled in the program.
Finally, I would ask that you consider what you can do for the future. Emporia State’s mission is to prepare students for lifelong learning, rewarding careers and adaptive leadership. We all can continue ESU’s momentum by helping to recruit new and support and retain current students.
With Hornet Pride,
Allison D. Garrett