Sunday, June 13, 2010

Update on the status of FRPE's Resolution on Financial Stringency

At the March 25 Faculty Senate meeting, FRPE proposed a Resolution on Financial Stringency (see Although the Resolution was tabled, the FCC referred it to the Senate Committee on Finance and Planning (SCFP) for further discussion and possible action. On April 20, several FRPE activists met with the SCFP to discuss a revised proposal, which recommended that the SCFP "scrutinize every office comprised within central administration, examining what each one currently costs, what it does for the university’s mission, and whether that could be accomplished for a lower cost." (For the full text, see for the full statement.)

Our intent was for faculty, via the SCFP, to play an independent role in assessing the expenditures and mission of the University, which would hopefully produce ideas about places where cuts could be made that would have minimal effect on the core work of education, research, and outreach. Since the April 20 meeting, the SCFP has moved forward with its own proposal, which is so watered down that it bears little resemblance to our original proposal. On May 4, Professor Luepker proposed that the committee meet with units so that it could learn about their respective missions, accomplishments, and future plans. He noted, "The primary goal would be to educate us [the SCFP], we are consultative, not having line authority." Professor Konstan immediately noted that "this was not what the guests [FRPE] asked for," but he added that he liked the idea. The SCFP met again on May 18th and revisited the "audit" proposal. Professor Luepker voiced a concern about moving forward with even the very modest proposal from the previous meeting: "...the President needs to agree with the proposal that the Committee conduct reviews of administrative units, but to do so seems to be within the charge to the Committee and if some units are recalcitrant, they will appear in the minutes." In other words, the faculty need the president's permission to scrutinize the administration, and it is up to the units what they submit for scrutiny. So much for faculty oversight and transparency.

In sum, at this point FRPE holds little hope that the SCFP will move forward with an independent evaluation of central administration. And should a review take place, it will be done under terms set by the President and is hence unlikely to produce recommendations that will result in fundamental changes in central administration.

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