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Comments received

On 21 August 2018, Faculty Senate President Kirk McClure released a statement to the members of the university faculty.  To date, he has received more than 90 responses.  Those comments are included below. 

  • I completely agree with you!
  • I think you've got this exactly right.  The $11 million in Central Whatever had no business being on this budget. 
  • I fully support your proposal.
  • That’s excellent!
  • Thank you for advocating for faculty and staff, and I concur with your recommendations. Please let me know if I can help.
  • I appreciate your attempts to find solutions to the situation underlying the 6% budget cut.
  • I am in total agreement with the recommendations you made regarding the cuts in the budget and the obligations of other units within the greater university to help reduce the amount of these cuts while also contributing on a regular basis in the future.
  • I was happy to receive your recent communication regarding suggested changes to the budget cut formula.  I read your suggestions out loud to other colleagues here in the office, and I am further pleased to see that SOMEONE is suggesting rational redistribution of funds at this university.  I am low on the totem pole, and appreciate having higher-ups going to bat for me.  I fully support your suggestions and will be be happy to help if I can be of further service.
  • Thank you for your message today, it is all reasonable and very balanced, so I hope KU admin takes your advice about at least some of it. Thank you for speaking for faculty. We should not have to be punished for poor decisions of administrators who are now enjoying nicer position at other universities. 
  • I applaud your stand and solutions.  Let me suggest one more solution that I have sent forward to the KUCR research directors for discussion with Interim Provost Lejuez, namely, innovative, bold, and creative revenue ideas that other universities have instituted.  For example, some have decreased first year student drop-out/non-return rates—and therefore tuition shortfalls—by instituting pass/fail for first year students, which reduces the stress and pressure of the grade system during the initial university experience.
  • I am in full support of the three recommendations.
  • Thank you for your work on this.  I strongly support your suggestions.    
  • I'm writing to strongly support your statements and suggestions for addressing this budget shortfall.  Thank you for offering them.
  • I fully agree with Prof. McClure's assessment and the points he raised in the email below. At this rate, KU will begin to lose faculty members, if it isn't doing so in any case. I wanted to speak up and affirm my agreement with his points. I hope other faculty will join and follow suit.
  • I completely agree with your propositions. Where do I sign?
  • Yes, yes, and yes.  I agree with all three proposed adjustments and have been wondering for some time why it is that we get saddled with the responsibility of repaying issues that are clearly beyond our control – especially when it comes to KAI not paying its fair share when they use the name of the university.  Kudos in proposing what is only fair and we can only hope that the provost and chancellor see the logic behind this too – although I doubt it.
  • I am in agreement with your suggestions.
  • Bravo!
  • I support all of your suggestions, good to see some thoughtful movement on these three issues.
  • I support these positions.
  • I support your measures wholeheartedly. Thank you for voicing your concerns and sharing these proposals with us. Please keep us posted on what we can do as an individual faculty member to advocate for our learning community.
  • I fully support your proposal and find it refreshingly fair-minded and framed well. I too was formulating in my mind ways that funds could be raised. It is also idiotic that we build a $350 million in door football practice field and at the same time have to reduce programs, not fill faculty/staff positions, and, most recently, stop supporting great programs like the Audio Reader…
  • I wondered whether KUEA should from the present time onward let all donors know that 5% (for argument sake) of all donations will go to an unrestricted fund to the University. Had that been in place before the recent $350 million donation we nearly have had the $20 million needed to correct this budget shortfall.
  • There is no reason that faculty, staff, and students (via reduced programming, reduction in tenure-track positions instructing them etc., and by proxy the citizens of Lawrence and Kansas more broadly) should bear the burden of a university budgeting/planning error over many years while KU Endowment and KAI have such funds and revenues.
  • I fully support the proposal you described in your message. It is likely necessary that the faculty (staff and students) fight this fight, as senior administrators are likely unable to do so alone.
  • Well said, Kirk!  I always suspected this was the situation, but never had any data to back it up.  It is appalling that this is the way this university prioritizes its finances.  Thanks for getting this information out.
  • The goal of our endowment association seems dedicated (like 99% of them) to building larger and larger piles of money rather than using the funds. Consequently, we would be asking them to go against a major goal when they would have nothing to show for it other than debt relief.
  • I salute you on opposing the cut in its current form. I like tremendously your statement: "The faculty did not make the decision to build this structure when the University could not afford it.” University must take its responsibility for wrong not justifiable mathematically decisions. It is not right to ask faculty for taking financial responsibility for obviously careless decisions without considering long term expenses.
  • Hear, hear! Bravo! I am in full agreement with all three arguments. Thanks for speaking up.
  • Thank you for your email. I agree with all 3 of your positions. 
  • Thank you for your email. These positions make imminent sense to me, and I support them. I have emailed my senate representative and my department chairs voicing my support.  At an absolute minimum I think the university administration owes us an extremely convincing counterargument to your below positions, if it is even possible to make such a counterargument.
  • I support your stance unstintingly!
  • Just to let you know that I support and appreciate your ideas on how to deal with the budget cuts.
  • I’ve been at KU since 1984.  This is the first time in my memory that University Governance has shown a spine. Why did it take 35 years for anyone to challenge the $100M/year profiteering of KIA? Congratulations. 
  • I am in strong and full agreement with all three of your points below.  Please let me know if I can support you in this effort in any specific way, and thank you very much for being such a clear and compelling advocate in this difficult fiscal situation for the KU faculty and staff and the mission of the university as, above all, an institute of higher education.  I am copying my department chair and dean on this message, so that they are aware of my support.
  • Thank you for your thoughts on cuts. One other angle I would suggest investigating is a freeze on management consultant contracts, cancelling which ones we can. The oversight committee did good detective work last year to discover that what was reported as $200K in contracts for the Huron Group actually took the form of $9M in payments on the books. Something like that. Seems like this consulting is a luxury we can’t afford, especially given the interim provost’s statements that the budget crisis is due to mismanagement in the past.
  • Thank you for taking a stand and requesting changes to the plan to deal with impending budget cuts. I fully support your proposal. I am copying my department chair in voicing my support.
  • I appreciate your sharing of what seem to be potential options in handling KU’s impending budget cut – and even of just hearing of the nature of business relations between KU, KUEA, and KAI.  I hope all three of the changes you outline receive consideration!
  • When I saw your message today re: budget deficit, I thought I would tell you how much I appreciated the carefully crafted tone of your email. It’s one of the first KU message from KU’s Faculty Governance email account that I read from beginning-to-end. It’s not only the style, of course, I also agree with the gist of your proposals.
  • Hallelujah! I am with you all the way. Thank you for crafting these sensible solutions. I am starting my 29th year at KU. I have rolled with budget cuts and not getting a raise for the last eight years (despite the fact that my salary has, essentially, gone in reverse with the increasing costs of fringe benefits), but I hit the wall with this latest cut precisely for the reason you state--departments all across campus are having to bear the cost of mistakes that were in no way their fault. I have never felt more demoralized. I am grateful for the job, for the salary I make and the retirement benefits. I know that I am far better off than many. But this cut, along with KU's financial relationship with Kansas Athletics, is unconscionable.  
  • I am totally supportive of Kirk's positions on these three issues.  The business of the university should not be buildings and sports, and these are simple ideas to level things out.  We are now seeing the impacts of past financial decisions being felt.. actually impacting students, staff and facutly in palpable ways.  Let's get behind these ideas.
  • Thank you for the email today – I agree with all of your proposals. Thanks for your work on this. My biggest concern right now is for staff – the cuts that have been made to staff across the university to date have made it nearly impossible for any of us to do our jobs. Anything we can do to further the support of staff is ideal in my mind
  • I wholeheartedly support both #2 and #3 of your proposal. The University doesn't exist to fund professional sports, whose trained athletes get their training here - in a just world, pro sports would pay for college athletics programs.   I hesitantly support #1 insofar as long as it only uses general funds, especially those that go straight to Athletics; taking from special Endowment funds would greatly harm future donations and programs that rely on them. 
  • Thanks for the email. I agree with and fully support your proposed changes!
  • Thank you for sending this information and your recommendations on the budget cuts. I am writing to share my position in full support and agreement of your recommendations. I will also email my School’s representative members of the Faculty Senate and administration. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to support this effort to establish more equitable and reasonable strategies for managing the University’s budget cuts.
  • I agree!
  • This is tremendous work! The points seem spot on, are well researched, and very well presented. I hope faculty pay attention. There should be a massive show of support for this.  (In general, the idea of having the faculty senate do cost-benefit analyses of decisions made by administrators (who then move on to another university before the impact is felt) is really good.  Thank you for doing this important work,
  • Thanks for your kind response and best wishes for productive meetings with KUEA.  I can't help but think that the adoption of this across the board cut ( It's a dull cudgel.) was done too quickly, perhaps partly driven by the human tendency to to let oneself "off the hook".  I believe that upper administration, KU Endowment, and Athletics could all have thought of creative ways for new revenue streams to cover the shortfall if someone like the Chancellor had first given the direction of researching if first with caveat that  academics could hopefully not be touched. This would have created the same sense of urgency the faculty and its governance now feel in suggesting other ways to absorb the cut.  Administration, KUEA, and Athletics, all could have done perhaps a better job than we, with their knowledge of holdings, real estate, etc. in coming up with alternative plans to this crude across the board cut. I plan on being at the Town Hall Meeting and will share my feelings as much as possible.
  • Add my name to the long list of those who support these proposals.  It's too bad it took a crisis to prompt these re-evaluations of the University's priorities. I especially embrace the suggestions to make Athletics help the actual educational side of the University, but I also appreciate the consideration given to the problem of "taxing" faculty to pay for buildings we didn't want or approve.
  • I fully support the recommendations you and the Faculty Senate laid out in your e-mail. Thank you for investing the time on this important issue
  • Thank you for your willingness to speak out and hold the entire KU community accountable. I appreciate your support and leadership and whole-heartedly agree with your proposal outlined below. In reality, it is also students who will be subjected to the brunt of a budget cut, through loss of student hourly positions and loss of programming.
  • I’m writing to express my support for the three proposals you outline in your recent message to faculty. I think these are exactly the sort of measures needed at this time.
  • I read your letter sent as Faculty Senate President and I thank you for sharing that valuable information with us. What you say in your letter seems very sensible to me and I am glad you represent KU faculty in the negotiation with our administrators toward equity in our institution.   The centrality of the relationship between students and faculty should be protected and assured: that's the mission of every university.   
  • I am in total agreement with the need for KUEA to support the cost of the Central Campus, the athletic department not getting any support from KU and actually contributing back to the University as well as paying for any use of the University jet. While I support the University having a jet for official purposes, its use should be for academic and research purposes, not athletics. If Kansas Athletics wants to use the jet, then it should be at commercial rates. Thank you for representing the faculty and staff on these issues.
  • I totally agree with you that the proposed changes should be included in the budget cut.
  • Thank you so much for sharing this information and for advocating for faculty. This is appalling!  I fully support your recommendations and will do whatever I can do to further your message.  I've also been a substantial donor going back to the 1980's, usually to academic causes, but for a while I also gave to the Williams Fund.  I greatly respect the Endowment Association and the people I know there, but you certainly are correct in observing that the association can do more. The issue of the jet goes back a long time, but in these difficult straits, having such an expensive plane makes no sense.
  • I want you to know that I wholeheartedly support your proposals.  I am dismayed by the current administration’s position that “We believe a strong athletics program is inextricably linked to KU’s mission as a research institution and member of the Association of American Universities” (Jim Marchiony, public affairs).  I point out to anyone that will listen that a strong athletics program is not required to conduct cutting edge research or provide a world-class education to students and that continued investment and over-emphasis on athletics is conducted at the expense of the actual mission of an institution of higher education.  AAU members and athletic powerhouses MIT, the University of Rochester, and, my favorite because it has no athletics program whatsoever, The University of Chicago, are a testament to that.  At any rate, thank you, Sir.
  • I’m impressed by the pragmatic, straightforward proposed solutions and the way you are able to communicate the ideas. I often feel like the loudest—though well-meaning—voices in these discussions can derail real change by lacking a serious, systematic fiscal approach to go along with the frustrated pounding on hot buttons. This is the first time I’ve actually been optimistic that something meaningful could come of the discussions.
  • I like the tone of this message. However, you left out one group from item one, namely the students (and public). Cost of all these cuts should not be borne by faculty and staff, nor by the STUDENTS (and PUBLIC).   My take in all these is that most of the cost would, eventually, be borne by the students, i.e. by eventual tuition hike. Administrators do not climb up the ladder by upsetting the faculty. Faculty would continue to get occasional 1 or 2 percent salary hikes, and be complicit. Only a few staff members may be lose jobs (some already did).  When dust settles down, there would be a tuition hike and faculty positions would continue to be filled, in normal pace. Some administrator would take credit for “balancing the budget”, and find a job like Neeli Bendapudi (with salary $775,000 per year).   That the very “smart” administrators can climb the ladder so fast, is a CANCER in the National College Education System. Neeli Bendapudi came to KU in 2011, with salary $310,000 and left in 2018, with a job that pays $775,000. This is insane and contrary to the concept of public service. I am sure other administrators noticed Neeli’s climb and doing exactly what is needed to climb the same leader, quickly enough. Among what is needed, is to keep the faculty relatively happy, and QUIETLY HIKE THE TUITION.   You also comment on Endowment. Would Endowment make a commitment that FIFTY PERCENT OF ENDOWMENT DOLLARS WOULD GO FOR TUITION WAVER. Do not take many from donors, unless they agree to this.
  • I agree with the letter that Dr. McClure wrote -  in particular with respect to the relationship to the athletic program and airplane usage
  • I just want to say I’m so glad you’re doing the good work – I support your positions 100%. Let me know if there are other ways I can be of help.
  • Thanks for your efforts regarding the recent budget issues.  I fully support your refreshing view to find alternative solutions to a budget crisis that very recently just materialized.
  • THANK YOU for stepping up to the plate!  What can we do to support this?  Is there any sort of group action in the works?
  • I am writing to express my enthusiastic support for the thoughtful proposals that you outlined in your Aug. 21 memo. The chancellor's across-the-board approach to budget cuts is just one more illustration of how inadequate that approach is. In reducing budgets, all expenditures are not equal -- as your memo clearly illustrates. 
  • I am writing in response to your email concerning your recommendations on how to address the forthcoming budget cuts. I wholeheartedly agree with the suggestions. I would also add that it is important that not only staff and faculty not bear the brunt of the budget cuts, but students as well. I could foresee that tuition would increase again to cover shortfalls and this should not happen. As you know, tuition continues to rise with no cap. We will potentially price ourselves out of students across various socio-economic levels from enrolling in quality education. Diversity is essential to a community, like KU, to thrive.
  • This response it right on. The high priced administration messes up and the faculty pays for it. The issue of the Kansas Athletic corporation’s parasitic role including the jet is a travesty that needs to be brought up. Especially given out new chancellor’s commitment to strengthening the football team. The administration’s priorities are increasingly skewed toward flashy trinkets and stylish corporate slogans so popular with the iterate, ladder-climbing administrators (despite comments such as keeping the University’s core mission of education as its top priority). Keep up the good work.
  • I fully and vehemently support all of these. I would only add – I would like to see the issue of faculty raises (annual or merit or otherwise) be addressed. It’s not particularly inspiring, and frankly makes my work feel devalued, to see my net salary go down and my gross salary stay stagnant year after year. That, plus the message from the Dean and the university that it basically won’t try to retain faculty, doesn’t really inspire confidence or desire in making a long-term commitment. That will ultimately lead to faculty turnover and searches to replace them, which will have a significant negative impact on faculty morale and productivity, as well as a negative impact on try to replace those positions, and decrease the reputation and standing of KU.
  • I am writing in response to your email concerning your recommendations on how to address the forthcoming budget cuts. I wholeheartedly agree with the suggestions. I would also add that it is important that not only staff and faculty not bear the brunt of the budget cuts, but students as well. I could foresee that tuition would increase again to cover shortfalls and this should not happen. As you know, tuition continues to rise with no cap. We will potentially price ourselves out of students across various socio-economic levels from enrolling in quality education. Diversity is essential to a community, like KU, to thrive.
  • I am very heartened to see your letter.  You have masterfully summed up the feelings that many of us have and have enlightened me on embarrassing truths about budget issues at KU.  I hope this effort will bear fruit.  I have worked here since 1984 and am loyal to Lawrence and KU, but have despaired about the upcoming budget cut.
  • I am writing to express my enthusiastic support for the thoughtful proposals that you outlined in your Aug. 21 memo. The chancellor's across-the-board approach to budget cuts is just one more illustration of how inadequate that approach is. In reducing budgets, all expenditures are not equal -- as your memo clearly illustrates. 
  • Thank you for your recommendations regarding the budget. I am in full support of them.
  • This makes such good sense!
  • I just found this now after seeing the LJWorld article.  I fully support these measures.  It is time for Big Athletics to support the university to which they claim allegiance.
  • I'd like to add my support for the three recommendations made by Kirk McClure, Faculty Senate President. My thanks to the Senate for its continuing efforts to represent faculty, staff, and student interests to the KU administration.
  • Thank you for proposing alternatives. I look forward to continued discussion which values every voice and perspective. Even if new and improved decisions are made, someone has a hefty chore of repairing morale which has taken a serious hit.
  • These suggestions are insightful, accurate, and well-presented, and I support them wholeheartedly. Most important, though, they bring the discussion back to basic questions of fairness, rather than just the (unspoken) question of who has the most power. Thank you for your intelligence and courage in publishing this statement.
  • I fully and vehemently support all of these. I would only add – I would like to see the issue of faculty raises (annual or merit or otherwise) be addressed. It’s not particularly inspiring, and frankly makes my work feel devalued, to see my net salary go down and my gross salary stay stagnant year after year. That, plus the message from the Dean and the university that it basically won’t try to retain faculty, doesn’t really inspire confidence or desire in making a long-term commitment. That will ultimately lead to faculty turnover and searches to replace them, which will have a significant negative impact on faculty morale and productivity, as well as a negative impact on try to replace those positions, and decrease the reputation and standing of KU.
  • These proposals make perfect sense and I do support them. And I can tell you that academic programs at the Edwards Campus have already been impacted by the budget cuts. Thanks for your hard work and diligence on this critical issue.
  • I fully support these measures - the university has invested in the wrong kind of infrastructure (buildings, the football stadium) and has failed to invest in what actually makes the university run and be a productive research university: the faculty, staff, and students. More money for hires, scholarships, academic programs, grants, etc., would do a world of good for the university and its profile - much more good than any new building or football stadium (or football coach; when will we admit we may just never be a "good" football school and stop sinking money into this losing venture - from a former college athlete, for what that's worth
  • Thank you, Kirk!  I've been here for nearly 20 years. The increasing mismanagement of our university by a larger group of administrators making outrageous salaries and even more outrageous mistakes, has been deeply disheartening,   I'm curious to see if these 500K geniuses will take now responsibility and fix the problems they created in ways that do not continue to destroy the real business of KU: accessible education and the faculty and staff who deliver it.

University Senate Open Forum

To: Faculty, Staff and Students

Re: Open Forum, 6 December 2018       

The University Senate will hold an Open Forum next Thursday, 6 December 2018, 3-5 pm, in Room 1154 of the Integrated Science Building to discuss the university budget cuts and any related concerns affecting faculty, staff, and students. The general intent is to hear from university constituents who have not had the opportunity to share their questions and concerns. Senate officers and representatives will be in attendance, but the forum will maximize commentary from the floor as we seek additional input from the university community.  Questions may also be sent to: Questions/Comments.  

When: December 6, 2018, 3:00pm – 5:00 pm
Where: Integrated Science Building, Room 1154 (map)

The forum will be livestreamed via ZOOM technology https://governance.ku.edu/zoom20181206 and ASL interpretation will be provided on-site.  A recap of the meeting, questions asked, and answers given will be subsequently posted on the Governance website.

Respectfully,

Ruben Flores
University Senate President

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