University Senate Minutes November 4, 2021


University Senate, November 4, 2021

Approved: February 3, 2022
 

Present: Allard Jongman, Amanda Mollet, Andrea Herstowski, Ani Kokobobo , Ben Chappell, Bozenna Pasik-Duncan, Charlotte Tritch, Chris Crandall, Corey Maley, Geraldo Sousa, Hossein Saiedian, Jeremy Shellhorn, John Bricklemyer, John Hoopes, John Poggio, Justin Blumenstiel, Kristin Villa, Kyle Velte, Mahasweta Banerjee, Margaret Marco, Maya Stiller, Mizuki Azuma, Nate Brunsell, Nick Syrett, Nils Gore, Patricia Gaston, Randall Fuller, Remy Lequesne, Tim Hossler, Xinmai Yang, Brian Moss, Chris Wallace, Jessica Chilcoat , Liz Barton, Michelle G Hayes , Monica Bradshaw, Aaron Quisenberry, Robert Waller, Teri Chambers, Tim Spencer, Todd Carpenter, Andrew Moore, Camden Baxter, Ethan Roark, Hollie Hall, Mary Morrison

 

Visitors: Jennifer Roberts, Jeff DeWitt, Chris Brown, Ashley Lonnberg

 

Also Present: Tessa Maclean, Kathy Reed

 

University Senate SenEx Chair Saiedian introduced Jeff Dewitt, Chief Financial Officer.

DeWitt gave an update on the University Budget. 

  • Enrollment was flat to a little bit above flat, which we had forecasted
  • State funding, KU received a little more than expected. 
  • For 2023 request a tuition increase,
  • Increase for dining and housing
  • KU has a disciplined and refined budget process
  • Discussions are taking place now regarding the budget planning process.  Instead of waiting till February and scrambling at the last minute.
  • KU has a consultant in that is looking at possible opportunities for KU to host conference, and workshops to bring more money in.

 

 

Question:

Are there any plans or will there be an opportunity for you to share the current budget model and how our budgets are calculated? 

 

Reply:
There is a general fund, which is tuition and state funding. 

  • The first thing we must pay out of there is we have to pay debt service for things that we borrowed for, and you have to pay for gas and electric.
  • We want to make sure people get a cost-of-living increase
  • You have the administrative cost, the enrollment at the Provost, Chancellor, CFO the offices that you need to support the general university. And the goal of that is for those to do efficiency reviews to make sure they're taking out as little as possible.
  • Money that goes to KUCR, research center. 
  • Working on student credit hours and it doesn't matter whether they're online at Edwards, it doesn't matter whether they're there on this campus. It doesn't matter where they are. You get your student credit hours.
  • To goal is to increase student credit hours.

 

Question:

Regarding the two-three percent increase in housing rates.  How can we continue to increase the rates on student housing when we're seeing wide-scale gentrification continue our campus? We've seen the building itself and Oswald Hall, and apartments, that cost like upwards of anywhere, $6000 per semester to live in. Then we are knocking down buildings that could be used to benefit low income and marginalized students on this campus. Marginalized students continue to see increases our housing rates while also building housing, that's just demonstrably more expensive for students and making it to where off campus housing is a lot more financially stable option for a lot of students.

Reply:

We need to make sure housing is affordable.  I’m committed to working on a financial plan and a multi-year plan for housing that looks at how keep housing costs as low as possible.  Housing is a standalone along with dining.  They took a large cut during the pandemic.  We need quality housing so we can grow our enrollment.  We are in this same situation across campus.  The state has continued to cut our funding. We are only asking for what is needed for housing to sustain itself.  

 

Question:

There are a lot of different factors that are driving structural debt, I’m having a difficult time identifying which of the primary drivers, which are the secondary and which is the tertiary drivers?
A follow up would be what is the breakdown, Budget deficits have built up in that period? And then going forward, how would one rank the drivers?

Reply:
The drop in-state funding is the primary driver. The other one is, out-of-state tuition, increasing.  KU was not able to maintain enrollment, so they have given offsets for tuition.  A lack of funding, tuition, inflation.  There has been an 18% increase in food costs. 

Question: There is a concern about credit hours.  If a school increases their credit hours, won’t that be at the expense of another school or department?

 

 

Reply

If we were only looking at residential campus, then Dewitt would agree.  KU is far behind other universities that offer online courses.  Edwards is growing, there are opportunities for people leaving the military as an example that want to take their experience in the military and convert that into college credits and obtain a college degree.  KU needs a plan, on where we're best able to grow because some academic units probably shouldn't grow, and they're probably not made to grow. We should look at it and make sure we're not going to your point cannibalizing each other. You have to think, what is the twenty-first century want and need in terms of education?  It is not always residential experience, although that's where we're KU is. Where we can go here, which is why you need a strategic enrollment plan. If we don't grow any student credit hours and we can't raise tuition, we will cut and cut and cut and cut. What's the alternative? KU needs to grow smartly in the right places where you can keep the quality going. And it doesn't have to be in Lawrence. It can be anywhere. We are A one university. We're in Kansas City. We're in Salina, where we're all over the place. And where can we best do that? We need to think as one university.

 

 

Question:  If you are looking to increase housing, are you also looking to increase all of these fees on campus. Are you looking at also increasing the student hourly wage so that these students can afford these increases?

 

Reply:

People are leaving, faculty, staff, and students.  Where do you get that money to do that? I'm thinking, I think about it every day and we're going to plan for it. 

 

Question: The Law School is required to follow what the American Bar Association accredits us to be in good standing.  They have a very low cap on the number of courses that law schools are permitted to offer online law school instruction.

 

Reply

Yes, both the Law School and School of Education has distinct rules.  Music is one that doesn’t have room to grow.  Not every area does.  The university, in its totality, can continue to exist, which is why there's this fund that's set aside in the budget model that I would call subventions incentivize. So, if you're if you're keeping your number one ranking or moving up in the ranking, maybe we need to feed you more because that's a feeder for people. You can't be so short-sighted and say everything student credit hours, although it is the primary driver because that's where our money is going to come from. You do have to recognize some units are always going to need subvention and some units can't grow. Those that can grow, need to, so they can help the broader university.

 

Question: There is a large pay gap between GTA, GRA, and GA’s.  Have you spoken to the Provost and Chancellor about a timeline to adjust the minimum wage for the groups that are underpaid?

 

Reply: The Provost and I have discussed this, and we are looking at the budget, and how we can address this. 

 

Question: Has a decision been made about graduate student credit hours, particularly graduate students whose tuition is waived? Will those count for the department as credit hours?

 

Reply: Yes, whether your tuition is waived or not, whether online or on-campus, the student credit hours go into the model to allocate the revenue to the academic area. 

 

Saiedian thanked Jeff for attending.    

 

Approval of Minutes from September 30, 2021-approved

 

 

Presidents Reports will be emailed to members.

    1. Staff Senate – Tim Spencer
    2. Student Senate- Ethan Roark
    3. Faculty Senate – Remy Lequesne
    4. University Senate- Hossein Saiedian

 

Unfinished Business

Concerns regarding the inability to send email updates to all faculty, staff, and students were discussed. 
 

AP&P recommendations have been completed, the University Senate will be meeting on December 2, 2021, to discuss and vote on the recommendations. 

 

New Business

Hall wanted to update the Senate on a possible resolution regarding the Centers that are being discontinued. 

 

Meeting adjourned.