Cutback Concerns by the Numbers

BY VICTORIA KRUKENKAMP

SC Managing Editor

ESU’s financial situation continues to affect students, staff, and faculty.

Kelly Dildine, a junior majoring in chemistry and secondary educations fears for what is going to come during her senior year.

“I am disappointed in ESU,” said Dildine, “I put all this work in after transferring here, and now it may all be in vain.”

The current departments under consideration for possible retrenchment are chemistry, modern languages, movement activities and lifetime fitness, music, physical education, communication studies, early childhood and elementary education, history, philosophy, physics, political science, professional and secondary education, special education, and the CAPS counseling center.

The average personnel cost per credit to the university for all departments was $183.74 for the 2012-2013 academic year.

The average personnel cost per credit to the university for the departments under consideration for retrenchment was $206.56 for the 2012-2013 academic year.

The average personnel cost per credit to the university for the departments not under consideration for retrenchment was $222.92 for the 2012-2013 academic year.

On October 4, 2013, Andrew P Yanan (@AndrewPYanan) tweeted at President Welsh (@PresidentWelsh) in response to her quote published in the Pocono Record about student involvement with retrenchment.

“@PresidentWelsh please explain your quote ‘95% of our students won’t notice what’s going on here.’  I find that incredibly insulting,” tweeted Yanan.

Welsh explained, “@AndrewPYanan I believe most students know of retrenchment talks at ESU, but changes in academic programs won’t impact majority of students.”

Eight of the departments under consideration for retrenchment come from ESU’s College of Arts & Sciences, which accounts for 65% of the University’s Total Credit Hours.

The other 35% is split between The College of Business Management, The College of Education, The College of Health Sciences, and other.

The non-academic department under consideration for retrenchment is the CAPS Counseling Center.  Shannon Long, an ESU junior, began a campaign to promote the essential services that the Counseling Center Provides.

“It is a vital service for ESU students to have a place where they feel safe in order to work through their own personal issues so they can succeed academically and stay at ESU,” said  Ms. Long.

In Ms. Long’s opinion, the counseling services center is not a department that ESU can afford to retrench.

“Counseling services offer treatment for all kinds of things, including drug abuse,” said Ms. Long. “In light of the recent Molly overdoses by ESU Students at the Barstool Blackout Tour, the counselors are an important resource.”

Brenda Friday, ESU’s Director of the Office University Relations, told the Pittsburg Post-Gazette on September 27, 2013, that the academic departments that are under consideration for retrenchment are “under-enrolled.”

In a meeting with students on October 1, 2013, Ken Long, ESU’s Vice President of Finance, explained that this year’s nearly $3 million budget deficit was already taken care of using “one-time dollars,” but that next year the deficit would double, and there wouldn’t be enough one-time dollars to fix that.

Ken Long assumed his role at ESU on July 1, 2013, hailing from Kutztown University.

ESU claims that the entire university is facing a 14% decline in enrollment over the past five years, and is facing retention issues with currently enrolled students.  ESU is concerned with an almost $6 million deficit for the 2014-2015 year.

Retrenchment meetings are currently occurring between the administration and the departments under consideration.  All retrenchment letters for tenured faculty must be received by October 30, 2013.

Email Victoria at:

vkrukenkam@live.esu.edu

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