University Senate Confronts Retrenchment

Keneth Long, VP of Financing, and President Welsh speak at the Student Forum. Photo Credit / Brook Wadle
Keneth Long, VP of Financing, and President Welsh speak at the Student Forum. Photo Credit / Brook Wadle
Keneth Long, VP of Financing, and President Welsh speak at the Student Forum.
Photo Credit / Brook Wadle

SC Editor in Chief

On Monday, September 23 the East Stroudsburg University Senate meeting was held at the Keystone Room.

The agenda of the meeting consisted of the President’s report, Election of Officers, a report from APSCUF, a report from Student Senate, a budget report, and an update from Enrollment Services. The issue of retrenchment was addressed at various times throughout meeting.

During the president’s report, questions were raised on why at a meeting held on May 6 a projection was given of a $4.6 million deficit, but on July 29 it rose to a $7.6 million deficit.  According to President Welsh, in May, the university did not have the collective bargaining agreement with the union settled.

The increase in pay, the increase in benefits, and the decrease in student enrollment played a role in the difference of the two numbers.

“In the May 6 meeting there was no mention of retrenchment. Why is it that eight days later that announcement was made after we were all here in the room ready to talk about the budget?” asked, English Professor, Jeff Hotz.

“We did it as we were expected to do by contract; before that we were still in discussion,” responded President Welsh.

The ESU official budget has not yet been made public.

At this time there are seven departments up for discussion regarding retrenchment: Modern Languages, Music, Movement Activities and Lifetime Fitness, Chemistry, Physical Education / Teacher Education, Physics and Psychological Services.

Departments will be evaluated on number of major, enrollment declines, and their impact on the budget. There is no relation to student learning outcomes.

Current students enrolled in any major under discussion will continue in their program and will be able to graduate from ESU with their major.

According to APSCUF, the president identified 14 departments facing possible retrenchment and 26 that are not. That is 35% of the University.

General Education requirements are also looking to be lowered as a part of the university’s cutbacks.

Currently, the estimates for student general education classes are approximately fifty students to one professor.

Hotz raised the concern of cutbacks on general education classes and the increase in class sizes.

“If we have fewer faculty but we have relatively the same number of students, it would seem, mathematically, there would be a potential for class sizes to increase,” said Hotz.

“If a faculty member is lecturing in a class, what difference does it make if it’s to 45 or 55 students?” said President Welsh, “Every course costs us money.”

ESU APSCUF President, Nancy VanArsdale, also took part in addressing the cutbacks. “A year ago we were not in this position.

The faculty at East Stroudsburg University stand to work closely with the administration to find all ways possible to avoid retrenchment—which will do this university major damage.”

President of the ESU Senate, Justin Amann, spoke on behalf of the student body at Monday’s meeting on the budget concerns.

“Right now, we as students are seeing two entities fight hand in hand for purposes that are not relevant to students,” said Amann. “So please, make sure we include students in the conversations, and make sure when we are making decisions they are really in the best interest of our students.”

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