Budget cuts

posted in: Opinion | 0
I am a faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) at Pacific University, where I teach organic chemistry, do research with students and serve as the current department chairperson. Like my colleagues and partners on the faculty and staff and together with the students across our many colleges, I appreciate what work President Lesley 
Hallick has done for Pacific. 
However, I must take issue with the misleading cover story in the Feb. 9 issue and certain remarks attributed to Hallick. This article suggests that the undergraduate CAS is a money-losing drag on the university, kept alive through the largess of the richer professional colleges and schools, such as those of optometry and pharmacy.
In the Feb. 9 issue of The Pacific Index, Hallick was quoted saying “Each college has to stand on its own…has to come close to breaking even…and arts and sciences hasn’t been. That’s not unusual.” 
I feel compelled to respond. Here are three objections: First, to many of us in the CAS, which has been educating undergraduate students for a long, long time, this sounds very much like a pretext to divide one college against another while carrying out severe cuts that will irreparably harm the undergraduate liberal arts experience at Pacific. 
Rather than pitting colleges against one another, we should be seeking ways for the colleges to work together, sharing resources in a financially sustainable 
way while working to develop a shared vision of education to realize the mission of the university. Second, unfortunately, what is truly not unusual at Pacific has been the resistance of the current administration to share substantive budget information with faculty or the wider university community, even as it threatens to use a purported budget crisis to significantly defund our undergraduate core college. 
In the interests of transparency, cooperation and good decision-making, we invite the administration to share financial information more fully and work in 
good faith with faculty from all colleges and schools to develop future budgets. To advocate for this outcome and others, faculty from the different colleges of Pacific have recently 
formed a chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). Lastly, this article seems to suggest that a proposed raise for CAS faculty constitutes a major pressure on the budget, while failing to mention administrative salaries and bonuses that dwarf the salaries of our faculty and staff.   
In some years, Hallick has collected in excess of $600,000 a year in total compensation and after handsome raises of nearly 10 percent, we now have a substantial number of administrators earning approximately one-quarter of a million dollars per year. Publicly available federal tax filings from 2013 show that our eight most highly paid administrators earned an annual total of over $2,000,000 that year. While these administrative salaries are at or in excess of national averages, tenure-track faculty salaries in the CAS tend to start in the low $50,000 range and are only slowly being raised to the national median set several years ago; salaries for adjunct faculty and many staff are lower still. I would not dispute the president’s contention that the current situation is “not a sustainable model.” However, I would clarify that it is ‘not sustainable’ so long as the administration refuses to share budget information and decision making more openly and in the spirit of fairness, real cooperation and shared governance.  

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