Faculty Senate discussed solutions to the budget shortfall, merit pay increases and the “Love Your Campus Mini-Grants,” at the first meeting of the semester on Feb. 4.

“Last week, the president held a meeting with herself, the vice presidents and shared governance representatives,” said David Cordle, provost. “It was to consider what strategies we could use to address the budget shortfall we face this year. The first (agreement) was that we would not extend our allocation we have this year for equipment. That allocation is a sizeable amount of money at $690,000. We have a similar amount of money available to us most years to refresh the technology and our furnishings in our academic spaces.”

Cordle also said they will take a look at vacant positions and time spent away from teaching as ways to cut back on salary. The budget was assessed to be short between $500,000 and $1.3 million.

“It appears we will be able to capture an additional $650,000 in salary savings,” Cordle said. “We’ve got more than $1.3 million we could use to close the gap, and there’s a decent chance that will be enough to close it. We don’t know for sure until the twentieth day of classes and that will be next Monday, but that should fully close the gap or at least come close.”

Morgan Ford Willingham, assistant professor of art, asked if Emporia State was planning to ask the Kansas Board of Regents for an increase in tuition like they did last year. Cordle said they were too far away from knowing what they would request.

“It’s important to remember that, as with all our funding, the only money we can move around are our internal allocations,” said George Duler, faculty affairs committee chair and professor of accounting. “We can’t relocate any state funding away from their intended programs.”

As a way to create additional funding opportunities for registered student organizations, Paul Frost, Associated Student Government president and senior management major, updated the senate on the “Love Your Campus Mini-Grants.”

“RSOs can apply for grant funding for an event that promotes diversity, equity and inclusion on campus,” Frost said. “Those applications just closed, and we will be meeting soon to begin rewarding those…Victoria and I worked together to come up with a program in accordance with Goal five (Become a model for diversity, equity, and inclusion) of the university.”

Frost said they got the idea from talking with Teresa Taylor Williams, director of diversity student programs.

“I think the funding can go a long way to help people,” Frost said. “Just knowing what proper channels there are and making sure we get the word out there about the funding available to students should help a lot.”

In wake of the university’s first merit pay increase in 10 years, the senate discussed at length how to go about it in the future.

“How each area is rated is up to the department,” Duler said. “The board of regents requires that all increases be based on merit. The department has to have a policy and have some means, some sort of qualitative measurement that is rated based on the agreement of the members of that department.”

After many discussions, the senate voted to approve the merit pay bill, a modification of unclassified salary adjustments, that they’ve been discussing since December. They also conducted the second reading of a bill to move the management of technology security to the Information Security Advisory committee.

The faculty senate meets at 3:30 p.m. the first and third Tuesday of every month in the Skyline Room of the Memorial Union.

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