Public discussion on the cuts began. President William Craft and Vice President of Finance Linda Brown met with faculty and staff to share specifics on the proposed budget and enrollment plan for the 2016-2017 school year. Craft said:
“I want to remind each of us in the room today that every 25 students at Concordia College, new or continuing, means about $450,000 in net revenue. [Any] work on enrollment at this school, where 87 percent of the revenue comes from student tuition and fees, is work on budget.”
SGA President Tanner Knutson and Vice President Rachael Schauer were made aware of the budget cuts, and the $2.7 million number in a meeting.
Dean Eric Eliason presented a report at the faculty senate meeting regarding the 2016-2017 budget plan. Eliason told attendees that there were 2.7 million dollars in decisions to be made. Enrollment figures from the past five years were presented and projections for the next five years were given.
The Board of Regents met to discuss academic program and position cuts. The board placed focus on program, price and positioning. Craft said that the board fully supports the early retirement incentive being offered to faculty.
Faculty Senate met where Craft presented the information report that had been addressed at the Board of Regents.
As a result of the declining number of degree-seeking students across the state of Minnesota, the administration has had to adjust its budget plan. From 2004 to 2014 there was a 24 percent drop in degree-seeking students in Minnesota, Craft said in an interview. According to Concordia admissions around 67 to 70 percent of Concordia’s students come from Minnesota.
The Forum released their first article on the budget cuts. It alluded to upcoming major cuts, and was much of the public’s first notice of the news. The article was written based on an interview with Craft, Stumo and Brown.
In a campus-wide email, Knutson and Schauer said: “Know that SGA was just as surprised as other students and faculty.”
Later, in an interview, Schauer clarified the core message of the campus-wide email.
“We weren’t surprised by the information, but we were surprised by the way it was shared and communicated to campus,” Schauer said.
Eliason sent out a campus-wide email detailing the cuts of nine majors and one concentration.
Knutson and Schauer followed up Eliason’s email and referred students to an online Q&A page. In an interview Knutson described his push for communication between administration and SGA.
“Student government hasn’t really filled this role. You know of being the primary means of communication for the big issues,” Knutson said. “But I feel like going forward we are working hard to make this more of what we do.”
The Star Tribune wrote an article detailing a “firestorm” that has ensued upon the foreign language cuts, specifically focusing on Concordia College.
Further details and decisions about staffing cuts will be released.
“There’s a formal process to that that happens within faculty governance structures and that very important faculty handbook,” Stumo said.
“The dean will make his recommendations about positions,” Craft said. “The Promotion Tenure and Evaluation committee will review this to ensure that the handbook has been followed.”
The revisions of the 2016 fall schedule will take place.
Revisions of the fall schedule will be loaded into Banner for registration and advising.
Craft said the entirety of the budget plan will be presented at the Board of Regents meeting in May, stating:
“It’s not like we had a sort of ‘oops’ moment. … We knew about this and we thought about what the right size should be here,” Craft said. “We have been talking for two or three years now about what is the size that which we believe our college and students can flourish. We think that size is going to be in that 2100 to 2300 range, not 2500. Who’s to say what it will be 10 years from now.”
Karen Besonen contributed to this article.
Kallie Eberling is a sports editor with the Concordian. She edits weekly articles from various sports reporters. She also works as a contributing reporter.