Jan Rayburn walked into a meeting with Student Activities Director Tim Moore this past May with a job.
When the meeting was over, her situation had changed considerably.
Moore informed her that because of the $136,000 cut the Student Affairs division for the University of Louisville was being asked to make, Rayburn’s position with Commuter Student Services was being eliminated and so was that of her co-worker, Barbara King, the former assistant director of CSS. As a result, CSS was closing.
Rayburn said she was surprised by the decision, and also afraid for her own financial situation.
“CSS has been on the chopping block for years, but there were never any indications that the cut was going to happen this past year,” Rayburn said. “Since my salary was tied in with the CSS budget, I had to start looking for another job.”
Rayburn did find another job with the university however, working in the office of Women’s and Gender Studies. As for King, Moore said that, to his knowledge, she had decided to take an early retirement. King was unavailable for comment.
Moore also said that because of the reduction in staff the services once provided by CSS will now have to be provided by the Student Activities department. He lamented the loss of these positions and the extra workload it puts on his staff.
“We always have to be sensitive about how much people are doing,” Moore said. “It is never an easy situation when you have to eliminate positions. It is not something you would ever look forward to doing.”
But Moore is optimistic about the quality of the services Student Activities can provide to off campus students. He emphasized the renovations that have been made to the old CSS space in Davidson Hall that is now open to all students. New furniture has been added to the space, which was also repainted and refinished over the summer.
“It is pretty nice to have some place on campus where you can just stop by and relax,” Jesse Camon, a freshman mechanical engineering major, said in appreciation. “Not everyone has an apartment close to campus. Some people need to have a little mini-home on campus.”
Student Government Association President Rudy Spencer said that he understood the cut to CSS, but is concerned more with why the cuts had to be made in the first place.
“This is one of the clearest examples that I can show to students of how the budget cuts from Frankfort have affected them,” Spencer said. “Two professional people had to be cut because somebody else decided not to pay them.”
Though CSS is one of the few examples of personnel eliminations, some department heads said they have been unable to hire new staff members as a result of budget cuts.
History department chair Dr. John McLeod said his department has had to postpone the hiring of a new professor for another year. Dr. Elaine Wise, head of the Humanities department, said that although faculty and courses have not been affected, her department’s operating budget has taken a big hit.
“We have really had to tighten our belts due to a low supply and expenses budget,” Dr. Wise said via email. “We also lost a chunk of the money we use for adjunct and term faculty. We have nothing to spare and are trying to be extra frugal with supplies.”
Some in the student body have said that, despite these cuts, they still have faith that the education they receive will be quality.
“Since there is less money to go around for bettering classrooms and adding equipment, it just puts more pressure on the faculty to make up for what is lost,” music composition graduate student James Young said. “It doesn’t affect my faith in the university though; these kinds of cuts aren’t just happening here.”
Provost Shirley Willihnganz expressed similar faith in the faculty, but also said it is much harder to push the university forward when working with less money.
“No one has said to us ‘Do less,'” Willihnganz said. “The state has said ‘give back the money.'”
“When the university is having its budget cut and no new money from the state is coming, it leaves you very few dollars to move any new initiatives forward with.”