By Shelby Brown —
Interim President Greg Postel said U of L hasn’t created a budget yet for the 2018-19 fiscal year at the first of two open forums Feb. 22.
“There is absolutely no desire on my part, or anyone who’s working for me, to keep information from people on this campus,” Postel told the nearly-packed Floyd Theater.
Budget survey results weigh in
Postel gave an overview of the budget survey results distributed to faculty and staff in January. Of the 10,594 that received the survey, almost 1700 responded.
Two of the suggestions offered to combat declining state appropriations were increasing tuition and cutting administrative positions. Postel explained administration cutbacks with a bar graph.
He said U of L kept their tuition the same last year, despite other institutions raising theirs. The survey showed a near even split on the tuition debate with 59 percent favoring and 41 percent against raising tuition.
“I think this represents the conflict we all feel,” Postel said.
The survey reflected employees want enrollment growth in both undergraduate and graduate classes.
Postel also hopes salaries can be increased next academic year.
ULAA is part of the university
Concerns were also raised for more accountability in the athletics department by audience members. Postel said he agreed but wanted to make it clear money isn’t going one-way into athletics.
Postel said the university pays about $8 million to athletics, but athletics in turn pays $15 million in tuition for some scholarship student athletes.
Professor Avery Kolers asked for assurance that academics wouldn’t foot the bill for the NCAA fine.
“Nobody needs to worry that any kind of a penalty, in the amount of $600,000 or an amount very close to that, is going to come out of the university budget. It’s not,” Postel said.
Students defend Cultural Center
Students spoke out about Postel’s recent comments that the university’s Cultural Center should be demolished. Student Elshadai Smith-Mensah cited the growing diversity on U of L’s campus.
“Students have been talking about these initiatives since 2005 on making an intersectional diversity center,” Smith-Mensah said.
Smith-Mensah said U of L loves to brag about diversity and inclusion, but it’s often not reflected in budgets compared with other ACC schools.
Postel said U of L’s budget includes $6.7 million for diversity and community engagement efforts — including the Cultural Center.
“We’ve held that number protected and we’re doing the same thing next year. So the leaders in this area have already been told that regardless of what happens with the state budget, this is not an area where we’re going to take cuts,” Postel said.
Postel said current diversity funds aren’t enough so he approved a specific diversity fundraiser position. The position has been posted and they’re going to hire right away.
“That person’s job will be to increase this budget from $6.7 million to the sky’s the limit,” Postel said.
The next budget forum is Feb. 26 on the Health Science Campus at 11:30 a.m.
Photo by Arry Schofield / The Louisville Cardinal