Sat. Aug 17th, 2019

Faculty to consider resisting university budget cuts

The discussion was led and directed by Avery Kolers.Photo by Rachel Knue.

By Kyeland Jackson —

University faculty will consider a resolution challenging Interim President Greg Postel’s budget cut resolutions.

U of L American Association of University Professors President Avery Kolers and Vice President Susan Jarosi wrote the resolution, questioning Postel’s transparency with the budgeting process.

“Dr. Postel made reference to transparency but delivered what looked like a pretty well-developed plan prior to any consultation or participation from faculty, staff or students,” Kolers said. “These two things – the call for openness/transparency and the dropping of a highly developed plan to deal with the budget situation – seem to be at cross purposes.”

Kolers’ resolution asks U of L to provide five years of audited financial statements, involve university constituents in the budgeting process and hold a forum to discuss the university’s financial future.

The resolution also rejects faculty pay and hiring freezes and asks faculty to reject plans axing academic programs.

“Degree programs, faculty lines, and faculty salaries should not be sacrificed due to the endowment’s underperformance or the Ramsey-era mismanagement,” Kolers said.

Postel announced U of L must account for $48 million to balance 2018’s budget during the Feb. 16 board of trustees meeting.

The university plans to keep faculty and staff salaries flat, implement a hiring frost, further reduce administrative pay and expenses and hold deferred renovations and maintenance requests. Opposed to a hiring freeze, which bars filling job vacancies, a hiring frost sets a benchmark for how many positions can be filled. Setting U of L’s benchmark at 25 percent, Postel estimated at least 10 percent of empty positions would not be filled.

Postel said the university will not raise tuition, upholding a promise by the former board of trustees abolished.

“I think it’s going to be important for every faculty member and staff member at the University of Louisville to understand that this is a time when we need people to contribute and share their talents to the greatest extent possible, and for some people it’ll mean a little bit of a stretch,” Postel said. “I’m taking on two jobs right now, so I’m a good example of someone who’s willing to do more to get us past this period and see our way to a day when resources are more plentiful.”

Postel is also Interim Executive Vice President of Health Affairs. Deans and executives close to Postel’s health affairs position earned bigger roles, relieving Postel of some duties. The health affairs position earns Postel $950,0000 annually, including a $1,000 monthly gas allowance and $10,000 in annual special funds to “promote the goals of the EVPHA and to enhance academic and clinical excellence.”

Though he was entitled $100,000 in compensation for the interim president role, Postel is not accepting compensation. In lieu of compensation, Postel could earn a $100,000 bonus annually based on his performance by his tenure’s end. His contract, signed Feb. 16, estimates Postel could be interim president up to 18 months.

The faculty assembly will discuss Koler’s resolution Feb. 24.

File Photo / The Louisville Cardinal

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