As Patrick Young said, the trouble with weather forecasting is that it’s right too often for us to ignore, and wrong too often for us to rely on it. When forecasts say it will be sunny, we dress warm. Yet, every so often, a storm comes that we couldn’t predict. Saint Martin’s University seems to be experiencing a similar rainy day.
Saint Martin’s predicted that student enrollment would go up this year, budgeting accordingly. However, that increase didn’t happen, which meant that the university had to cut budgets. With all the cuts made throughout the departments at SMU, faculty is left questioning why so much had to be cut from their development fund.
“It was a tiny pot of money to begin with,” explained faculty president Kathleen McCain. The fund held $27,000 in order to help deter the cost for faculty members to attend conferences, continue education for licensing, and professional development. This year, the fund was cut by $25,000, along with the strict rule that no traveling is allowed.
“If this continues, it will hurt new faculty members. In order to get tenure, you have to engage in these events,” commented McCain. “It was just one of those things that faculty was very upset about. We want to make sure this isn’t a permanent deal.”
The final decision on where these cuts would come from was made by the cabinet and president of Saint Martin’s.
“We have to make sure that our income matches the expense budget,” interim president, David R. Spangler, Ph.D. explained. “Overall enrollment was down a percent when forecasts said it was going to be up. We had to cut into everyone’s goods and services budget five to six percent to meet the dollar amount.”
Hopes are that enrollment will go up for spring semester, but on average, it usually decreases seven percent.
“I put it in top priority for spring. If we hit enrollment, faculty comes first. We are trying to re-establish funds as much as possible. They were only about one-fiftieth of all cuts made. Everyone is trying to find ways to not spend so much,” Spangler commented.
Unfortunately, enrollment numbers aren’t assured until the first week of January. All we can do for now is pray for a little sunshine.