25 August 2011

Letter to President Floyd and Provost Bayly from the President of the WSU Branch of the AAUP

WSU-AAUP                                                    http://www.wsu.edu/~wsu-aaup/

August 25, 2011

Dr. Elson Floyd, President
PO Box 641048
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164-1048

Dr. Warwick Bayly, Provost and Executive Vice President
PO Box 641046
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164-1046

Dear President Floyd and Provost Bayly:

The WSU Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (WSU-AAUP) is gravely concerned that the proposed budget cuts announced on July 20, 2011, call for more cuts to the academic mission of the university.  Over the last decade, there has been a disturbing shift in funding from the core academic mission to administrative and support entities; this clear trend was documented in WSU Professor Greg Hooks’ report, ‘Meeting Challenges, Maintaining Priorities’, a report which examines the university's expenditures from 2004-2010 as detailed in its Financial Statements1.

We believe that WSU must reverse this trend and begin increasing academic funding immediately.  Expenditures on the university’s core academic mission slipped from 49% in 2004 to 47% in 2010.  Although revenues from the state, tuition, and fees grew 15.4% in the same period, expenditures on instruction increased only 11.4%2. What is the percentage of expenditures going to the core academic mission in the 2012-2014 budget plan?  WSU-AAUP fully supports Hooks’ recommendation that a minimum of 50% of revenues from the state, tuition, and fees go to instruction. This move would begin to reverse the erosion of spending on instruction. 

It is imperative that the university community has access to full and understandable accounting data to allow faculty and other interested individuals to determine the income and expenditures allocations in proposed and accepted budgets.  For instance, how exactly will the merger of the College of Sciences and College of Liberal Arts result in substantial financial savings?  

Prior to the university budget forum on Friday, 8/26/11, WSU-AAUP calls for WSU to make public the details of the proposed 2012 budget cut, including projected financial accounting and actions for all asserted savings in the plan. 

Equally important, calculations, categories, allocations, revenue and expenditures on which the all WSU financial statements are based must be made publicly available as soon as possible.

We wecome your mention of ‘shared governance’ in WSU budget announcements and forums. However, lack of public availability of comprehensive budget information online or at the fora thwarts real exercise of shared governance.  Making public the financial information described here to the university community and for Faculty Senate deliberations will provide an underpinning for meaningful shared governance.


Judy L. Meuth
President, WSU-AAUP

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