President Elson Floyd responded on 31 August to Judy Meuth's 25 August letter. With his permission, we are posting his response here:
I appreciate your feedback regarding the proposed budget plan.
Let me provide some historical information that may prove useful. Over the last 10 years, WSU has consistently spent about 63% of state and operating tuition revenue in support of our core research, instruction and public service mission. We have used the remaining 37% to provide critical academic support. Academic support services include course development, course scheduling, advising, accreditation/certification, learning assessment, research compliance, student recruitment, admission, registration, information technology, payroll, campus maintenance and libraries – just to name a few.
With this historical context, one can easily see the tremendous protection the proposed FY2012 budget plan provides for the academic areas.
The proposed $3.2M reduction in the Academic Affairs budget represents about 16% of the required $20M budget reduction. Thus, while WSU invests 63% of our state and tuition budget directly in our core research, instruction and public support mission, it will carry only 16% of the total reduction. Critical support areas and branch campuses will shoulder the remaining 84% of the $20M reduction. This disproportionate reduction for academic support services is intentional. Yet we will soon hit a breaking point where we can no longer afford to erode these critical services.
The Academic Affairs proposed plan deliberately meets most of the reduction through consolidations and streamlining of academic administration. We simply must do all we can to protect our strong academic programs and our faculty who carry out our research, instruction and public service mission.
During times of economic scarcity and uncertainty such as these, it is human nature to direct frustrations and worry inward, struggling amongst ourselves over a seemingly ever-declining state funding base. Yet to do so threatens the fabric that is WSU. For it is the research, instruction and public service performed by our faculty and the intricately related support services provided by staff that form the inseparable tapestry that has and will continue to make WSU world class. In times such as these WSU is best served when we unite our efforts to expand our available resources, become more efficient, effective and focused in all that we do.
Elson S. Floyd, Ph.D.
Washington State University