Budget Forum

After a semester defined by protesting and rock-painting, ASuop hosted a Budget Forum on Monday, November 26th, in the UC Ballroom.

A budget forum was held earlier in the semester, but after widespread student protests concerning financial matters and administration, ASuop held another one in order to hear the grievances of the students.

“I think that it’s good for me and administration to hear from the students, the people who are directly affected,” ASuop President Grant Kirkpatrick said.

Vice President for Business and Finance Ken Mullen was present, along with Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Mary Pallavicini.

Specifically, the forum was centered around the topic of budget reductions and what exactly that entails.

“There are two reasons for budget reductions. One is to develop a margin for the university, and the second is to pay our faculty and staff at approximately the 50 percent of market value,” Pallavicini said.

Among other things, a primary concern when discussing budget reductions was enrollment trends.  Mullen explained that around 79 percent of the budget comes from student tuition alone, which means that finances are largely altered when there is a tuition change.

Mullen went on to explain that budget adjustments will address two specific problems, which are “the need to increase compensation,” and “reasonable operating margins.”
Mullen also addressed the large freshman class for the Fall 2018 semester, and that it “cannot be considered a base budget changer.” Instead, Fall 2018 enrollment is only counted as a “one-time variable” considering that next year’s enrollment could still be lower.

Overall, Mullen summarized that Pacific is still technically strong financially, and that the operating margin is in need of strengthening.

Some concerns that students had included fears of their department’s budgets being cut, especially when their departments are already small to begin with. Some students felt enrollment could be encouraged if more prospective students were aware of the other, smaller departments.

“At the end of the day, if you don’t have money to print flyers, how can you put them up? Is it fair to expect to faculty to be able to broadcast and advertise things as their budget is being cut more and more?” Kirkpatrick said.

“I’m not familiar with all the enrollment strategies that the university uses to recruit students. We have a Vice President of Enrollment who would love to hear these suggestions about other departments,” Pallavicni said.

Pallavicini went on to say that she would want to look into what academic programs students would want and would help increase enrollment.

Overall, the budget is still a hot button issue for Pacific students, and exactly what departments will be affected by cuts remains unclear.

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Natalia Gevara

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