Friday, December 5, 2008

100 Years to a Balanced Budget

Similar to other industries, the current economic crisis is hitting campus hard.

A large gap between revenue and expenses means that our faculty is going to have to consider ways to (i) increase revenue (which gives the Marxists a rash), (ii) increase workload, (which gives overworked and already time-poor faculty a rash), or (iii) reduce expenses, which can mean lost jobs given that over 85% of the budget is salaries. In other words, our faculty needs to look for "efficiencies".

At first I believed that our faculty could use our vision for academic programs, research and collegial governance as a lens through which to make these hard decisions about finance. But, no, wait!! One of our fearless leaders found another option!! Let's cut back on office supplies!!!

Yesterday, it was discouraging, if not downright insulting, to learn that one of our leaders has decided that knee-jerk reaction is the way to go rather than transparency and communication. After a budget meeting, faculty were confronted by a locked paper cupboard and demeaning signage about negotiating the key from support staff. That's right -- in our faculty, not only is there "no free lunch", there is no "free paper" for faculty member's office printers. Ho ho ho. The timing and optics on this are just as bad as the opposition leader filming his address to the nation using a cell phone.

"No free paper" - just in time for end of semester assessments and paperwork.
"No free paper" - means, instead of catching up on workload over the weekend, forget it because the photocopier is empty and no support staff are around

Now, I am no accountant, but a quick calculation of this "No free paper" policy, indicates that it will only take us about 100 years to make up this year's budget shortfall. That's right!! Multiply the cost of paper at $25 / case by 12 (1 case per month) by each of 90 faculty members, means we will save 3.6 million and completely reshape this faculty in the next century.

Whew!! Glad that big leadership issue is taken care of....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said, Professor! Discouraging and insulting are the rights words. I'm wondering what's next!? Do we have to rent our office space next? We may antitipcate to see a "For Lease" sign for the Education Block in the new year. -Shibao