"Doomsday" for Maryland Budget

On Wednesday, April 18, President Urgo sent out an all-student email concerning the state budget and how it will affect the recent push for providing the living wage to the staff on campus. In the email Urgo discussed the affect of the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (BRFA) on the College’s budget. The state legislature failed to pass BRFA and if it is not passed by July 1, the state will revert to what is referred to as the “Doomsday Budget.”

“The potential impact to St. Mary’s College, while not precisely defined, would include a permanent budget cut of approximately $1.8 million,” said Urgo in the email. “Aside from eliminating the proposed January 2013 cost-of-living salary increases, we would also face a range of potential actions including increased employee health care insurance cost, layoffs, financial aid reductions, and further increases in tuition.”

President Urgo concluded the email by encouraging students to work with the College to persuade Governor Martin O’Malley (Democrat) and the legislators to hold a special session to ensure that the state is not forced into the default budget plan. “We welcome you to partner with us in pushing for reconciliation and the passage of a budget for fiscal year 2013. Please reach out to your legislative delegate and senator to let them know how important passage of the state’s operating budget and BRFA are to our campus community and the residents of Maryland.”

The “Doomsday Budget,” according to The Washington Post, results in “more than $200 million in cuts to schools; reduced aid to state universities and community colleges; and the elimination of funds for police, libraries and state employees, who’d lose their first pay increase in several years.”

Vice President for Business and Finance Tom Botzman said, concerning the Doomsday Budget, “Right now, if we magically wound the clock forward to July 1, that’s the budget that would come into play. That budget would prohibit any increases for state employees. It would also reduce funding for higher education by 10 percent,” which is the reason why the college is taking the $1.8 million hit.

If the legislatures choose to resolve the budget, they would need to hold one or two special sessions to pass two bills, a revenue bill and BRFA. BRFA will decide how the state will spend its budget while the revenue bill will raise taxes to pay for the budget.

“It’s how much they’re going to spend, how much they’re going to raise in revenue, and how they’re going to spend it,” said Botzman. “It’s quite likely that the governor will call a special session of the Maryland Legislature…in which they will address those budget bills…. Once they do that, the College will now have what its allocation is from the state.”

The budget that the college board will vote on at its meeting on the day before graduation, assuming that the state budget will come through, will provide funds for salary increases for all employees. However, despite having the funds, they would not be able to enact these changes because there is still a state-wide freeze on spending in place. “The question is: what are we going to do? We are going to proceed with a budget that provides an allocation for salary increases and we will then use that allocation when the state removes the freeze,” said Botzman.

The freeze has been in place for over three years, but Botzman and the College remain “hopeful and confident in the governor and our legislatures to move forward so that we can provide salary increases to all employees. But when? As soon as possible – that’s when we’d like to do it and we’re going to do it.”

The College is not actively planning for a scenario in which the “doomsday budget” is enacted because they “really feel confident that [the state] will find a resolution, but we are state agents and we have to wait until things get resolved.”

The budget that is currently being planned for the coming fiscal year will provide funds for increasing the internet speed between three and five times over the summer, two additional faculty lines, more money to hire faculty, increased rates for heating oil and sewage, more employee benefits, and an upgrade to Blackboard.

“We have to wait, we have to be patient,” said Botzman. “I know a lot of students, staff, and faculty are concerned about others in our campus community and we have done the best we can to relay those messages and we are grateful to those who are helping to encourage our legislatures to solve this because once they do, then we have a  little bit better certainty and we’re not making plans for what-ifs, we’re making plans for what will be.”

Tuition to Rise Three Percent

In a meeting on Dec. 5, the Board of Trustees, headed by Chairman James Muldoon, voted to increase tuition rates for 2009-2010. (Photo by Dave Chase)
In a meeting on Dec. 5, the Board of Trustees, headed by Chairman James Muldoon, voted to increase tuition rates for 2009-2010. (Photo by Dave Chase)

The Board of Trustees unanimously voted to raise tuition for the 2010-2011 academic year by $300 at their Saturday, Dec. 5 meeting.

The tuition hike represents a three-percent increase for in-state students and slightly more than a two-percent increase for out-of-state students. The Board also voted to increase fees, room and board by three percent for all students.

The increases come as the Board and school administration try to balance the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The current global recession has affected the school’s fundraising ability as Gail Harmon, Trustee, reported to the Board, “This is a tough time for development.”

Harmon added, “[The school] has lost [its] two top fundraisers, the College president and vice president of development” but feels confident that the development staff can reach its goal of $3 million for the upcoming fiscal year.

In terms of costs, the school’s greatest increases over the last year have been in the cost of health care and energy, according to Tom Botzman, Vice President of Business and Finance. Although, he said, “prices in general have not risen much in the last year, which helps with our budget considerations.”

Fortunately, the College was spared in the latest round of state budget cuts, approved by the Governor on Wednesday, Nov. 18. The College’s funding from the state comes in the form of a block grant. “It’s [an unofficial] agreement between the college, the legislature and the governor that [the College] won’t ask for increases in good times and in bad times [the College] won’t get cut,” according to Michael Cain, chair of the political science department and director of the Center for Democracy Studies.

“It’s been a really good strategy for [the College] to maintain a steady income from the state,” said Cain and, “if [the College] does get cut I am not anticipating that [the College] will get really large cuts.”

The grant block that the College receives each year is indexed to inflation and this year the school gained an additional $153,000 to compensate for inflation, according to trustee Peg Duchesne ‘97. She added that, “overall the College has been treated very favorable as the state addresses revenue falls.”

During the board meeting, Steny Hoyer, trustee and U.S. House Majority Leader, noted that the school’s financial outlook was greatly helped by the Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed earlier this year by Congress but that the funding will likely not be available next year as Congress will focus on, “job creation and financial responsibility.”

According to Botzman, federal funding for next year “is not yet an immediate concern,” and that he will wait until “the quarterly estimate scheduled to come out in December” before worrying about federal funding. “The College has built a solid budget for next year and that board is very careful about how [it] spends money…. [The Board] is trying to keep tuition increases as low as possible.” The three percent increase is lower than the national average.

Athletics Dept. Optimistic Despite Rising Costs, Increased Need for Fundraising

Due to changes in funding and cost increases for programs and equipment, the Athletics Department has made several changes to its operations, including varsity team’s greater reliance on fundraising, staff cuts, and playoff restructuring.
Director of Athletics and Recreation Scott Devine said that operational changes in athletics departments because of monetary concerns has been going on nationwide.

Programs have been dropped, the number of and frequency of athletic contests has decreased, and staff members have been cut.

Devine also said that the Athletic and Recreations Center (ARC) has been affected mainly because of unplanned equipment repairs.

He said that repairs for one treadmill or elliptical can cost anywhere from $6,000-$8,000.

Last spring, the ARC also had several staff cuts and a reduction in operation hours.

However, the athletics department is no longer running a deficit and will be “better able to handle any unplanned repairs,” said Tom Fisher, ARC Director

Fiscal Associate Cindy Dale said the ARC is doing okay and can maintain the level at which it is running. “However,” she said, “this year has a back to basics attitude.”

Still, “we want the ARC to continue to function at a high level” because it is important for recruiting, community events, and health and wellness of students, faculty, and staff,” she said.

Fiscal changes have also affected the varsity sports teams. Although the teams have always used fundraising to support their programs, the “demand to do that has increased…and the cost of business has gone up,” said Devine.

The need for more fundraising, usually in the form of camps, clinics, and concessions, comes from rising costs for game officials, travel costs, meals, training, practice gear, and uniforms.

The school also used to have an athletics contingency fund to help cover these expenses, but it does not exist any more.
Despite rising costs, Devine said, the Athletics Department has “tried to keep the focus on not impacting the quality of the experience for students.”

He also said that it is important to realize that the “increased requirement to fundraise to supplement the budget will continue to be there and that…the biggest concern will continue to be unplanned repairs.”

Devine concluded by saying, “We will continue to run programs with student experience front and center.”

College Operating Budget Turns to ‘Razor-thin’ Surplus

In light of the recent economic downturn, the College has initiated a defensive budget strategy for fiscal year 2010 (FY10) and the future. Although it has not drastically changed from previous years, the new plan seeks to proactively increase the College’s revenue, and then spend that money as wisely as possible.

According to Chris True, the Assistant Vice President of Finance, in 2009 the College’s “operating fund turned in a razor thin surplus of approximately $79,000 on a cash basis. This was possible through the combined efforts of faculty and staff to minimize expenditures, strong enrollments which resulted in some excess revenue attainment in certain areas, and through the efforts of the Vice Presidents to reduce expenditure budgets in the latter half of the year.” While this is a success for the College, True explains that in FY10, the goal must be to “make up for reduced revenues due to instability in the financial markets.” One way the College intends to accomplish this is by incorporating $100,000 for contingency in addition to the usual $300,000 fund. Also, True notes that keeping “revenue assumptions conservative” is a good way to follow through on a defensive budget.

For students, it is important that the College maintain its financial aid and scholarship options. The major change we see this year is that “Foundation funded scholarships, which typically total approximately $700,000 per year were funded by the College.” Chris True also noted “this funding substitution is likely to be necessary for the next couple of years.” Because of this the Office of Financial Aid and the Business Offices have “implemented many online payment options” for students and parents, ultimately allowing for fewer staff in these areas. In terms of emergency funding, the Foundation has raised a total of $97,000, $35,500 of which were made available this fall. Students facing “unexpected financial difficulties” received anywhere from $100- $4000 in emergency finance aid grants.

The more defensive budget affects faculty as well. The College decided to implement “reduced service days rather than furloughs.” According to the Office of Finance, the impact for employees was “just over $204,000.” This means that, on a sliding scale, employees will take anywhere from 1-10 reduced service days between Christmas and New Year’s to avoid conflicts with classes. For example, salaries ranging from $50,000 to $99,000 salaries must take three days, and anything above $200,000 involves a 10-day salary reduction.

Hiring of staff for new and old positions is also a concern of the college in times of financial strain. Dr. Thomas Botzman, Vice President for Business and Finance reports, “Some positions, such as openings in public safety, will be filled immediately.  There may be few others that we fill based on review. However, given the tight budget moving forward these will be rare exceptions.”

Looking to the future, the Finance, Investment, and Audit Committee and the Board of Trustees established a Working Group on Revenue Planning and Forecasts. Charles Jackson, the Associate Vice President of Planning and Facilities explains that the goal of the working group is to establish a “holistic look at college finances.” College revenue sources range from state block grants and tuition to auxiliary services (housing, food, bookstore) and the endowment. In two phases, the working group will seek to take a closer look at the College’s short term and long term finances and inform the Trustee’s decisions. In what Jackson calls a “harder economic climate to raise money,” the Working Group has the potential to help the College’s financial system in a very positive way.

College Freezes Some Endowments, Will Continue to Cover Scholarships

Because of the current economic climate, St. Mary’s will no longer be receiving up to $875,000 of endowment support. However, the college’s administration has taken precautions to make sure that this downturn does not affect the valuable scholarships endowments provide.

Endowments are primarily handled by the St. Mary’s College foundation, a private organization  founded in 1972 to receive gifts for the college. According to Torre Meringolo, the organization’s current director, endowments are permanently restricted, meaning that the original donor money that makes up an endowment cannot directly be spent on anything for the College. Instead, endowment money is either put into bonds and money market accounts (which are low risk, low return) or handed over to investment groups, which in turn invest it in various stocks in the hopes of making a profit. A part of this profit, usually around five percent of the endowment’s total value, is then spent on the endowment’s intended purpose, most frequently a scholarship. Tom Botzman, Vice President of Business and Finance, said many larger donors decide to set up endowments because in theory, they create a sustainable source of income which will eventually exceed the original gift.

Problems arise, however, in an economic climate such as this one where it becomes more difficult to make a profit in the stock market. According to Meringolo, losses in the stock market have amounted to a loss of around 11 percent of the total endowment fund through December 2008, added onto the around five percent loss on the endowment from the year before. This has caused certain endowments to “go underwater,” which means that their current value has fallen down to the endowment’s original value. To counteract this, the foundation has had to freeze spending on these endowments, meaning that any profit on them cannot be spent on the college until the total value increases. Meringolo said this means around $875,000 usually provided to scholarships and academic funding by endowments will no longer be available.

This does not mean, however, that these scholarships will no longer be offered. According to Botzman, the college administration has decided to continue to support the over $5 million in scholarships given by the college every year by tightening the operating budget, and will hold afloat many of the other endowment perks such as endowed chairs. Botzman said, “Next year, it will look to the students that receive aid from the scholarships, both merit- and need-based scholarships, the same as it did this year or last year”

Meringolo agreed, adding, “We think we have averted any one or any program being hurt badly by this downturn.”

Botzman cited multiple budget changes, such as an increase in the number of open positions, cut backs on the college’s energy use (including shutting off some buildings during breaks), and cuts to the Athletic and Recreation Center (ARC). Botzman also cited the changes being implemented by faculty and students, such as hosting fewer catered events and helping fill the voids caused by leaving positions open.

Regardless of the fact that finances are almost universally bad in the current economic climate, the College continues to see support from many sides. For one, Botzman said that the state of Maryland “has still continued to be a very strong supporter of higher education.” He added, “We’re still getting that continued support both for our day-to-day operations and for the facilities we need to carry on our academic programs.”

According to Director of Alumni Giving Chris Sushinsky, alumni giving also remains strong. He added that although “everyone’s a little more cautious with the state of the economy,” the number of alumni gifts has even increased over the past few years, even if the size of those gifts has decreased. Students have also supported the College through the Student Government Association (SGA)’s donation of $15,000 from the operating budget, and $20,000 of the SGA carry-over account.

Although workable in the long term, both Meringolo and Botzman stressed that this is not a long term solution, and steps are also been taken to mitigate the loss of endowment money. According to Meringolo, there has been a general shift in the endowment fund from stocks to less risky bonds, which are far less affected by stock market shifts. Meringolo also said that, in many ways, the College was fairly conservative with its investment choices even before the economic downturn, which has allowed its endowment to do generally better than many others. “In this market, it is very difficult to say that your investment goal is going to be to make money in the stock market. You are very very lucky if you can preserve your capital.” He added, “We’re very defensive right now.”

Referendum Sends a Message

On behalf of The Point News, I would like to congratulate the students of St. Mary’s for voting in favor of the Student Government Association’s referendum.

Not only did we allow the SGA to give much-needed aid to students and to the academic departments, but also we once again proved our dedication to maintaining – and enhancing – the integrity of the academic program here at St. Mary’s.

And, hopefully, our voices will be resoundingly heard on this issue. The referendum’s result was overwhelming; 561 students voted in favor, with only 64 opposed. I believe that every ‘yes’ vote sent a clear message that we will not allow our education to be compromised.

As students, we will carry the ultimate burden if academic budget cuts continue. It is refreshing and rewarding to attend an institution where we all act with purpose to address such a central issue. Obviously, special consideration must once again be given to the SGA for leading the way.

Now, the pressure is on the Board of Trustees and the alumni of the College. They have been challenged to match the SGA’s contribution.

If they do, an astounding 60,000 dollars will be donated to the Emergency Assistance Fund and 45,000 will be given to the academic departments. Hopefully, both will heed our collective voice and recognize the need for these funds. I urge the Board and our alumni to consider how they would react if they were attending St. Mary’s during such an extensive budget crunch.

As the recession drags on and the College’s budget continues to tighten, we, the students of St. Mary’s, must continue to stand behind our academic departments. We may not have seen the worst yet.

Academic Budgets Cut

Students, faculty and staff gather to consider different budget options at the budget forum. (Rowan Copley)
Students, faculty and staff gather to consider different budget options at the budget forum. (Rowan Copley)

The College’s academic departments saw 15 percent of their yearly discretionary budget slashed earlier this spring, according to Provost Larry Vote and numerous department chairs.

Maryland Higher Education Student Advisory Council Representative Lauren Payne said the budget cuts were “unfortunate given that we are an Honors College and academics should be our first priority.” But, she added, “I know that St. Mary’s is not the only institution of higher education that is feeling the impact of these economic times”

Vice President for Business and Finance Tom Botzman said the cuts were necessitated by a budget shortfall of approximately 2.3 million dollars. Shrinking interest earnings and endowment funds, coupled with growing energy, food, travel, benefits and minimum wage costs caused the deficit. Also, the State of Maryland rescinded 125,000 dollars of funds from St. Mary’s, with an additional 232,000 dollars of cuts pending approval by the Board of Public Works.

The 2.3 million dollar discrepancy was partially offset by leaving vacant staff positions open and filling the College to capacity, but Botzman said, “We still needed about 750,000 dollars to close this fiscal year’s budget.” This burden was proportionally spread between each Vice President’s office and the Dean of Students, according to Botzman.

The Office of the Provost, Vote said, “had a target number to meet and 15 percent of each unit’s operating budget potentially allowed us to meet the target with the least amount of impact and most equity across the campus.”

Many academic departments were able to absorb the budget cuts without suffering extensive obstruction to their day-to-day operations.

“I don’t think it really affected us that much. My big concern is really on the teaching side. Since that budget was already allotted, it only had a small effect on us,” Michael Cain, the Political Science Department Chair, said.

Charles Adler, Chair of the Physics Department, added, “We were able to give the requested amount back without too much change in the department’s operation.”

English Department Chair Ruth Feingold said that the cuts would have “little to no” impact on English students. But, she added that, “Morale might be lower across the board.”

Still, the Biology Department – whose budget hovers above 100,000 dollars – “didn’t have as much money left in the kitty as we needed to pay back,” according to Department Chair Rachel Myerowitz.
“I was really scared, I thought I might jump out of a window because I didn’t know how we could give the money back,” she added.

Myerowitz credited Vote for being “flexible.” The department eventually was able to return 5,000 dollars after being asked for 16,000.

Biology students will see the department ordering fewer supplies, sharing reagents and traveling less this spring. “We won’t replace broken glassware. There’s a piece of equipment that is down, so we’ll try to catch the moment where it’s functional instead of replacing the software,” Myerowitz said.

Other departments are responding similarly; many are delaying new technology purchases, prioritizing the travel plans of professors and inviting fewer speakers to campus. Dave Kung, Chair of the Mathematics and Computer Science Departments, said he had to “postpone plans to build a network for Computer Science students.”

Overall, Vote said, “We have tried to minimize the effect on students. People will be asked to be more observant of waste and use of equipment. Some replacement purchases will be postponed, some materials may be in shorter supply, social events will be less expensive.”

While the College has attempted to shield students from feeling the effects of the budget rescission by cutting from various pools of funds, there are consequences, according to History Department Chair Tom Barrett. He noted the benefits of on-campus speakers. Also, Barrett said, “It would have been nice to be able to use some of that money to hire students to help us with research. That’s a direct value for students, in many different ways.”

The Chairs of both Mathematics and Political Science also anticipated possible consequences for their student-workers. Kung asked his department’s teaching assistants if they would be willing to work for credit instead of an hourly wage. Additionally, Cain said that Political Science students might not be able to conduct paid research as late into the semester as in previous years.

Many Department Chairs noted their relative unease over fiscal year 2010, which begins on July 1, 2009. “We’re very concerned about FY2010. We don’t know what’s going to happen there,” Barrett said.
While no academic budget cuts have been planned for the next fiscal year, Vote said, “The [economic] environment is unstable.  We will need to be ready for further action should it be called for.”

To address the College’s budget issues, Kung hosted an all-campus forum that was attended by about 50 students, faculty members and staff last Friday.

“I think there is a real benefit in getting the people on the ground – the students, the staff, the housekeepers – involved in finding solutions to budget cuts. They’re the people who see how the money is spent and might generate great ideas. Having this sort of forum generates a shared sense of sacrifice,” he said.

Senior Stephanie Hartwick attended the forum. She said, “Everyone needs to realize that every light they leave on, every load of clothes they dry, every paper towel they use drains money away from the livelihoods of the teachers and the staff we depend on.”

SGA Urges Campus to Vote on All-Student Referendum

You might have heard a lot recently about the SGA All Student Referendum that is going on from Sunday February 22 through Wednesday February 25th. Wondering what it’s all about? Well here is a bit more information for you.

This referendum was created in response to a significant amount of concerns raised to a number of SGA representatives regarding the current financial crisis. Specifically, we were hearing two things: 1. Concerns about student’s ability to pay for things ranging from tuition payments to rent payments 2. Concerns about the recent budget cuts for the academic departments.

In a show of solidarity with the rest of the campus community the SGA decided to cut our own budget by $15,000 and donate this back to the college for the use of the academic departments. This money will not affect club or programming funding at all. The areas where we have decided to cut are as follows:

-Copier and Rental Supplies:    $600.00
-Executive Board Constituent Outreach: $1,100.00
-Leadership Conference (Executive Board):  $5,500.00
-Senator Constituent Outreach:   $1,800.00
-Helium Rental: $250.00
-Office Supplies: $2,200.00
-Publicity Committee: $1,050.00
-Capital Resources Committee: $2,000.00
-Technology Committee (Club Room Tech): $500.00

Although these funds are traditionally unspent, any money that might be needed to cover these costs may still be obtained by petitioning the SGA Senate through a bill.

In addition to this budget cut, the SGA would also like to donate $20,000, out of our (approximately) $150,000 carry-over account, to the College for the Emergency Assistance Fund. This fund was created to give monetary assistance to students who have “a sudden, drastic change in their financial situation.”

Last Tuesday, the SGA voted unanimously to support these donations. In addition, we voted to approve putting this decision in the hands of the entire student body. With this, we hope that we can make a unified and collective decision on how we, the student body, will approach the rough financial times ahead.

Finally, if the referendum is passed, the SGA will then issue a challenge to the alumni and donors of the College to match our donation. Before we can do any of this however we must vote. The referendum will not be considered valid until 30% of the student body votes on this referendum. Whether you vote in favor of or opposed to the referendum please please vote on the issue!! Anyone can vote on Blackboard any time of day! If you have any questions about the voting process, email Parliamentarian Adam Matthai at almatthai@smcm.edu.

Best of luck with your classes!

By Sunny Schnitzer, SGA President

From the Chief’s Desk: Vote…and Vote Yes

While conducting interviews for “Academic Budgets Cut,” I was frequently stunned by the amount of discretionary funds that each academic department receives every fiscal year. The amounts, which often hovered around 35,000 dollars, were absolutely dwarfed by the Student Government Association’s budget of about 350,000 dollars per year. Even The Point News’ yearly allocation of 24,375 dollars comes close to the operating budgets of some disciplines.

Now, this is not to say that the SGA and TPN are not worthwhile investments. I believe that just the opposite is true. But, hopefully, these numbers illustrate that, after enduring a 15 percent cut, some of the academic departments’ budgets are less than healthy; different disciplines have seen their travel plans scaled down, their new purchases delayed and they will invite fewer speakers to visit campus this semester.

Thankfully, though, we as students have an SGA that recognizes their relative wealth. And, further, we are fortunate that our SGA is committed to helping the academic departments – and their fellow students. They have pledged to cut their own budget by 15,000 dollars this year to aid the departments. Also, 20,00 dollars from the SGA’s Special Carryover Fund will be donated to the Emergency Assistance Fund, which provides scholarships to at-need students.

Though the SGA has taken the steps to prepare for these donations, they cannot act until the student body passes a referendum. On this referendum, which will be available on Blackboard until Wednesday, I strongly the College’s students to vote. And, moreover, I urge you to vote in favor of it.

I cannot give enough credit to President Sunny Schnitzer, Treasurer Jesse Lee, the rest of the SGA’s Executive Board and the Senators for not only writing and voting in favor of this bill, but also for allowing the students to ultimately decide.

The SGA has proven its commitment to the College’s academic program, now it is up to the students. We must vote in favor of this bill; the funds will not only greatly aid the academic departments and students, but by passing this referendum we can show our solidarity with them. The results of this vote will prove where we stand as a college. If our priorities lie in upholding our tradition of a superior liberal arts education, this referendum will pass.

Is St. Mary’s Still a Great Value?

It’s possible that St. Mary’s won’t be considered a great deal in education anymore, which is one of its greatest attractions to potential students.

Last semester students got a message sent out by Maggie O’Brien to all students and faculty informing us that there were some cuts being made in the budget of the school.

Most notably:

  • No new hires for a while, except for Public Safety.
  • Less vacation time for staff.
  • Energy-saving moves, like dimmer lights.

How does this affect me, the average St. Mary’s student? Well, our tuition is still going up by 5%, so we’re still being asked to pay more even though St. Mary’s is paying less.
When I brought this up at the Vegetarian Co-op where I eat, people indicated they were a little pissed. We saw that the price of meal-plans was going up 11%.
“As if the meal plans aren’t already extortion,” said Rhett Greenfield, in an interview at the Vegetarian Co-op. There is no way to opt out of the meal plan, unless you live on campus with a kitchen, off campus, or eat at the Co-op.
Several other people in the Co-op said they would have difficulty getting the money.
And there’s the fact that the state of Maryland is asking for $125,000 back from St. Mary’s, so now we have to make cuts across the board, including all of our 20+ academic departments.
Isn’t this fair? We are in a recession. Sure it’s fair. I’m hardly an expert on school finances, but maybe there are some better ways that St. Mary’s could cut costs.
* Stop paying the administration so much.
Look, I know that the administrators of the college are important. But look at their salaries!
In 2008 Maggie O’Brien made $346,427. That’s more than four times what your bread and butter full-time prof makes.
Larry Vote, the provost, made $226,135. Don’t you think they could cut their paycheck a little, if only out of solidarity with the cost-cutting of the rest of the school?
Also, many administrative positions’ salaries increased somewhere around 50-60% during the past eight years, whereas full-time professors’ salaries increased an average of 10%.
Most people have heard that professors come to St. Mary’s not for the money, but for the atmosphere.
Maybe I don’t understand how college salaries work, and I certainly don’t know what our “peer group” colleges are doing with their salaries, but I think something needs to change here.
* Stop spending money on things that don’t matter.
$40,000 for a sprinkler system? This arguably won’t benefit students in the slightest. A new Anne Arundel and Montgomery Hall?
These new buildings might attract more students and current students will appreciate them, but they aren’t necessary.
By wasting our and the state’s money, St. Mary’s isn’t giving us enough and is asking us for more.