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Budget update for studetns -- April 2004

NOTE: The following e-mail message was sent by President Robert A. Corrigan to SFSU students on April 7, 2004

Dear SFSU Students:

We now have more specific information to offer about how we are going to handle long-term budget cuts across the University. In keeping with the openness that characterizes our budget process, we are sharing the latest budget news with our students, as we are doing with faculty and staff.

My earlier budget messages have laid the groundwork for the following figures. In just two years -– 2003/04 and 2004/05 -- we will have lost more than $25 million in our general fund budget -- $14.1 million this fiscal year and the $11 million reduction for 2004/05 stemming from the Governor’s January budget proposal. If the May revise of the Governor’s budget lowers the CSU’s allocation, we will be even harder hit.

We have addressed this year’s $14.1 million problem in three ways: using about $4 million in one-time dollars; requiring the vice presidents to make temporary reductions in their areas for a total of $6.6 million; and making $3.5 million in permanent cuts. Looking to 2004/05, we face a need to identify permanent cuts totaling approximately $22 million -– the remainder of the 2003/04 reductions that we addressed on a temporary basis this year plus the projected additional budget reduction of $11 million for 2004/05.

The largest share of the cuts, some $9.8 million, will have to come from Academic Affairs which, as I have noted before, comprises 63% of the University’s budget. That $9.8 million figure assumes that Chancellor Reed approves the Academic Instruction fee that you voted in so resoundingly in the March 2-3 referendum. The fee would bring us $2.9 million. Without it, our cuts would be that much deeper. Whatever cuts we make, I want you to know that we are determined to maintain good class availability for you. Department chairs and deans will look carefully at the class schedule to see that it has the right mix of classes to allow students in all majors to make good progress to their degree.

The provost, college deans, chairs and faculty are now engaged in an intensive process of conversation and consultation. The plan for proposed cuts in Academic Affairs will be made public no later than the end of April. The provost has already identified several "very likely" elements of that plan: $800,000 in cuts in units reporting to him; a plan to gradually phase out general fund support for remedial courses by fall 2006, for a saving of at least $600,000; a proposed $2.3 million cut in the general fund budget for the College of Business –- achievable in part by moving some programs to self-support; and discontinuation or suspension of other academic programs.

You need to know that at this point, no decisions to cut academic programs have been made, despite rumors or statements on campus to the contrary. A number of difficult decisions lie ahead; however we have an open and transparent process for reaching them. In addition, we have a number of well-established Academic Senate policies governing program discontinuation, as well as protections for students currently enrolled in such programs. No academic program will be discontinued without a full and open discussion.

I have heard some concerns about the impact that particular program discontinuations might have on our minority student population. Remember that on the undergraduate level, the University is almost 70% students of color, so any academic program cut will touch minority students. All the more reason, then, for us to continue to make a strong case to the legislature for better support –- or at least no further cuts.

In areas other than Academic Affairs, the vice presidents already have identified almost $6 million in new reductions for 2004-05. Key items include more than $2 million in management reductions; elimination of $1.4 million in general fund support to Athletics; a $1 million cut in deferred maintenance; a $573,000 reduction in work study matching funds; the move of the Career Center off the general fund ($530,000); the elimination, for a $402,000 savings, of the Office of Human Relations –- though we remain fully committed both to the values the office represented and to maintaining its essential functions; and reorganization and consolidation of the offices of Public Affairs and Publications, plus other reductions in Advancement, for savings of approximately $800,000.

Up to this point, I have presented the numbers. But all of us who are deeply involved in budget planning know that behind the numbers are people -– faculty, staff, and you, our students. You are the reason the University exists and you are our priority as we weigh difficult choices. In all we do, preserving your education is our guide and our goal. We will not let you down.

Expect more budget updates as planning proceeds.

-- Robert A. Corrigan, president

Robert A. Corrigan President


San Francisco State University

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Last modified July 27, 2004 by University Communications