Minutes & Agendas
University of Hawaii at Manoa Faculty Congress, April 19, 1995
The meeting was called to order at 2:35 PM by James Heasley, Vice Chair, Manoa Faculty Senate Executive Committee.
President Mortimerís Presentation
President Mortimer summarized the history of the budget situation. The President reported the Governor indicated in January that UH would get a $54 million cut over the next 29 months. However, in response to the Presidentís concern that a budget cut of this size could not be accepted, the Governor reduced the expected cut to $35 million. Thus, $7.2 million is the target reduction in UH budget between now and July 1, and $14.4 million is the target restriction for the each of the next two years. The President cautioned that these are just target reductions and that the Governor still needs to cut an additional amount of almost $150 million in order to prevent the expected budget shortfall.
The President reviewed his strategy for reducing spending in the near term. The activities to be considered in order of priority are: 1) a hiring freeze with the savings going back to the State; 2) a freeze on out-of-state travel; 3) an analysis of the special and revolving funds to determine what excess can be given back to the State; and 4) an examination of the repairs and maintenance budget to determine, after all bids are received, which funds are going to be committed and which are not.
The President does not have the authority to touch special and revolving funds, but the State budget director has said that if the President can identify excess funds, then UH will get credit for these funds as part of its budget cuts. He was told that if he doesn't make these cuts, the State budget director will. He stressed that if the State agrees not to touch these excess funds, he wonít touch them. The report that the President just received on these funds indicates that these funds have accumulated as a result of long term planning in order to achieve important goals in virtually every case. Sweeping these funds will be viewed as a hardship for everyone.
The President feels that he has been arguing and will continue to argue against budget cuts. Since the Governor reduced his estimate of our expected cuts and because each successive bill coming out in the House and the Senate is a little better, his strategy has been somewhat successful. However, the media has not been interested in publicizing UHís position. In addition, with the Department of Education being exempt from cuts and since UH has the third largest budget of any State entity, the probability that our budget will be significantly reduced remains high. Even though the legislature may be supportive, the Governor often restricts funds. He encouraged us to voice our concerns about the impact of these budget cuts to the public and he assured us that he would support any of our efforts to draw attention to the situation.
The President feels that the Board of Regents, the Legislature and the Governor will not allow us to cap enrollments. However, he understands that quality and other dimensions of access will suffer. He encouraged faculty to document these impacts to their Deans and Directors.
In response to questions about West Oahu, the President stated his belief that UH shouldnít have an unaccredited campus and that West Oahuís accreditation problem is due to its facilities. He hopes that the communitiesí desire for a West Oahu expansion will be translated into future funding. He is unable to shift funds from one campus to another and feels it is unlikely that the expansion, including positions, will be funded out of this biennium.
In response to a question about why UHM is taking a larger share of the cut, the President said that in the past five years, the enrollment at UHM has not increased as much as enrollment in other parts of the UH system. Since the existing budget has not been reallocated in response to these changes in relative enrollments, UHMís share of the total cut is larger. The President did state, however, that he understands that upper division and graduate education is the most expensive type of education to provide.
The President made it clear that, unlike last year, cuts at UHM are not across the board. The expected cuts communicated to Deans and Director last week were between 0 and 45 percent, with an average of about 5 percent. He said the cuts were based on various factors, including the Faculty Senateís budget priorities and the fact that the unit may be facing accreditation problems.
In response to a question about the upcoming early retirements, the President indicated that he will get about $.45 for each dollar that will be saved as a result of these retirements, given that he will only get back the average salary for only 70 percent of the positions. The President also agreed to a request that the UHM budget be made available to the faculty.
The President summarized his comments at the recent conference about general education. Given the diverse background of our students, he feels that we should consider providing them with a common intellectual experience. He suggested that three courses with a content that does not change across campuses or instructors be developed and be required of all UH students.
The minutes were amended to state that the Hamilton Library extension will be constructed on the site of the current Hamilton Snack Bar rather than that ìthe current Hamilton Snack Bar will become part of Hamilton Library.î The minutes were approved as amended.
Due to the lateness of the hour and the need to hold the Faculty Senate meeting immediately after the Congress meeting, the Chair declined to make a report. The meeting was adjourned at 3:45.
Linda J. Cox