By Matt Riedl, news editor
Funding for programs across Newman University is being cut as the result of a recently discovered budget shortfall.
The university budgets for the fiscal year over the summer, based on how many students apply, Provost Michael Austin said.
Sometimes that number is more than expected and sometimes it is less. Not every student that applies ends up enrolling, resulting in a shortfall between projected income and actual income, Austin said.
He declined to comment on specific totals of the shortfall.
“We have to budget with what we think we’re going to have,” Austin said. “We have more students but we don’t have as many as we had budgeted for.”
Most of the shortfalls came from graduate students and the outreach program is western Kansas, Austin said.
To help balance the budget, Austin’s first solution was to cut library hours to 10 p.m. on weeknights.
At Student Government’s Town Hall meeting Tuesday, Austin said the library typically only serves six to seven people between 10 p.m. and midnight.
Within three days, a wave of student protest forced the administration to restore library hours to their original midnight closing times. Austin said the university will find ways to save money in other places.
“At the end of the day, I did not want to be a provost who prevented students from studying,” Austin said.
Austin said it is not unusual to discover budget differences a month into the semester. Tuesday was the “20th day,” on which plans must be re-evaluated based on actual enrollment.
“Even though enrollment is up, it’s not up in the right places,” Austin said.
Most of the losses will be absorbed by faculty and staff, Austin said. Professional development budgets are being cut, which consist of traveling to various conferences across the nation to present work for critique.
Some faculty members will be affected more than others.
Mark Mannette, director of theatre, said he does not anticipate a significant change due to the shortfall.
“I’m trying to build a program and they’re trying to get more students, so that would put it back where it needs to be,” Mannette said. “I don’t have any indication that that is in jeopardy.”
For faculty members that attend national conferences, it is now a matter of being able to afford to do so.
“It’s not going to keep us from doing our jobs; it will just make it tighter,” Cheryl Golden, chair of the division of humanities, said. “The university hates to cut it because it gives us exposure. It gets our people out there.”