Dixon speaks to faculty about pending cuts

A Faculty Senate meeting Monday continued dialogue on missing money and the adjusted faculty handbook Monday in Jacob T. Stewart. Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Robert Dixon entered the meeting with a quip about the densely populated meeting.

“I notice you all have good attendance,” he said to subtle laughter.

He spoke for about 40 minutes on the effects of a “downturn in our economy” and how “dishonesty” and “greed” contributed to nationwide fiscal issues.

“Higher standards and ethics” from leaders are still to be expected, he said.

Despite financial hardships Grambling State University must “meet what has been imposed on us.”

Dixon prepped faculty for a 16 percent reduction in the fall and stated that a 44 percent budget reduction occurred earlier in the semester.

After expressing the universality of thinly stretched funds, he criticized faculty members for stressing self-preservation over the university’s overall welfare.

“Please preserve what I have,” he mimicked.

Some professors expressed dissatisfaction with picking up extra coursework, the vice president asked how such thinking could profit everyone during such monetarily stressful times.

“When the institution faced hardship . some people responded by saying what about me,” Dr. Dixon said.

He said that making cuts would not be easy, but maintained that the school must uphold one principle:

“Preserve the academic programs.”

In order to work within the confines of a reduced budget he shared that the administration was looking to nix unnecessary adjunct professors.

Plans are in the works to phase out understaffed and/or underpopulated programs, though Dixon said that these cuts aren’t tied to budgetary concerns.

The paralegal associates degree, certificate program in paralegal studies, master’s of arts in liberal arts, business/office communications programs and hotel restaurant management are first on the chopping block.

These changes won’t be finalized until 2014 to ensure that students already in the programs aren’t affected by the changes.

With regards to professors keeping their jobs, he expressed uncertainty. He said that the 30 positions said to be cut at last week’s town hall meeting aren’t definitive. He believes that the number will be significantly lower than that.

The administration seeks raise campus standards and instructed employees to “volunteer to do more,” Dixon said.

Dr. Dixon also asked that attorneys not contact him about hearsay. “Sounds like paranoia to me.”

According to the vice president, furloughs might be in the works, student affairs could experience cuts, equipment purchases will be reduced, and fees could increase by 5 percent, Dixon said

He also said that the operational budget will decrease travel.

As for the Faculty Handbook, he gave the faculty two weeks to make suggestions to the existing document, though the current document is missing several appendices.

The faculty senate voted to resubmit the document by the end of May giving them about a month to make alterations.

Dixon and Dr. Janet Guyden alluded to taking two years to adjust it.