Interim president Dr. Frank Pogue held an open forum in T.H. Harris Auditorium Tuesday at 11 to discuss fiscal highs and lows. Dr. Pogue announced the appointment of a Budget and Priorities Committee that will “review all funding streams and spending practices and develop criteria for spending priorities,” as cited in a recent letter to the Grambling State University community.
Dr. Pogue said he appreciated everyone who attended, cracked a couple of jokes and began.
“Why are we here?”
The meeting was to discuss financial steps to get the community through the rest of the semester and years to come, Dr. Pogue said.
The long-range plan will “ensure we are prepared to respond to negative budget reductions.”
Grambling State University’s share of state budget cuts is between $1.4 and $1.6 million, said Dr. Pogue.
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s share is $4.6 million and Southeastern University in Hammond’s cut totaled $3.6 million, according to www.employmentspectator.com.
“The impact will continue to be devastating,” Dr. Pogue said.
The interim president said he plans to meet with the Student Government Association, Faculty Senate, campus departmental chairs and directors, and program directors to brainstorm community solutions.
“I ask you to keep in mind that all of this is ongoing,” Dr. Pogue said. “Funding reductions are still being announced.”
“We must be confident that Grambling State University will develop an inclusive strategic process.”
This will include scrutinizing university spending. The appropriate vice presidents will review all expenditures and the interim president said he would sign off on expenditures to make sure that spending is necessary.
“Every effort was made to avoid lay-offs,” Dr. Pogue said.
Grambling State University anticipated a $53 million budget, Vice President for Finance Daarel Burnette said. This budget included state money and student tuition and fees.
Personnel spending is the biggest part of that budget, Burnette said, and added that only critical positions would be filled.
“There is not a spending freeze,” Burnette said.
The university owes vendors for outstanding bills, Burnette said.
“We have healthy fund balances in our auxiliaries,” said Assistant Vice President for Finance Leon Sanders.
One way to augment budgetary concerns is with alumni’s financial assistance.
“We have to court our alumni,” Dr. Pogue said. He added that many alumni told him that they were never asked for money. Some alumni said that they gave and were never informed how the money was spent or thanked for donating it, he said.
Dr. Pogue asked the faculty and staff to encourage students, treat them with respect and to take ownership of campus retention.
“We are going to turn our enrollment around,” he said. With regard to university money, ” We will not spend it until we get it.