Archive for Thursday, July 9, 2009

Budget crisis felt deeply at KU

University operating with fewer teachers and class offerings

July 9, 2009


KU holds financial forum

KU officials say the state budget crisis is hurting its students. Enlarge video

Kansas University leaders told an audience of more than 75 people Wednesday that the ongoing state budget crisis has changed how KU operates.

“Up to this point, we’ve really managed to do very well, but $32 million causes a lot of changes,” said Interim Chancellor Barbara Atkinson.

KU had been adjusting for a 10 percent — or nearly $32 million drop-off in state funding. Another recent 2 percent cut took that figure above $36 million.

Tuition and federal stimulus dollars have provided some relief, officials said, but still, the impact has been felt across the campus.

Among the budget measures outlined at the forum so far:

• The Lawrence campus is operating with 121 fewer positions, including 55 faculty positions. In the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, there will be about 75 fewer class offerings and 25 fewer graduate teaching assistants.

• At the KU Medical Center, 79 positions have been eliminated, including 46 layoffs, said Atkinson, who also oversees the Medical Center campus. Another 363 positions have been shifted to outside sources of funding — including clinical revenue and grants. However, those funding sources may dry up in the years ahead, she said.

• For the third time since 1972, KU employees will not have regular merit salary increases.

• KU has been able to save about $9 million so far in various efficiency measures, including reducing museum hours and moving the faculty newsletter to online-only.

One faculty member in the audience suggested that the freezing of open faculty positions in Lawrence may run deeper than the 55 announced.

Atkinson said she agreed that the number was probably understated, saying the number was difficult to quantify exactly, depending on the methods used to count openings.

Other questions — some via e-mail — asked about furloughs and the potential for eliminating programs. Danny Anderson, interim provost, said the elimination of entire programs may not save as much as some think, once factors like loss of students and harm to recruitment efforts are factored in.

Annual salary notification letters going out to faculty members this week will include a mention of furloughs possibly being needed this fiscal year, Atkinson said.

Anderson said that KU had cut more on the administrative side of its operation than the academic side, which would mean things like more potholes on streets and perhaps a longer wait to get paperwork processed, as fewer office workers would be employed.

Atkinson said that KU did not anticipate needing to use furloughs to cover the existing budget cuts, but Anderson said KU had been planning for such a necessity.

The university has made plans that would involve a tiered system, in which lower-paid employees have to take less unpaid time, Anderson said, but if the occasion came where they would be necessary, further discussion and planning would be needed.


davidsmom 8 years, 9 months ago

Before anyone starts criticizing KU, acknowledge that this is happening all over the country, and at some universities, there have been hundreds, and at some - thousands - of layoffs. Others have eliminated entire programs. The daily Chronicle of Higher Education reports sometimes are very discouraging.

lawrencechick 8 years, 9 months ago

Didn't I read that the endowment fund made almost $100 million this year. Where does that go?

Zachary Stoltenberg 8 years, 9 months ago

That $100 million goes to pay for scholarships and loans to students (Perkins) to help them stay in school every time the board of Regents decides to increase tuition. As a recent grad, I can appreciate this more, I had a Perkins loan that helped keep me in school. Now that I have graduated and am working, I'm repaying that loan. BTW, most of that figure is exaggerated. The money in the endowment is invested, like any other endowment. That earning figure reflects the return from investment as well as donations, both of which actually went down because of the current markets. KU is very lucky to have the kind of endowment we do. It is one of the largest in the country. #3 I think. The money that is donated to endowment is from private donations, i.e. wealthy alumni looking for a tax write off. and therefore cannot be used to fund renovations or salaries at the state owned institution. The people who donated to the endowment did so to help other people get an education. If they wanted to pay for deteriorating state buildings they could have donated directly to the building fund or the university in general. Get some facts straight lawrencechick before you make such an ignorant statement.

mom_of_three 8 years, 9 months ago

I wouldn't say Lawrence Chick made an ignorant statement. As far as I can tell, she asked a simple question. Testy, aren't we?

Zachary Stoltenberg 8 years, 9 months ago

That statement in response to an article about the state budget crisis seemed to indicate that the endowment association be doing something about the state's budget woes. Why should any private organization be responsible for the whole Mrs. Sibelius put us in? I call that ignorant, yes.

Godot 8 years, 9 months ago

"Tuition and federal stimulus dollars have provided some relief"

Stimulus dollars being used to fill budget holes in a bloated government bureaucracy. Payback for helping to put the Dems in charge.

WHY 8 years, 9 months ago

zstoltenberg-- you may have received an education but they certainly don't teach manners at that fine university do they.

bb837988 8 years, 9 months ago

I believe that the Endowment funds are used as directed by the donors. The money may have been donated to the University in general or to specific schools. The donations may also have been made to specific departments, scholarship programs or other programs within the schools. The university is bound by the intent of the donors.

KU_cynic 8 years, 9 months ago

The cold hard fact is that like other government-funded programs KU and other state universities have grown faster than the state revenue base, and now that revenue base has shrunk and will remain permanently below the somewhat optimistic growth path built into assumptions for the future by prior legislators, governors, regents, and university leaders. KU's spending footprint has to be permanently cut to reflect economic reality.

However, instead of looking at weak programs and areas to cut, those which serve few students well and whose professors' scholarship is less than aspirational, KU leaders are cutting every program, including those of conspicuous strength. That's just wrong-headed and irresponsible.

Unfortunately, with a brand new chancellor and several "interim" top leaders (provost, dean of liberal arts) who have come up through KU's politicized internal ranks, I seriously doubt that KU's leadership has the wisdowm and the will to make needed but inevitably controversial tough decisions. As a result, KU will slide backwards in several key areas.

Zachary Stoltenberg 8 years, 9 months ago

Manners, yes WHY,manners I do have. Patience for people who, by their ignorance make blanket statements and influence other ignorant people I do not have. Why is it that every time someone in this town reads an article about someone making money or being successful they think they are somehow owed it as well? Or that whoever that wealthy successful individual is, they should be giving away their fortune? Especially to an overly bureaucratic state run institution of all things? No one owes you anything...and my parents taught me that, not a university.

lawrencechick 8 years, 9 months ago

"Why should any private organization be responsible for the whole Mrs. Sibelius put us in?"

Obviously they didn't teach zstoltenberg manners, or phonics, or spelling - it's "hole" and Sebelius. Yes, it was just a question ya grouch!

countrygirl 8 years, 9 months ago

Perkins Loans are federal loans with the money coming from the federal government, not the endowment funds.

WHY 8 years, 9 months ago

zstoltenberg-- It appears that your parents were more interested in reading you the Wall Street Journal rather than how to get along nicely with the other kids on the playground. If you feel entitled to the money you earn, just think of all the public effort that went into developing your abilities. KU is not funded by private donations, which is why it is named after the people who pay for it.

Zachary Stoltenberg 8 years, 9 months ago

Perhaps, as I stated earlier, I am short on patience, but I was trying to illustrate a larger problem I see in Lawrence rather than the particulars. It seems to me that those parties guilty seem to pick out the particulars rather than discuss the issue because they can't defend their position. Instead of pointing out the "holes" in my auto-complete spell check lawrencechick why don't you tell us all what you think the endowment owes you and why you are owed it? I assume you do think you are owed something, because if not, then your statement "Didn't I read that the endowment fund made almost $100 million this year. Where does that go?" would fit my earlier assumption and would further illustrate my point.

Shardwurm 8 years, 9 months ago

My mean...professors may actually have to TEACH classes instead of 'researching' all week?!?!?!

What on earth is happening!?!?!

WHY 8 years, 9 months ago

zstoltenberg-- Is it possible that a person may not know how an endowment works or how institutions of higher education are funded through a complex system of public funds, athletic corporations, and private donations to endowments. As to what people are owed it is simple. Respectful answers to fair questions. What you deserve at this point is much less.

Zachary Stoltenberg 8 years, 9 months ago

So WHY, are you pleading ignorance on behalf of lawrencechick and then chastising me for my earlier statement about her comment being ignorant? Did I get that right? I heard a quote, not sure who to attribute it to, that I think fits here. "Education is the discovery of our own ignorance." Part of education is having your current beliefs and positions challenged, so that you can evaluate them. My original post was a challenge, to a blanketed and ignorant statement, not a fair question. Perhaps you could understand the whole paradigm more clearly by spending some time in a classroom yourself. Go pick another battle, one that, perhaps you grasp further understanding of.

mom_of_three 8 years, 9 months ago

szoltenberg - Chick asked a question, to paraphrase - The endowment made lots of money - where does it go? She actually asked what is it used for. YOU got on your high horse, and read it the wrong way.
Geez, her question was not ignorant. It was, however, a question which others were able to answer without being hateful.

Eric Neuteboom 8 years, 9 months ago

"So WHY, are you pleading ignorance on behalf of lawrencechick and then chastising me for my earlier statement about her comment being ignorant?"

Because you're a jerk. A pompous jerk.

I sure hope you don't go looking for a job with that attitude.

Zachary Stoltenberg 8 years, 9 months ago

I was not hateful... testy are we mom o' 3? There are worse things to be called than ignorant. I didn't deteriorate to that and I'm not on any high horse. Since you seem to have the biggest problem with the word itself, here is what the dictionary defines ignorant as:

  1. lacking in knowledge or training;unlearned:an ignorant man.
  2. lacking knowledge or information as to a particular subject or fact: ignorant of quantum physics.
  3. uninformed; unaware.
  4. due to or showing lack of knowledge or training: an ignorant statement.

Lacking knowledge of how an endowment works, lacking knowledge of a particular subject, i.e. investments and returns. Uninformed or unaware of KU's ranking nationally as one of the largest endowments. Seems to me that it fits perfectly. I'm not hateful, I just call it like I see it.

lucyisme 8 years, 9 months ago

zstoltenberg, you are scary. I think you need mental health help.

Zachary Stoltenberg 8 years, 9 months ago

Now look whose calling names and being "jerks". Lucyisme and Coach Eric making verbal attacks when they haven't even been a part of the debate. Why is there always so much opposition to challenging people to question themselves? I thought Lawrence was an open and free forum to discuss and debate free of the petty crap and name calling. I can give you two the definition of Hypocrisy as well.

Eric Neuteboom 8 years, 9 months ago

Just so I'm clear, zstolt, it's permissible for you to call people ignorant (see your first posts)...but when the shoe's on the other foot, you raise your objections to "petty crap" and "name calling." Interesting that you mention hypocrisy, as you seem to have one standard for yourself, and one for everyone else.

I hope you eventually learn that the line between making a point (or attempting to stimulate thought/discussion) and coming across as an intellectual bully is a fine one. And I further hope that with some self-reflection you'll see what side of the line you're on, given your comments on this article.

I have no issue with what you're saying, only with how you said it. Take the time to render your arguments carefully, for your overwhelming arrogance obscures the main point of your posts.

Zachary Stoltenberg 8 years, 9 months ago

Saying ignorant when someone matches the definition isn't name calling. It would be like calling a stop sign red. Lowering yourself to name calling with terms like jerk is juvenile and petty. Going back and trying to save face with accusations of hypocrisy on the return is even worse. Stop digging Coach, listen to your own self-reflection and intelectuall bully lecture before your in over your head.

Boeing 8 years, 9 months ago

OeraLinda - if we get rid of CLAS majors, which are "worthless to the economy", we get rid of, well, Economics...

Yikes, that backfired on you.

gccs14r 8 years, 9 months ago

Someone hasn't looked to see which departments are in CLAS.

KU_cynic 8 years, 9 months ago

"Get rid of all CLAS majors they are essentially worthless to the economy." - OeraLinda

Let's not get bombastic here, as there has been enough of that on this chatboard today.

However, it is true that there are some programs that serve more students, produce more tangible results in terms of student success (placement in valuable careers, bridge to graduate school, filling vital state needs such as for teachers, nurses, pharmacists, aerospace engineers, etc.), and that have a critical mass of talented professors and external constituents such as employers.

It is also true that there are some small niche programs that do not measure up well on these dimensions. Yes, KU would be a lesser university without some of the lesser taught language programs, race/ethnic/gender studies degree programs, and underwater-basket-weaving degree programs such as sports management and communication studies. But, those are program eliminations that would make sense, rather than forcing small cuts across all programs.

It doesn't make sense to keep everything on the buffet table.

Eric Neuteboom 8 years, 9 months ago

"Saying ignorant when someone matches the definition isn't name calling. It would be like calling a stop sign red."

Or like calling a jerk...a jerk. You realize you're only proving my point, right?

Do you want to keep lobbing softballs up here, or are you tired of being proven wrong yet? I haven't had a good "fight" in a while, and I'm just now feeling warmed up!

oohmgrover 8 years, 9 months ago

People are losing jobs and yet most of the comments are yet another lame internet fight over semantics and the intricacies of internet etiquette?

Grow up.

MyName 8 years, 9 months ago


I'm not sure if CLAS means what you think it means as that's essentially 2/3 of the University ( ), including Biology, Chemistry, Physics, History, Mathematics, Political Science, Communications, etc. So, pretty much anything that isn't Engineering, Business, or the Fine Arts. Most Doctors and Laywers get their undergraduate degrees in a school like this.

Zachary Stoltenberg 8 years, 9 months ago

I have tried to be nice. I have resisted the name calling. I even tried to humor your "line in the sand" and other babble. But about your invitation, I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person. I know your type, you think your smarter than everyone else and when actually challenged you talk yourself in circles until anyone attempting to craft an intelligible argument against you gives up in frustration. "but when the shoe's on the other foot, you raise your objections to “petty crap” and “name calling.” Interesting that you mention hypocrisy, as you seem to have one standard for yourself, and one for everyone else." No shoe eric... no different standards, I called a spade a spade with accurate terminology, without resorting to playground namecalling. I have no response to you because you didn't make any sense! It would prove to be futile to attempt to debate with you.

MyName 8 years, 9 months ago


"It doesn't make sense to keep everything on the buffet table."

That may or may not be true and it really depends more on the actual dollars that people and programs bring to the University than on perception of value by armchair quarterbacks. A small niche program can be valuable (both in terms of prestige and in grant money) if it is one of the only programs in the country doing its type of research.

The only fair way to measure this is by looking at the books, something that I don't believe anyone in this discussion has done yet.

bb837988 8 years, 9 months ago

The difference between a college and a technical school is CLAS. Most of the students who end up in a professional school start in CLAS as their programs don't accept students until their junior year. The courses in CLAS are the backbone of receiving a well-rounded education which I thought was the purpose of a college education.

And cutting a program within a school doesn't always mean that much savings. The professional schools offer different degrees. All the students take several core classes regardless of the actual degree. These classes will still have to be taught. Cutting out a program would only reduce the amount of classes by a small amount.

KU is a research school. The research that is done brings grants, recognition and prestige to the school. And it is required for anyone who wants to become a tenured professor.

Boeing 8 years, 9 months ago

Yes, how dare doctor waste four years getting a biology or chemistry degree, it would be much better if they had a mechanical engineering, ceramics or elementary education major...

MyName 8 years, 9 months ago


Maybe lawyers and doctors shouldn’t have to waste four years getting a liberal arts degree.

That's how it used to be back in the 19th century and earlier when becoming a lawyer meant passing the bar and medicine wasn't nearly as advanced and complicated. This could possibly still work for the law, but I think having a Biology or Chemistry degree is very helpful for people going into medicine.

As for cutting sociology and psychology, there are a lot of people who get the degree but don't really want to work in the field, but there are also who are helped by graduates of these proggrams. In any case, I don't think it's likely that, even if you cut the programs, the people who were in it would go to a trade school. Alot more of them would just get a degree in another major (maybe one considered to be even more useless by you).

MyName 8 years, 9 months ago

Well as long as we have a sensible plan...

mapletree 8 years, 9 months ago


Before you call others ignorant, you might want to check your own facts.

Perkins loans are federal loans provided by the government, they are not administered by KU Endowment.

KUEA has it's own separate loan program for students, but it's not the Perkins loan.

Zachary Stoltenberg 8 years, 9 months ago

I had both, it was the only way I stayed in school mapletree. And I didn't call anyone ignorant, I called a statement ignorant, which I believe i have thoroughly justified. Since your splitting hairs, there is a difference.

countrygirl 8 years, 9 months ago

There is a difference between ignorant and uninformed. Someone asked a question to try gain knowledge. I see no reason to call them ignorant for that.

classclown 8 years, 9 months ago

Referring to a question as a statement seems rather ignorant.

countrygirl 8 years, 9 months ago

Didn't I read that the endowment fund made almost $100 million this year. Where does that go?

Looks like a question to me.

guesswho 8 years, 9 months ago

When a person gives money to KU, they are actually giving to Endowment, who manages the money. (The rest is what I understand it to be, but I admit it may not be completely accurate, help me out if I am omitting or stretching facts)

The department, college, whatever does not receive the money, but the interest earned off the money. For example, if you contribute to a scholarship fund, $1000, for example, Endowment does not turn that $1000 over for scholarship money, but rather the interest on that scholarship every year, in order to preserve the principle. Interest on $1000 may not be that much, but when many people give, it becomes quite substantial.

Endowment monies are also very useful because departments can use that money for things such as food, which state money cannot buy. A department may wish to honor graduating seniors with a reception, but that has to be Endowment money.

Endowment money could be used to help attract top faculty, independent of state money.

Jaminrawk 8 years, 9 months ago

I'm a somewhat recent (2005) grad and I work in a professional position, yet I would never call someone ignorant for not having an in-depth knowledge of the Endowment Fund, "zstoltenberg". By your definition, everyone on Earth is ignorant unless they know everything. Saying something like, "Lew Perkins pocketed all of KU's money and that is why KU had to eliminate jobs" would be ignorant because it is baseless. All "lawrencechick" did was ask a question that I'm sure many people in Lawrence might. It was a bit egotistical for you to call someone "ignorant" for asking a question. Whether your backtracking in regard to the harshness your statement was made with legitimacy or not, you are kind of a jerk.

Kryptenx 8 years, 9 months ago

Right on, Jaminrawk. I was hoping someone would say something to that effect. We're in a world of trouble if everyone who asks a question because they do not know how something works is considered ignorant. If anything, questioning how something works shows the opposite of ignorance.

WHY 8 years, 9 months ago

What would be really ignorant is not knowing the difference between your and you're Mr. Stoltenberg.

Godot 8 years, 9 months ago

Imagine how much money the State of Kansas and the Federal Government are losing by not taxing the earnings on the endowment funds. Imagine.

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