SU Senate approves 2002-03 budget proposal, including funding for new student-centered initiatives and library books, better compensation for part-time instructors
SU Senate approves 2002-03 budget proposal, including funding for new student-centered initiatives and library books, better compensation for part-time instructorsJanuary 16, 2002Kevin Morrowkdmorrow@syr.edu
The Syracuse University Senate on Jan. 16 approved and recommended to Chancellor Kenneth A. Shaw a 2002-03 fiscal year budget proposal that calls for a 6 percent tuition increase; an increase in the student health fee to address a student need for additional clinical counseling staff; and the establishment of a co-curricular fee to enhance students’ out-of-class experience.
In the next step in the budgetary process, Chancellor Shaw will present the proposed 2002-03 budget to the Board of Trustees Executive Committee in early February. Pending the Executive Committee’s approval, the proposal will be forwarded to all members of the Board and will be voted on at the full Board’s next meeting, in May.
The proposal was presented to the University Senate by Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Affairs chair Douglas P. Biklen, professor of special education, disability studies, and teaching and leadership programs in the School of Education. “High on the (committee’s) agenda were concerns about escalating health insurance costs; the need to maintain and improve the library holdings and services; the University’s ability to recruit and retain outstanding faculty; fair compensation for staff and faculty, including part-time instructors; and improvements in student life and campus life,” Biklen says.
The 21-member committee includes 10 faculty, four students (three undergraduate and one graduate) and one academic dean.
Financial uncertainty stemming from Sept. 11 and the current recession gave the committee an even greater challenge in anticipating how best to support the University’s commitment to improve the quality of its academic programs and student life, Biklen says.
“Given the state of the national economy, this was a very difficult year for the Budget Committee to consider new initiatives, and yet we have attempted to do so,” he says. “The committee has recommended an initial step in improving the compensation for part-time instructors; increased expenditures for the library;
funding for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center that the Senate approved last year; and an increase in support for graduate assistantships and fellowships.
“The committee recommended keeping the faculty and staff salary budget increase to a modest 3.5 percent even though faculty compensation lags between 4.2 and 16.1 percent below competitor institutions,” Biklen says. “In addition to the 3.5 percent budget increment, $750,000 is being added to the budget for targeted market adjustments to faculty pay. Tuition is recommended for 6 percent rather than the previously planned 5.5 percent, but the committee notes that SU tuition will still be $3,000 to $4,000 below tuition at competitor institutions.”
Under the proposed budget, tuition for 2002-03 would be $22,800 for an undergraduate student, $27,500 for a law student, and $686 per credit hour for a graduate student-all are a 6 percent increase from FY 2001-02. A part-time undergraduate student attending through University College would pay $413 per credit hour (a 5.9 percent increase).
A student’s room fee would increase by an average of 4 percent; a split double in a North Campus residence hall, the most popular plan of several living choices, would be $4,990 per year. The board fee would increase by an average of 4.5 percent; a 19-meal plan (19 meals per week in the dining halls plus a base $125 per semester SUpercard allotment) would be $4,520.
Health Fee Increase Addresses Counseling Concerns
The budget calls for a 13.4 percent increase in the mandatory student health fee-from $344 to $390-to cover immediate needs for additional mental health counseling (9.3 percent) and normal increases in SU Health Services’ operating costs (4.1 percent). The International Association of Counseling Services (IACS), the agency that accredits SU’s Counseling Center, recommends that colleges and universities have one professional, full-time staff member for every 1,000-1,500 students. By this formula, the Counseling Center is short four positions, with only seven full-time staff.
The average wait-time for a student to receive a non-emergency appointment at the Counseling Center ranges from seven to 15 days. The IACS recommends a wait of no more than three to five days. The IACS noted the staffing deficiency during a site visit in November 2001 and recommended immediate action so as not to impact the Counseling Center’s accreditation.
The new student health fee would allow the Counseling Center to hire a part-time psychiatrist, two new clinical psychologists, two new clinical social workers and additional administrative staff, and to create new outreach and prevention education programs.
“This support will address the high demand for Counseling Center services by increasing the availability of clinical appointments and providing prevention education and outreach,” says Dean of Students Anastasia L. Urtz. “This funding will help alleviate our current status of having the lowest clinical staff-to-student ratio among our Group of 12 comparison institutions. Most important, this funding will allow us to focus on the total wellness of our students and to help students resolve issues before they become crises.”
Co-Curricular Fee Supports Identified Student Needs
The co-curricular fee is intended to address the chronic under-funding of student life initiatives. In the proposed budget, full-time undergraduate students would be assessed an annual fee of $120 complementing the student activity fee administered by the Student Association.
“It is a natural tendency of anyone to want more and pay less,” says Eric Colchamiro, an undergraduate member of the Budget Committee. “Unfortunately, our university does not have the resources to do that. (With the co-curricular fee) we are improving the quality of life for students and making this a better university.”
The co-curricular fee would provide the Division of Student Affairs with an estimated $1.28 million to fund 15 separate initiatives, including: the establishment of an Arts Adventure declining balance account for all fee-paying students to replace the current $50 fee paid only by first-year students; the establishment of an Office of Off Campus Student Services; financial support for the 37 club sport activities recognized through the Department of Recreation Services; expansion of the current Outdoor Education Program offered by
Recreation Services, including new workshops and adventure trips; and the development of a leadership training curriculum to identify and cultivate emerging student leaders.
Two recommendations of the Chancellor’s Commission on Substance Abuse Prevention and Campus Security would be funded through the co-curricular fee: A Division of Student Affairs Programming Council would be established and charged to develop and deliver educational programming focusing on key awareness weeks and other annual experiences, including the opening of the University in the fall, graduation and high-stress periods. The Dean of Students Office would also be provided a fund to implement crime prevention and safety promotion initiatives that are not already budgeted by or the responsibility of other campus departments.
In addition, the co-curricular fee would: provide funding to support University traditions, specifically supporting campus-wide festival and events such as Homecoming that create and instill in students lasting memories of their Syracuse experience; support residence-based programming such as Dream Week and the Campus Cabaret; support school- and college-based student professional organizations; create a special fund to be allocated on a competitive basis to support symposia, exhibits, lectures and other public events to educate the student community on an annually established theme of institutional or social significance; relieve the Student Association of funding Light Work/Community Darkrooms, as well as SA-supported staff salaries in the Student Activities Office; reduce the overhead costs charged to recognized student organizations for their events and programs held in campus facilities; and eliminate the separate cap-and-gown fee charged to graduating seniors.
“The co-curricular fee is a direct benefit to our students and the programs and services they have consistently requested,” says Charles P. Merrihew, associate vice president for student affairs and primary author of the proposal. “Student input and response to the proposal has demonstrated a mature and proactive stance in attaining an infrastructure to support these endeavors.”
Detailed information on the co-curricular fee can be found at http://students.syr.edu/co-curricularfee/index.html.
Budget Establishes New Minimum Wage for Part-Time, Adjunct Faculty
Other highlights of the proposed 2002-03 budget:
- General operating budgets of departments would increase by 1.5 percent.
- For part-time and adjunct faculty, a University minimum wage would be established of $1,000 per credit hour of teaching.
- For graduate students on assistantships and fellowships, a 3.5 percent increase in the budget for stipends and a 6 percent increase in the budget for tuition scholarships, plus $150,000 for targeted market adjustments in stipends.
- A total of $90,000 would be allocated to fund the new Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center.
- The University Library would see a 5 percent increase in the budget for books and periodicals, and a budget add-on of $500,000 to address staffing shortages and to make market pay adjustments for the library’s professional librarians.
A full explanation of the proposed budget can be found at http://sumweb.syr.edu/ir/std/index.htm.