MU Faculty Voice Concerns in Meeting with UM System President Choi

Mar 23, 2017

Credit University of Connecticut

UM System President Mun Choi directly addressed faculty Wednesday for the first time since announcing budget cuts to the Columbia campus.

At a general meeting, faculty were given the opportunity to ask Choi questions and voice their concerns about the upcoming fiscal year.

Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies Rabia Gregory said when looking at fiscal year 2018 she is discouraged with the lack of transparency from administration.

“Personally, right now my biggest frustration is that when asked, no administrator can identify either who will make the final decisions or what the process will be for decisions about cuts,” Gregory said.

Other faculty members echoed Gregory’s sentiment on transparency. Professor of Medical Pharmacology and Physiology Steven Segal said he needs to know how much money his department will be losing and soon.

“I understand we’ve had more cuts and so what I’m trying to do, as I said then, ok just tell me how much it is so I can at least plan for it and not overcommit myself,” he said.

Segal emphasized the constraints budget cuts put on faculty.

“I’m not using this money frivolously and if it’s going to be taken from me I feel that that is compromising my ability to use the flexibility that I have to try to make this a better place,” he said.

Choi was unable to give faculty a definitive timeline of when faculty will know how budget cuts will ultimately affect them.

“We have not yet gone into a detailed discussion for fiscal year 18 yet because we’re trying to figure out how much of our core funds can be restored, how much our collaborative funds can be restored and what is the level of tuition that we should increase to be able to do things that are very important,” he said.

Some faculty took the opportunity to express their frustration with past administrators. Professor of Psychological Sciences Jeff Rouder said that he has not felt supported by administration.

“Give then experience we've had, we feel like we have a bulls-eye on our back because of the cultural climate we're in, and we haven't felt like we've received this kind of support in a kind of visceral way,” he said.

Choi said that despite budget cuts, decisions will be made with faculty, staff and students in mind.

“We're going to make decisions that benefit faculty, staff and students, the most important constituents at the university,” he said. “Without the faculty this place goes away, without the students this goes away, without the staff the university doesn't run."