The University of West Georgia has a dilemma in regards to their budget. Due to a poor enrollment for the Fall 2019 Semester Interim President Michael Crafton held a meeting at the Campus Center Ballroom on Nov. 12 to explain in detail how to fix the problem.
Crafton was met with a large number of students who were protesting the budget cuts because of the fear that certain professors could potentially be fired in the near future. At the beginning of the discussion, Crafton immediately apologized due to the mishandling of communication with both the students and faculty.
However, what the public was not aware of before this discussion was that $3 million dollars had already been used in emergency funds. The decline in enrollment is quite alarming, with a 3.6% decrease from last semester, which is around 500 students. However, it isn’t just enrollment that is being affected as both on-campus student housing as well as the dining services are down by 10%. With these numbers dipping lower than expected, changes have to be made.
Akachukwu Nwosu wrote about how a decline in foreign students could possibly be a reason for the drop in enrollment after the countless amount of travel bans and restrictions by President Donald Trump. With many foreign students unable to or afraid to travel to America, student enrollment is bound to decline until those issues are resolved.
Students are outraged that certain faculty members could lose their jobs and over 180 students have signed a petition to attempt to protect faculty from being fired. The event went nearly 30 minutes over it’s scheduled time to allow students to vent and ask questions regarding their professors.
While Crafton reiterated that they would do everything possible to retain all faculty members they still have to come up with $3 million dollars to help fix the current debt. Crafton even said he was willing to take a pay cut in order to help out efforts.
At the end of the event, the students in attendance led a chant of “find the money” that could be heard throughout the ballroom. For most of the questions the students asked, Crafton responded by saying he would have in-depth answers very soon. Shortly after the meeting a survey was sent out to students with details about the issue at hand and a follow-up meeting being held on Nov. 16.
The main resolve to the issue would be a growth in enrollment would increase revenue and reduce the budget debt. The amount of professors who were sent non-renewal notices and the type of major affected the most were not disclosed at the event, which was one of the big questions many students had going into the event.
While tensions are high at the moment, everybody involved is trying their hardest to help professors. However, with many students and faculty unsure of what will happen in the future, only time will tell how this budget crisis will be resolved once and for all.