In an eloquent and sober presentation today before an estimated 400 faculty and staff (standing room) in the Breakey Theater, Dr. Calhoun provided his assessment of the current financial state of our university and discussed possible responses to the financial crisis. This is a brief synopsis of his remarks.
First, he told everyone that the university would not be out of money on March 1, although he could not give an exact date when that might occur. Thus, we will not be going out of business at the beginning of that month. Second, he called on everyone in the Chicago State community to participate in efforts to draw public attention to our situation. Third, he assured everyone that we would complete the current semester, award degrees and function as a university. Fourth, in keeping with his commitment to honor our obligations to our students and staff, Dr. Calhoun said he would "protect the instructional side of the university," and insure the safety and security of the campus. Those endeavors would receive priority.
Dr. Calhoun outlined several possible responses to the crisis, none particularly appealing: they mainly included staff reductions, reduced pay, volunteerism, and reduced or no pay for some work duties that had heretofore been compensated. Needless to say, given the uncertainty surrounding the continuing budget impasse, he was unable to offer an exact course of action in response. Dr. Calhoun also made clear his belief that the state had a responsibility to fund the university and insure that our students continued to receive a quality education. He assured everyone that Chicago State had a bright future and that he was anxious to reveal his vision for the university's renaissance.
As I am not completely sure of the accuracy of my notes, anyone with corrective information, please let me know. Although our situation is dire, I think it fair to say that the attendees left the meeting with at least cautious optimism, an improvement over the despair recent events have brought to the campus. Kudos to Dr. Calhoun for his candor.