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Eastern Oregon University students, from left, Daniel Wagner, Kelsy Carson, Brittanie Sorenson and Emily Smith discuss the potential effects EOUís proposed cuts to staff and programs could have on their educational goals at the university. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)
14 positions, including 9 faculty jobs, could be eliminated under budget-balancing plan
The announcement eight days ago by President Bob Davies that Eastern Oregon University will be making between $2 million and $2.3 million in budget cuts and adjustments has students worried, including those who will not be impacted by the reductions.
“My biggest concern is that a lot of the things I benefited from are still there for future students,’’ said Timmy Brown, a senior who will graduate in June with degrees in math, computer science and English.
Brown is among the students who likely will be providing input on the draft of the University Sustainability Plan that was released May 16. The preliminary plan calls for a total 14.29 positions, including 9.29 faculty positions, to be cut in order to help EOU balance its budget and build up its reserve fund.
Landen Reddington, a sophomore from Cove, said he empathizes with the difficult situation Davies, who is leading the development of the Sustainability Plan, is in.
“I know that he has the best interests of the university at heart,’’ Reddington said.
Input on the Sustainability Plan will be accepted through June 7. A final version will be released less than a week later. The draft plan calls for one major and nine to 12 minors to be cut or reduced. All students enrolled in programs that will be cut will be able to remain in them and complete them, Davies said.
Brown said students would feel a lot better if they realized that everyone in a program would be able to finish it.
“This (not knowing about the grandfather clause) is causing a lot of unnecessary anxiety,’’ the EOU senior said, who noted that information is readily available to everyone.
EOU student Anna Maxwell said she is worried that some faculty in the music program could be lost because of the budget reductions. She said that any staff reductions in the music program would have a big impact on its functionality. It would also hurt morale.
“Our department is like a big family. We really care about each other,’’ the music student said.
Maddie Ford, a freshman from Cove, also said she would hate to see any music faculty cut.
“It would definitely be the downfall of the department,’’ the music student said.
Junior Kelsy Carson said she is concerned about possible cuts to the theater program.
“It would affect not just students but also the community. The community loves going to the theater,’’ Carson said.
Brown said it is important that students and faculty give input on the Sustainability Plan because they are closest to the academic programs and best understand the impact proposed changes, many of which involve streamlining, would have. He hopes that the changes make a big enough difference that Eastern does not find itself facing a similar budget-cutting situation again in a few years.
The draft University Sustainability Plan was formulated on the assumption that tuition will be boosted by about 5 percent at Eastern in 2013-14. This is about what the average tuition increase will be at Oregon’s state universities.
Shyanne Winters, a sophomore from Dayville, said the increase will make her life more difficult. She explained that she will have to work more hours to get money to pay tuition, leaving less time for her to do her homework.
“It will make things more stressful,’’ Winters said.
Macy Peterson, a sophomore from Umatilla, said the tuition increase will not have as big an impact on her as other students because of scholarships she is receiving. Still, it will make it harder for her to stay out of debt.
“I’m a little stressed,’’ she said.
Reddington said that 5 percent tuition increase will not cause him to transfer.
He noted that Eastern’s tuition will still be the lowest of any state university in Oregon.
“I would rather pay a little more here than go somewhere else and pay a lot more.’’