Eastern gathers input on cuts

By Dick Mason, The Observer May 29, 2013 10:49 am

Eastern Oregon University is being forced to make between $2 million and $2.3 million in budget cuts. (Chris Baxter/The Observer)
Eastern Oregon University is being forced to make between $2 million and $2.3 million in budget cuts. (Chris Baxter/The Observer)

A crucial deadline is fast approaching at Eastern Oregon University.

Input on the draft of Eastern’s University Sustainability Plan, which calls for between $2 million and $2.3 million in budget cuts and adjustments, will be accepted through June 7. Input will then be evaluated and a final University Sustainability Plan developed by mid-June.  

EOU President Bob Davies has been encouraged with the input he has received to date.

“Most of the responses have been very insightful and provided us with a lot of good ideas we will follow up with. We are grateful for the thought people have put into their responses. Some will lead to modifications of the plan,’’ Davies said. 

The draft version of the Sustainability Plan, which calls for the elimination of 14.29 positions, was posted on EOU’s website on May 16. EOU recently released a synopsis of the 37-page plan, one which concisely spells out its impact. The summary states that 9.2 faculty positions would be cut:

• one full-time art professor. This position would be cut by not filling a position created by a retirement.

• one full-time media arts and communication professor. This position would be cut by not filling an opening created by a retirement.

• one full-time history professor position. The position will soon be vacant because the professor is taking another job. 

• one full-time geology professor position.

• three music professor positions.

• two full-time adjunct faculty positions for online instruction.

Following are the non-instructional positions that would be reduced or cut under the proposed University Sustainability Plan: 

• the executive to administrative faculty position would be reduced to an executive assistant to the president position. The employee in the position would be paid less because he or she would have fewer responsibilities.

• .5 of a classified staff position in the Fire Services Administration Program would be cut.

• a classified staff position in the in the dean’s office of the College of Arts and Sciences would be cut.

• the Portland Regional Adviser position at Clackamas Community College is vacant and would not be filled.

• the Union County Regional Adviser with the Director of Regional Operations position would be cut. 

• a  classified position in the Residence Life program. This position is now vacant.

Between nine and 12 minors would be cut under the proposed plan. Minors for  environmental chemistry, computer science, environmental studies, geology, mathematics, physical education, health and some minors within the media arts and communication major, are among those set to be cut. Journalism is one of the minors for the media arts and communication major that the draft plan recommends be cut. Davies said that despite this cut, journalism classes would still be taught at EOU and that its student newspaper, The Voice, would continue to be published.

A number of concentrations would be cut or reduced. Concentrations are areas of emphasis within a major. One sociology concentration, two business concentrations, two mathematic concentrations, three media arts and communication concentrations and two theater arts concentrations are among those that would be cut or reduced. 

The draft plan calls for no degree program cuts. However, it does propose that a change be made in EOU’s music degree program. Presently, Eastern offers a bachelor’s degree in music. The draft Sustainability Plan plan calls for this to be changed to bachelor of arts degree with a music major.

Davies stressed that all students currently enrolled in programs that end up being cut will be able to remain in them and complete them.  

The draft Sustainability Plan calls for several changes, not involving personnel or academic programs, that are designed to save money or generate revenue.      

These steps include:

• reducing tuition remissions granted to students on the basis of need or merit. This would save $300,000 in 2013-14 and $500,000 in 2014-15.

• charging a small credit card convenience fee. This would save EOU $80,000 a year. Eastern presently spends about this much annually on fees for students who use credit cards to pay their tuition.   

The changes the University Sustainability Plan will bring about are necessary because Eastern is on course to spend $1.2 million more than it will receive in revenue in 2012-13. EOU is projected to lose a similar amount in 2013-14 unless steps are taken to reverse its budget course.      

The draft of the University Sustainability Plan is available on the president’s home page on Eastern’s website, www.eou.edu. 

Individuals can email their input on the plan via Davies’  home page.

Davies advises people giving input to be thoughtful and mindful of Eastern’s budget situation. 

“Remember, the ultimate goal is sustainability,’’ Davies said.  “You can’t just say ‘Don’t do this.’ You need to provide a solution.’’  

Contact Dick Mason at 541-786-5386 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Follow Dick on Twitter @lgoMason.