BEAUMONT, Texas — The Lamar University faculty senate recently met with the university's administration about 'concerns' related to the university budget, administration, and the use of funds after Harvey swept through Southeast Texas.
The concerns were 'formally adopted' on May 1. The 'crux of the issues' is related to the use of resources to support 'university operations in the environment' after Harvey and other 'factors that impacted revenue' according to a Lamar University administration news release.
A motion presented in an April 3 faculty senate meeting suggested a forensic audit of the university and a vote of no-confidence for President Kenneth Evans and Provost James Marquart according to the meeting minutes.
In the meeting, it was “stated that as an advisory body, a no-confidence vote is our most powerful statement. We should be sure of the situation before taking such a stance.”
Garrick Harden, Lamar University associate professor, suggested a “friendly motion to amend the previous motion so that it calls for an audit first, and pending the results of the audit, followed by the no-confidence vote.”
A motion was made to “establish an ad-hoc committee to investigate the charges” according to the minutes.
The immediate impact of Harvey to Lamar was a $5 million deficit according to the administration release.
'As a result of declining international student enrollment' the funding given to Lamar for its operations was additionally decreased by $3.2 million according to the release.
Based on acceptance and enrollment before Harvey hit Southeast Texas, the university budget already included an expected increase in revenue according to the release.
The university immediately 'redirected money and effort to help students cope the the impact of the disaster' according to the release.
'Further resources were made available to help faculty and staff' according to the release.
The total spent came to just under $3 million.
This 'reallocated both funding and expectations' across the university.
In the next year, the changes cost the university $11 million and started a conversation in an effort to keep the university informed of the challenges according to the release.
The school's budget office has held meetings in the last year and a half with college deans to keep them aware of their budgets and the administration has held individual meetings with the deans, as well as directors on budgets and adjustments according to the release.
'On May 1, 2019, administration met with the Faculty Senate to make them aware of budgeting issues' according to the release.
The administration gave an overview of the revenue and enrollment for Lamar, and the history of 'budget principles' and the budget for fiscal year 2019 and fiscal year 2020 according to the release.
From a Lamar University administration news release:
Administrative response of faculty senate
The administration recently learned that some members of the Faculty Senate have expressed concerns about the university’s budget and other aspects of administration. Formal adoption of those concerns occurred on May 1. The crux of the issues raised is related to the allocation of resources to support university operations in the environment after Tropical Storm Harvey and other factors that impacted revenue.
The immediate fiscal impact of Harvey to Lamar University was a $5 million deficit. In addition, as a result of a declining international student enrollment, the Texas state funding given to Lamar University for its operations was additionally decreased by $3.2 million. However, based upon acceptance and enrollment before Harvey hit Southeast Texas, the Lamar University budget already included an expected increase in revenue.
Once Harvey hit, Lamar University immediately redirected money and effort to help students cope with the impact of the disaster. Further resources were made available to help faculty and staff. The total expenditure amounted to just under $3 million. Understandably, this reallocated both funding and expectations university wide. In the ensuing year, these dramatic changes, which in net cost the university $11 million, started a dialogue in an effort to keep the university community informed of the challenges.
The budget office has been meeting the last 18 months with the college deans to keep them aware of their budgets and the expectations. In preparation for fiscal year 2019, the administration held individual meetings with the deans and directors on budgets and adjustments.
On May 1, 2019, administration met with the Faculty Senate to make them aware of budgeting issues. At this time, administration provided an overview of the university’s revenue and enrollment, the history of budget principles as well as the budget for FY19 and FY20.
During this discussion, the cost of new initiatives, plans for future investments, and the development of an incentive-based financial model were all presented to the Faculty Senate.