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The U.M.K.C. Faculty Senate


The Voice of the U.M.K.C. Faculty

September 14, 1999

The Buget: Planning or Chaos

Note: One Senator called the budget process a self inflicted wound, caused by the short time frame allowed by President Pacheco’s budget process. Another person called the budget “a labyrinth that is impossible to comprehend.” Others simply wondered at the chaos and the contradictions. The President’s “design for the future,” which this budget process is designed to implement, calls for the University to be “nationally recognized as an eminent learner-centered research university.” It was to foster “student learning and achievement,” “program access and quality, “ and “research and scholarship.” The University was also to be “responsive to state, national and international needs.” At the same time, in order to keep salaries and benefits competitive, resources had to be reallocated and programs, staff and scholarships needed to be reduced. The budget reductions, and the quick timetable, do not seem to be compatible with the pious promises.

Senators shared their perspectives on the growth that had been induced by the budget process:

 In the College the range of languages that has been taught will probably need to be reduced. Graduate fellowships have also been altered.
 The situation in the Education school is chaotic, since there are both administrative and budgetary changes.
 Though good schools have a low student/teacher ratio UMKC is under pressure to increase its ratio. The SBS was told it has twice as many faculty as they need. The law school is supposed to increase enrollment while decreasing faculty. Other units complained of similar uncertainty.
 Several schools complained of losing control of their resources. It becomes much harder to plan when lines are not retained in departments or units when people retire. The Provost had said that this was a routine activity, but the guidelines are not clear.
 Commitments made for new positions and start-up money at the medical school have not been honored.
 The libraries have still not received the mission enhancement money that was promised and don’t know the amount that they will get. The interdisciplinary programs have also not received their budgets.
 Grand reductions in administrative costs have been promised, but much of this seems to be vapor. No details have been released, and several new administrators have been hired. Furthermore administrative costs are hidden in program costs, so it is hard to get a handle on them.
 Though an audit presumably has been done, we still don’t know the costs of the sports program. We have only been reassured that they are not out of line with other costs, and that the program had not exceeded its budget.
 The remodeling cost of the Chancellor’s residence seemed excessive to some Senators. When told the money came from a fund that was set aside for maintenance (1.5% of the value of the campus property, creating a fund of $4.5 million) they thought a re-examination of campus priorities was needed.

None of this resulted in a resolution, since it was hard to imagine one that was appropriate. Rather the situation just seemed chaotic. A few Senators noted that even the academic calendar was a mess and had been changed several times. This had harmful consequences for schools like the Conservatory that plan programs and concerts around the calendar. Other Senators questioned the cancellation of classes on Oct. 1 for the Faculty convocation. If that was to be a regular event, they thought, it should at least appear on the calendar.


The physical facilities committee had seen the draft drawings of the proposed parking structure on Rockhill and 52nd street. They thought it looked good. About 1,000 new parking spaces would be gained. The structure and accompanying street improvements would cost $14 million and would be paid for out of money generated by parking fees and tickets. Probably parking fees would be increased, and many Senators noted that ticketing had greatly increased. This is not a good time to park illegally. The structure was supposed to be built in 18 months, but the committee requested that the costs of building the structure over a 16-month period -- from May 2000 to August 2001 -- be examined. If that could be done the structure would be available for the Fall 2001 term. People expected that the parking situation next year would be terrible. Satellite parking structures and shuttle busses would have to be used.

Several Senators noted that Gerald Jensen’s position had changed from “Acting Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs” to “Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs.” Interim Chancellor Lamb had assured the Senate that he did not expect to fill this position on a permanent basis, and there was no search process. The Senate was also concerned that Jensen had not responded to the Senate resolution sent to him via the Provost and, with 5 dissenting votes, the Senate decided to send it again so that we would get a direct response.

Whereas the current parking situation is in crisis,

Whereas many parking spaces have been converted to metered spaces,

Whereas the availability of accessible parking spaces for employees is an important condition of our employment in the university,

Resolved: that employees with current parking stickers not be ticketed when parking in metered spots or lots reserved for students.

Other items

We had an Agenda item for committee reports, but none of the committees had yet met, so there were no reports…. Dean Durig, from the College, made a brief appearance to talk about the changes he had made to the Humanities Teaching Fellowships. He said that the College had suffered severe budget cuts of over $1 million, and there had to be some adjustments. He was not fully aware of the budget he would have until June 15th. There were some problems with the program. The alternative to the increased teaching load would have been the cancellation of the Fellowships, and he did the best that he could. Several Senators from the College said the Dean mis-spoke when he said there were problems with the program, and they thought the increased teaching loads, given so soon before the term began, were pedagogically irresponsible and the changes in signed agreements were immoral and irresponsible…. The Report of August 31 was approved.

Respectfully submitted

Harris Mirkin,
Faculty Secretary

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