Tonight you’re going to consider tuition decreases and tax abatements as a way of reducing the excessive fund balance that has been run up by Dr. Breuder. I would ask you to go slowly here, given the reliability of some of the numbers that have come out his administration, and wait until the forensic audit has been completed so we know exactly what we’re dealing with. I’m sorry if this offends the sensibilities of anyone who works, or worked, in our finance dept., but given what’s come to light over the past month, prudence takes precedence.
While you’re waiting on the audit, please take that time to consider other options. While it’s true that Breuder built up the fund balance by needlessly increasing tuition, by taking the maximum tax increase every year, he also did it by squeezing every penny out of the budgets of every dept. in the college. He did it by firing classified staff and forcing the remaining staff to take on the additional work of others or risk being fired themselves. He did it by cutting corners everywhere, by cutting student services. By cutting the time that counselors have with students in half, by increasing class sizes, by effectively doing away with release time for faculty to manage the Honors Program, the Forensics team, the Jazz ensembles, by cutting the The Buffalo Theatre, to name a few.
Let’s take this opportunity to take better care of our adjunct faculty. Every college needs adjunct faculty, so let’s attract the best adjuncts we can by compensating them fairly. You could increase their pay, you could offer them affordable insurance, and you could move the best into full time positions.
And yes, tuition is too high, but as high as it is for most of our students, it’s twice as high for our nursing students. One of Dr. Breuder’s first moves was to double their tuition. A good first step would be to bring their rate back down.
Last year at this time we were in the middle of the email scandal, remember? That had to do with getting funding for a New Teaching and Learning Center because we are at peak capacity during the middle of the day. Instead of building that building, we could lower tuition during off peak hrs, late afternoon, early morning, and evenings as a way of luring students into coming at other hours so we could utilize our existing facilities more effectively.
We could also offer tuition rebates as an incentive for persistence and earning good grades by our students. Instead of lowering tuition, offer cash back in the form of credit to student accounts for earning A’s and B’s that could be used for future classes or in our bookstore.
We have some time here while we wait for the audit, let’s use it bring COD back. If you’re not already, please consider talking with the classified leadership and the adjunct leadership, and the FOP and the Engineers directly, without SMT oversight because each group knows what needs to be done to make it easier for them to best serve our students. That’s all anyone here wants, to serve our students to the best of our abilities.
Let’s repair the damage to the fabric of our college while we can.”