In a time of extreme budget cuts, there’s somehow room in the budget cuts for faculty raises.
At the Faculty Senate meeting last week, USF administrators stated they were looking to cut $12 million from this year’s budget, $9 million of which would be coming from Academic Affairs and its support units, such as the Library and Office of Graduate Studies.
And yet in a time when $9 million has to be taken out of academics, the school can afford merit raises for faculty.
While it isn’t that faculty are not deserving of raises, this doesn’t seem like the appropriate time when the $8 million USF President Judy Genshaft has pledged to them to come from the same budget being cut.
According to Genshaft, the university is continuing to look for new sources of revenue as the university has been “boxed in by the Legislature,” pressuring universities to become more efficient without allowing an increase in tuition from students.
Genshaft said the university would need more “full-paying students” and would try to recruit them.
While it is unclear what this means exactly, it sounds as though the university may resort to recruiting in richer communities that can afford to pay tuition in full, potentially damaging one of the university’s most valuable qualities — accessibility.
So instead of investing $8 million in faculty merit raises in a year in which the state is already providing a small, though existent, yearly bonus, perhaps the university could consider investing that $8 million in areas such as scholarships that would allow the university to remain accessible or invest it toward bettering the quality of the academic services currently available.
The Library hours may have been restored, but as the university prepares to restore its cash reserves, perhaps it should keep its priorities in mind, students being first.
USF is a university and an institution for higher education, not a business.