Budget cuts preserve academics, affect most other areas

by Angela Webber

The Lewis & Clark budget for 2010-11 was approved by the Board of Trustees during their meeting last Thursday and Friday. This budget increased CAS tuition by four percent, eliminated one position, froze salaries, and reduced the College’s contribution to most employee’s retirement plans from 10 to nine percent of salaries. The budget was all passed except for a new short-term investment policy which was tabled to be reexamined at the Board’s May meeting.

Dean of the College Julio De Paula said that those creating the new budget wanted to assure that the academic core of the College was maintained, and looked elsewhere to make necessary cuts.

The biggest change in structuring came from the change to a College-run bookstore. The bookstore will also be absorbing the retail computer sales function of the Computer Purchasing Program (CPP) in IT. The IT department had to reduce its budget by $127,000 according to Chief Technology Officer Dan Terrio. Terrio saw this budget reduction as a “puzzle” to make cuts without reducing services to students and staff, and realized that some personnel cuts would need to be made. Terrio eliminated the Administrative Coordinator position in IT, meaning that 10-year employee and alumna Nancy Magnus (’71) lost her job.

The two staff positions in the CPP will remain, and these two employees will take some of the Administrative Coordinator functions once the bookstore takes over computer retail sales this summer. Terrio expects this transition to take several months. IT will continue to handle the purchasing departmental computers.

The layoff of Magnus caused concern, especially in the IT department. These concerns were exacerbated by the announcement on The Source about the budget that said that positions were maintained and emphasized the net gain of 3.5 positions. The Source revised the story on Wednesday in response to these concerns.

“Anytime that you are in a situation where there are cuts it’s concerning,” said Associate Director of Human Resources Kris Codron. “Whether it’s budget cuts, or personnel cuts, or program cuts, or even classes – whatever it is, it’s concerning to the people involved. And the best thing you can do is be as honest and caring as you can, and try to provide whatever resources you can.” Codron also confirmed that Magnus was the only layoff that occurred on Friday.

The rest of the College’s budget focused on maintaining the College’s academic mission, according to Dean de Paula. “The main concern is, whatever happens financially, the core academic mission of the College needs to be preserved, and if possible, strengthened,” said De Paula, who added that the maintaining of the core is intended to give LC a “better competitive edge against schools that did not maintain their academic core,” once the financial crisis has passed.

The short-term investment policy was created by Carl Vance in response to the College’s cash reserves being at a high. Vance revised the policy, which currently allows investment of $1 million at a time, in order to allow the College to invest more of the money. The new policy would expect a gain of $400,000 in investment income. This policy was not passed by the Board. Interim President Jane Atkinson said that there were worries and the Board “wanted to make certain LC doesn’t take risks.” The Board will be seeking “greater understanding and confidence” with the investment committee before passing the policy, which will be discussed in May.

The Board of Trustees made other decisions at their summit, including the approval of honorary degrees for commencement speakers at the schools as well as a decision to offer an honorary degree to Supreme Court Justice Sonja Sotomayor if she visits LC within the next year.

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