Good afternoon. Over the years in serving as your university president, I’ve learned one really good lesson. And that is that trust and communication are vital for Clemson University to be as successful as she can be. That’s even more true in the midst of a crisis, and I believe we are in the midst of a crisis.
The General Assembly is meeting now to decide what our final cuts will be for this round of reductions. We think we have an idea of what that’s going to be, and we’re planning accordingly.
Let me show you how these three rounds of budget cuts actually shape up:
The first cut came in July; then followed one in August and one in October. The campus has worked very hard on these cuts already through the August cut.
Those numbers for E&G are $3.02 million dollars for July; $1.23 for PSA. For August: $3.33 million for E&G, and PSA $1.54 million. This round of cuts, which are going to be much more severe: $10.70 million for E&G and $4.98 million for PSA.
The total, then, of cuts for E&G: $17.05 million, and $7.75 million for PSA. The total here, as you can see, would be the combination of those two: $24.8 million dollars in total cuts this year.
Those numbers are abstract numbers. Let me put it into some perspective for you as to what those cuts would mean:
They are the equivalent of the E&G portion of the entire College of Business and Behavioral Science. Or, you could see it as the entire E&G budget for the College of Health, Education and Human Development and the Library. Or, the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities and the School of Nursing combined.
You get an idea of the challenge that we face: it’s very serious and very severe. We don’t need to be discouraged, but we need to be realistic. We are in the midst of a crisis.
We have had some great suggestions from the campus on how to generate additional revenue and how to manage these cuts, and we’re taking each of those suggestions very seriously. Some will take some time to implement. But we want to use the ones that are immediate - that will help us solve this immediate problem - and then take some time to implement the others over a period of time. It is important for me to say, though, that it will be very hard to do this without impacting people.
The next steps we will be doing will be to gather the best ideas from the various budget areas of the campus. I’m chairing a group that will receive those, and our group is working on University-wide solutions to this problem and how we might manage it. The combination of those two will be the path that we’ll take going forward.
We’ve launched a website, and we think that website will be the place where you can go and check on ideas that other people have generated. Hopefully, it will inspire you to make suggestions as well.
But let’s put all this in perspective: We have made tremendous progress, even in difficult budget times – none as serious as this – but we’ve made progress. We need to recognize the fact that we’re now the 22nd best public university in the United States. We have some of America’s happiest students, they are engaged in their learning and they’re enjoying Clemson University. Our faculty and staff are dedicated people who enjoy coming to work in the morning. That’s a great combination. We need to hold to that as we manage this crisis that we’re in.
A crisis can bring out the best in people - it can bring out the best in a university - and I believe that will be true for Clemson. If anybody can do this, Clemson can do it. Thank you very much.