During what he called the most difficult day in his 15 years of serving as a president of universities, WSU President Elson S. Floyd on Friday answered questions with Provost Warwick Bayly in a press conference and a later public session about the preliminary budget-reduction plan announced earlier in the day.

Floyd said the plan would eliminate 165 vacant positions and 206 that are filled across the statewide WSU system. But because the plan is preliminary, no one will receive official notice of termination until June 1 at the earliest.

Until June 1, the university is encouraging staff, faculty and students to submit feedback online 
here

. A forum is planned for noon Monday, May 4, in the CUB auditorium.

Advance notice of job openings
WSU will provide a 90-day notice for nearly all employees whose positions are being eliminated, Floyd said.

When asked if faculty whose positions are cut might be hired back as temporary faculty at a lower salary, Floyd said that was not a strategy WSU employed when determining cuts.

Bayly said terminated faculty would have access to a website where they could get notification of job openings two weeks before the openings are announced publicly.

A2P2
Proposed program cuts are compatible with program reorganization and elimination identified in the university’s earlier academic affairs program prioritization (A2P2), Bayly said, citing the elimination of German as a major as an example. German classes at the 100 and 200 levels still would be offered under the plan, he added.

Theater cuts
Citing his commitment to fine arts and theater, the president said he last year dedicated funding to enhancing the “historically underfunded” theater department. But in the current budget climate, those increases could not be sustained.

“In the absence of continuing investment, we would not have a quality theater program,” he said. So the department will be eliminated in the proposed plan.

Theater renovations will go forward, however, since the venues could be used for other performances and academic purposes.

Many won’t pay higher tuition
Concerning tuition, Bayly emphasized that the projected funds derived from the 14 percent increase during each year of the biennium are based on the assumption that there will be no decline in enrollment. He also noted that 1/3 of the money from tuition would come in during 2009-10 and 2/3 of it in 2010-2011.

Floyd noted that each 1 percent increase in tuition represents about $3.3 million in revenue to the university.

Also, because of anticipated increases in financial aid and federal education tax credits, Bayly said WSU expects many students actually will not see tuition increase at all. Only those from families with annual incomes greater than $160,000 are expected to pay more.

For more information on the preliminary budget reduction plan, see
here