October 26, 2015 Update

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Colleagues, 

First, thank you all for making my early weeks as your interim chancellor so welcoming. The commitment to SIU Carbondale that I have witnessed makes me optimistic that we will get past the immediate challenges we face and remain a strong, vibrant institution. 

It is about those challenges that I write. I have spent much of my early time assessing our budget situation. As you know, the university has already done significant belt-tightening in anticipation of a decreased state budget and recognition of what I hope will be a temporary enrollment decline. 

However, even with the cuts already planned, the ongoing lack of a state budget means that we must further tighten our belts in order to support continued operations through the spring semester and the remainder of the fiscal year. It’s important to remember that the reduction may be larger than we have anticipated. In addition, even when a state budget is approved, we may not see our cash reimbursements from the state for many months afterwards. 

Given the seriousness of this unprecedented situation, we must put in place some additional, immediate measures to minimize spending until the budget picture is clearer.  These measures are not intended to be permanent, but to ensure that we are being very conservative in our spending in the event of a continued delay in a state budget as well as final appropriations. 

Therefore, we are taking the following steps: 

  • All hiring from any funding source (excluding external grants) will be limited to positions necessary to maintain the core mission of the university and essential supporting services. Effective immediately, chancellor approval is required on the position request form (PRF) for all full-time positions. Requests should be forwarded through the appropriate vice chancellor, who will forward them to the chancellor as needed. For clarification of the status of previously approved positions, please contact your vice chancellor’s office. 
  • All current extra-help positions will be reviewed at the vice chancellor level. Those paid from external grant funds may continue as necessary. Positions that are involved in revenue-generating activities and are self-supporting (i.e., the revenue is sufficient to cover salary expenses) may continue if no other staffing options are available. All other positions should be terminated by Nov. 30. Any exceptions will require prior approval from the chancellor. 
  • In the absence of state reimbursements, the careful management of expenses regardless of funding source is critical at this time. Therefore, all spending, including the purchase of goods, services and travel, should be delayed from all funding sources (with the exception of external grants) to the extent possible in order to conserve cash. Please be aware that the procurement of even the smallest items can add up across the campus. 

These restrictions will remain in place until the state budget is finalized and possibly until we receive our allocation. I will keep you posted. Again, these temporary measures are not intended to signal a long-term change in how positions are approved and spending is handled once the state budget is resolved. The lack of a state budget, uncertainty about what that budget will be, and uncertainty about when we will actually receive the appropriation mean that we must take these emergency measures to conserve our funds. 

One final, important note: In order to continue to fulfill our commitment to students, we are moving forward to approve graduate assistantship contracts for spring 2016. An updated graduate assistantship appointment form requires the inclusion of a short job description. 

I assure you that with your help, we will continue to open our doors to students and fulfill our mission. These are challenging times, but I remain confident that we will overcome them together. 

Sincerely,

Brad Colwell
Interim Chancellor