Admin’s Illusion of Inclusion: Still no budget transparency

June 10, 2021 / PSU-AAUP

Over the past year University Administration has done a good job perpetuating their illusion of inclusion. Budget town halls and the Provost’s ReImagine/Academic Program Reduction/ dashboard meetings meant to include PSU employees regarding budget issues, yet they resulted in no new information. We were given non-answers to the questions posed, and we know nothing more despite our repeated requests for budget transparency. Instead, these meetings are nothing but an illusion of including PSU employees in what feels like pre-determined budgetary decisions.  

Here’s what we do know:

  • Long-term enrollment models beyond two years are unreliable, yet long-term budgetary decisions are being made based on these unreliable numbers. 
  • Quantitative dashboards are being created to “measure” revenue generating units. We don’t know how non-revenue generating units are being measured (to say nothing of how problematic quantitative measures are, especially given the qualitative impact we have on students).
  • The Provost’s ReImagine campaign funds are NOT coming from COVID-19 relief dollars, yet we don’t have an answer where the money is coming from.
  • Administration swept $2.5 million of unspent funds from CLAS, yet is still asking the unit to make a 6.5% budget decrease.
  • We are still in a pandemic.

PSU-AAUP has filed a grievance over the program reduction process, requesting program reduction to be placed on pause until Winter 2022, when the pandemic has hopefully passed. (We’ll keep you posted!)

We also received some interesting news from Clackamas Community College, which has also been undergoing program reduction and elimination efforts. Their President, Tim Cook, declared that program reduction and elimination efforts would cease for the next three years, while certain programs of the College would receive additional institutional focus and support. The President stated “Due to additional federal funding, the need to reduce or eliminate any programs or subject areas was no longer necessary." PSU-AAUP firmly believes the same can happen at Portland State.

Until Administration’s illusion of inclusion morphs into real inclusion and transparent budgets, we’ll continue to pester them for meaningful inclusion in budgetary discussion and decisions and true budget transparency.

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