Colorado State University-Pueblo is being openly criticized for its actions following the original announcement of its job cuts.
The CSU-Pueblo chapter of the American Association of University Professors has condemned the actions of CSU-Pueblo’s administration in the aftermath of the original announcement of the $3.3 million budget deficit and 50 job cuts.
To get a better understanding of the university’s budget picture, the CSU-Pueblo AAUP chapter has made requests to acquire documents from the university under the Colorado Open Records Act.
A substantial number of emails released in response to those CORA requests begin to answer some of these questions, but raise many more.
The emails suggest that Chancellor Michael Martin saw budget problems at the school long before the current crisis came to light in December.
Emails sent between Martin and CSU’s Chief Financial Officer Richard Schweigert in March of 2013 indicate they both recognized the budget issues facing CSU-Pueblo.
“Joe knew the situation but the folks on campus just didn’t do it,” Martin said, claiming that former CSU-Pueblo President Joe Garcia, the current head of the Colorado Department of Higher Education and Colorado’s sitting lieutenant governor, knew of the budget issues at CSU-Pueblo during his time at the university.
“If they can’t articulate a plan to save themselves, they aren’t a ‘meaningful regional university’ anyhow,” Martin wrote in an email sent in March 2013.
In addition to the AAUP receiving these emails, the Faculty Senate at CSU-Pueblo has also taken steps to voice their disdain towards the administration at CSU-Pueblo, particularly Provost Carl Wright.
The letter said it was imperative that the Faculty Senate shared its concerns with the provost to enhance communication and strengthen the shared governance at the university.
The Faculty Senate highlighted four particular areas of concern for the provost, one of which included the inadequate and inconsistent communication between the two groups, particularly in regards to the latest budget crisis.
Another concern the Faculty Senate highlighted was the provost’s lack of familiarity with CSU-Pueblo students, faculty, programs and polices.
Here the Faculty Senate urged Provost Wright to enhance his familiarity with programs, policies and culture at CSU-Pueblo.
The Faculty Senate also produced a resolution after this last meeting supporting the academic freedom and First Amendment rights of professor Tim McGettigan.
“We deplore the fact that his Internet access was cut off, apparently without due process, after he sent a message containing his opinions about the proposed budget cuts at his university,” the resolution said.
In the resolution the Faculty Senate also called upon administrators and the Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System to reassert the rights of faculty.
The CSU Board of Governors voted unanimously on Feb. 14, to give CSU-Pueblo $5 million to help the university balance the budget. However, the school must still continue with its plans to reduce expenses by $3.3 million for the 2014-15 fiscal year.