Martin’s budget update, “givebacks,” tuition, and athletics

Everyone at EMU received an email from President Susan Martin about the various budget problems.  I include the entire email after the “continued reading” part, but before I get to that, I thought I’d mention three things:

  • I am sure I will be called a “greedy faculty” person for saying this, but I frankly am not particularly interested in giving back any of the modest pay increases that were negotiated in the last contract.  Among other things, a) that contract was in and of itself a significant concession because of difficult budgetary times, b) the increase barely (or perhaps doesn’t for some faculty) cover the increase fees for health insurance, and c) faculty at EMU are generally underpaid as it is.
  • As I have mentioned here many many times before, I think the 0/0/0% was a bad idea, and, as was predicted in this July 2010 article we discussed last year, it is coming back to bite us.  Had we modestly raised tuition and fees last year– say, two or three or four percent– I assume we would have been better prepared for this cut this year.  It would certainly be a heck of a lot easier to pass along a 7% increase.  I am not saying we should increase tuition willy-nilly, and I would agree with the general sentiment that college costs too much as it is.  But the rise in tuition at public universities is directly proportional to the decreases in state funding for higher education of the last 20 or so years, and there is no obvious connection between cost of attendance at a university and enrollment.  None.  Nada.
  • Personally, I would be willing to give up my modest pay raise next year if the administration can provide evidence of an equal dollar value cut to athletics.  If EMU athletics can find a way to cut $3.2 million from their budget– which is what Martin says the university would save if all faculty and staff passed on the contractually negotiated increases in pay for next year– then I’m all for it.  Heck, I’d even split the difference: that is, if Derrick “the payback is that you win” Gragg can come up with $1.6 million in cuts, I am sure that faculty would be willing to forfeit half their pay increases.  But given that Martin mentions absolutely nothing about athletics in her letter, I’m pretty confident that athletics will get to keep the “investment” in winning they are getting for this year.

Oh, and to top it all off– EMU has messed up my spring paycheck.  Jeesh.

Here’s Martin’s email:

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

As we move further in the budget development process, we are identifying more specific information about the scope of the reduction that will take place. Following the approach and guidelines announced as we initiated this process, I am sharing this information with the campus community directly in the spirit of regular communications, openness and transparency.

Our state appropriation for FY 2012 is headed to the Governor’s desk for signature and contains a 15 percent reduction from $76,026,200 to $64,619,100; a reduction of $11,407,100. This is a severe and drastic cut. The Autism Collaborative Center is likely to receive a separate appropriation of $500,000. Our current estimate of enrollment increase for FY 2012 is 1.7 percent.

These are difficult times. This is a difficult process. I have heard the concerns expressed by many of you. I understand the anxiety this has created. While it would be easy to recommend across-the-board reductions to balance the budget or a 7 percent tuition increase (the state appropriation bill includes tuition restraint language that mandates increases be below 7.1 percent at the risk of implementation of additional cuts), we have undertaken a much more difficult task. The economic situation in Michigan continues to place a hardship on many of our students and their families to afford college.

Based on the recommendations from Deans and Executive Council leadership, it appears that at least 70 non-bargained for and bargained for positions are likely to be recommended for elimination and about 20 of those are currently vacant. If all employees were to forgo a pay increase this year the savings would be $3.2 million dollars. To that end, I have asked each bargaining unit to consider forgoing a pay increase this year. I have already announced that the non-bargained for employees will not receive a pay increase in FY 2012 along with elimination of cell phone allowances (except for safety, security, contractual requirements). International travel, discretionary travel, and honoraria are also being reviewed. We have not finalized a recommendation for the Board’s consideration for the FY 2012 budget but strategic investment in academic initiatives along with non-bargained for and bargained for personnel reductions (filled and vacant) are likely to be a part of that final recommendation for the Board’s consideration.

The budget forums, University Budget Council meetings, Faculty Senate and All-Union Council meetings have provided input and resolutions that are being shared with the ad hoc committee of the Board of Regents. Meetings with the ad hoc committee were scheduled on April 22, May 6, May 13, May 20 and June 13.

A key element of the process has been the development of a “roadmap” of potential savings. This is designed to provide a comprehensive assessment of savings opportunities in order for the Board of Regents to evaluate the budget impact of various levels of tuition and fees for next year.

The state funding reduction of $11.4 million and the projected increase in year-to-year operating expenses of approximately $12 million for next year leaves a total operating budget shortfall estimated at $23 – $24 million. The primary means of addressing the shortfall are increased tuition and fees and budget cuts.

The estimated $12 million increase in year-to-year expenditures is due primarily to:

  • $3.3 million increase in personnel costs (largely driven by contract agreements);
  • $3.3 million increase in financial aid (approved previously);
  • $1.9 million in higher health care costs;
  • $900,000 for additional operating costs for the Science Complex and Athletics’ Title IX compliance;
  • $800,000 for additional instruction costs assuming an enrollment increase
    of 2 percent; and,
  • Contingency and other expenses estimated at $1.6 million.

The guiding principles we instituted and communicated previously provide a framework for the budget impact analysis that is taking place. Potential savings are being reviewed relative to their impact on institutional priorities — building on our positive momentum and growth; preserving and enhancing academic quality; and, maintaining a positive campus experience for students.

In determining funding reductions, we are looking at administrative areas first. The number of faculty and lecturers appears likely to increase slightly based on current trends of hiring and departures, reaffirming our commitment to a high quality education for our students.

Other actions are under consideration and will continue to be reviewed in the new fiscal year. This includes evaluating and consolidating shared services — areas in which people are performing similar job functions in different divisions and departments. A significant reduction in the budget for travel also will be implemented. We will have more news on these items in the days and weeks ahead, and plan further informational updates as we proceed.

The actions that we put in place by July 1 will put us on the road to addressing our budget challenges. It is important to note, however, that additional measures will likely be necessary in the 2012 fiscal year and in developing our 2013 fiscal year budget, given the uncertainties ahead.

I understand this is a challenging time, but I am determined, with your help, to move forward and continue the outstanding work we do to provide opportunity for an excellent and affordable education to Michigan citizens. Ideas and suggestions are always welcomed and appreciated. Please feel free to contact me with any cost saving suggestions at

Susan Martin



35 thoughts on “Martin’s budget update, “givebacks,” tuition, and athletics

  1. It definitely sounds like it’s time to start asking questions of the President, and insisting that she answers the questions asked this time. She, for all her talk of transparency, has become more willing to fall back on evasion in her interactions with the faculty.

    Questions like:

    How much of the budget cut will the Athletics program carry?
    What precisely will be downsized from Athletics?
    What are the details of the $9M increase in operating expenses?
    Why have healthcare costs increased?

    And most importantly,

    What is her vision for the future of EMU – are we moving toward an adjunct-led education? What role, if any, does the faculty union play in the future of Eastern? Will the tenure system be eliminated?

    Enough evasion. We need answers, guidance for planning our personal and professional futures.

    Patrick Koehn
    Physics and Astronomy


  2. Thanks Patrick for your suggestions. I just responded to President Martin’s email asking some of the questions you outlined in your response. I think it would be prudent for more of us to ask those hard questions otherwise our silence indicates our compliance. Frankly, I think these ‘hard times’ (a Dickens quote) require EMU step back and relinquish its obsession with Division I football. Most of my students could care less about EMU athletics. I’m not saying we get rid of all athletics, but we need to downsize our football team and be realistic about what we can afford. I’m sorry, but President Martin can’t ask (or demand) that faculty and staff and administrators sacrifice their pay while one segment of the university skates without any sacrifice, and indeed receives an increased budget. Not only is that scenario unfair in any reality, but it lends the perception within and without the university that education isn’t important.


    • “Downsize our football team”???? We are currently a FBS school (formerly Division 1-A)

      Should we drop to an FCS school (formerly Division 1-AA) or Division 2?

      How does dropping to Divison 2 where we will play schools like Saginaw Valley or Tiffin generate revenue compared to us under our current position playing Penn State and Michigan at $500K-$750K a game?

      Please enlighten me as to how such should be done and save us money.


      • Well, seeing as how the football team COSTS Eastern millions of dollars every year, the relative pittance it brings in would no longer be needed. Football is a losing proposition. Losing money. Losing games. Losing brand equity for Eastern.

        This is a university that apparently paid more than $1 million to try to coax people to its games last year. How did that work out? Well, they still had to get Pepsi to pay for tens of thousands of tickets to bring “attendance” to a paltry 15,000 per game. Pathetic!

        Eastern is about to throw 50 people out on the street, yet clings to its losing football program as if anyone outside the Convocation Center and Welch Hall wants it. How does this happen in today’s world?


      • You did not answer my questions…merely tossed out very tired rhetoric.

        We drop football a a FBS program and we are out of the MAC (Mid-American Conference for you faculty)….

        No more EMU Baseball playing and beating UM 2 of 3 or beating MSU (Big Ten champs).

        No more winning Ohio States Men’s Golf Tourney.

        No more EMU Cross Country beating UM, MSU, Notre Dame on a regular basis.

        Far fewer times when students from outside 50 miles of EMU will recognize the name “Eastern Michigan University” (Wright State is huge in Ohio yet unknown outside 50 miles of Dayton. GVSU is relatively unknown outside of MI.)

        A “Million” for EMU Football marketing last season? Really? Cite your source buddy to support that claim!

        Again dropping support for the WEMU would save over a million…oh wait…I address that at the bottom of this thread.


      • Sorry EMU96GRAD, I see no rhetoric, tired or otherwise.

        It is a fact that EMU Football costs EMU millions each year, and that cost is not offset by the revenues. Not even close.

        It is a fact that EMU has spent a great deal of money to generate interest in sporting events like football. I have seen posters, heard radio ads, seen announcements on the expensive new electronic billboards on campus, etc. No new interest was generated. This effort failed.

        It is a fact that Pepsi (contractually) bought enough football tickets to help us maintain our Div1 status. What they did with those tickets is anybody’s guess – there were no more or fewer attendees at the games.

        It is a fact that around 50 people in one division of the university are about to be laid off.

        I have no argument against your facts – they seem likely to be true. But if you balance your facts with their effects on EMU as a whole, there really is no argument. There simply must be reductions in the Athletics division. If this means football, so be it. If this means a division shift, so be it.

        It seems to me that a move in divisions really won’t change much except who our opponents are. The sports activities themselves won’t necessarily be eliminated. If this is untrue, then correct me, by all means.


      • About the $million on sports marketing. As I understand it, this funding came from a combo of athletics and the university marketing department. It *might* be under a million total, but my sources tell me that’s close. Talk to Scott Schulz in athletics or Ted Coutlish in marketing about the spending if you are interested.

        Many of us in the community enjoy athletics. We just don’t want to see Eastern mortgage its academic soul to pay for something that has (at the risk of being repetitive) NO market value. A proven fact. No amount of spending and “the payback is you win” rhetoric will change that fact. “Market value” means the market will value (pay for) it. Not happening. Not now, not ever.

        In your anger over this situation, ask yourself this: if people cared about athletics – if ANYONE outside the department and upper administration really cared about athletics – then why are these fans never at the games? Even when they are paid, through incentives and giveaways, to come?

        Eastern has a lot more “fans” paying to go to class, doesn’t it? And they don’t need the ball-and-chain of a multi-million-dollar sport adding to their financial burden.

        The MAC is a miserable-to-mediocre conference, as measured by its national success and respect level. Who outside the midwest even knows it exists? So what if Eastern has to move to a different conference due to cutting football? There are plenty of D1 conferences that don’t require football. And the athletics programs that DO win – and do so at a tiny fraction of football’s costs – aren’t going to suffer due to leaving the pathetic MAC.


      • Solidarity – I asked for citable links or verifiable sources from anyone to prove the million dollar claim.

        In return you allude to hearsay sources and then begin to backtrack slightly on the million dollar total. Such immediately begins to call into question credibility.

        Then you make reference to Scott and Ted. Red flags again because their last names are actually “Schultz” and “Coutilish”.

        Patrick K – The cuts will, and in some cases, already is, tough to bear and quite unfortunate when many offices and departments are understaffed. What I find interesting on the attacks to EMU Athletics on here is that it is seemingly fine to cut programs (jobs) in athletics in the eyes of many. Is that because it wouldn’t be an example of NIMBY for many on here? Make cuts, just not in my back yard.


      • No argument there – cuts will be tough, and *will* happen. What I am insisting on is that the cuts be shared appropriately among the units of the University. It’s not a not-in-my-backyard argument. It’s a make-sure-everyone’s-yard-shares-the-load argument, which has a much less catchy acronym.


  3. This is second time in this process that I’ve seen operating costs for the MJ Science Complex lumped together with Title IX compliance. Anyone know why? I have my own cynical ideas, but I’m interested in something more closely approximating fact.


  4. Good question, End User. The operating costs for the Science Complex (a new cost) and those for the “Title IX compliance” are lumped together so as to hide how much new spending is going to Athletics. And it’s being hidden in a way that is ineffective. The Title IX spending is also, really, just new money spent to sustain football: the $6 million plus expense. We need not spend even a dollar on Title IX compliance, except for the obsession of some decision makers on keeping this deadweight.


  5. I don’t see much in the way of shared sacrifice going on, here. Let’s be brutally honest about this: it is fine for the University President to forgo her raise (which, in her own words at the time was “modest” at about 2.5% this year and 3% next year), but how about a comparison of base salaries and cost of living and commuting? Oh, right, the president makes a base salary of nearly 300k and lives in University-provided housing within walking distance of campus.

    Me, I make less than 33k after more than 10 years of full time teaching on this campus, and EMU has yet to build me a mansion. Gee, maybe that’s what I’ll request for my 20-year service recognition gift. (And seriously – I don’t need an EMU toaster or food processor- how about we save that money and spend it on “education first,” instead?) 2% of my salary amounts to less than $650. That’s chump change to the University, but it covers some of the increased cost of gas, for me to get to work.

    Now I really don’t mind that University presidents are well-paid and I’m not actually complaining about my own pay either, but we shouldn’t pretend that the implications of President Martin’s voluntary GIVE-back are anything like the implications of the proposed TAKE-back for those of us who are at the lower end of the pay scale, either in personal terms, or in terms of improvements to the University’s bottom line.

    And more to the point: I see no evidence so far that these take-backs represent anything other than a short term fix to a long term problem of poor spending decisions and misplaced priorities. What will they try to take back, next year?


  6. EMU could cut quite a bit of the budget simply by eliminating redundancy in the administration and structure of the institution.

    The first place I would begin would be The Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Accountability. Faculty are forced to spend far too much time (that should be spent in the classroom or library) doing various assessments and reviews and reports that are a huge time suck and that produce no results. Most of our programs are accredited by professional organizations in our fields, but the University also insists on cumbersome program reviews and incomprehensible Student Learning Outcome Assessments. This process could be and should be streamlined. If a program is acredited by, say, NCATE, is there really a need to spend money to do several more entirely separate in-house reviews?

    Also, the Board of Regents has a highly paid secretary, um, vice president that is costing the U quite a bit as well.

    And, yes, then there’s athletics. Good luck getting the good ol’ boys on the BoR to budge on that one!


  7. Here is the letter that I sent out to our membership at EMU Federation of Teachers:

    Dear Members,

    Yesterday, as president of EMU Federation of Teachers, I was asked to meet with President Sue Martin and the head of Academic Human Resources, Don Ritzenhein. The meeting was called by President Martin to discuss the budget issues at Eastern Michigan University. At this meeting, President Martin asked us to forfeit the 2% raise contractually due to all Full Time Lecturers on September 2nd. We pointed out to the President that the 2% raises of all Full Time Lecturers equals less than $75,000. This is not a significant savings to the university and is a real hardship for our members. It is important to also remember that we agreed to only a 1.25% increase in pay in 2009 to offset healthcare costs for the university.
    Our unit has a median salary of only $36, 053, less than most any other unit on campus and to ask for a take back of any portion of the raises we negotiated in good faith is unacceptable.

    We are aware of the difficult economic climate in which the University is operating; however, we feel it is irresponsible for the university to try to balance its budget, once again, on the backs of its educators. This request for take-backs of raises is being asked of all the university unions. The unions on this campus have been fiscally sensitive to the rising costs of health care and within their respective contract negotiations have accepted raises that did not keep up with cost of living, as well as higher deductibles, and premiums, to help the university’s bottom line. Thus we call on President Martin and the Board of Regents to recognize all of the sacrifices that have already been made by all of the campus unions. We stand in solidarity with our fellow unions in rejecting this unreasonable short term fix to long term budgetary issues.

    In Solidarity,
    Sonya Alvarado
    EMU Federation of Teachers


  8. Do you want to find somewhere to cut a million dollars?

    Do you?

    Try cutting the huge million dollar plus subsidy to WEMU!

    “Lumm noted that EMU subsidized WEMU with more than $1 million of general appropriations and administrative support. Lumm said that’s 60 percent of the budget for WEMU…”

    In over 20 years of being at Eastern Michigan in various capacities I have never seen how WEMU serves the EMU community. They certainly do not serve the students to the tune of warranting over a million dollars a year to play NPR news and smooth jazz to the Ann Arbor Community.

    Turn it over to the EMU Communications Department and make it a student run station.

    Lastly, Oedipa Maas? You wrote: “Also, the Board of Regents has a highly paid secretary, um, vice president that is costing the U quite a bit as well.”

    I could not agree more with that assessment. That whole situation has the odor of week old fish.


    • When it comes to WEMU (and just about everything else on campus), it boils down to a “fair share.” I think cutting WEMU entirely would be bad because they are a tremendous asset to EMU and the entire community. Frankly, they are the only “real news” operation left in Washtenaw county, and they’re a nationally recognized leader in jazz music programming. There are a lot of connections and benefits to EMU with that. Plus they promote EMU, they play EMU sporting events, they do give opportunities to EMU students and alumni, etc., etc.

      And besides all that, they already have taken lots of cuts, at least their fair share.


    • WEMU is one of the largest fund-raising units at EMU, and it has more listeners every week of the year than EMU athletics have as paying spectators in a whole year. Which one contributes more value to the university’s image & reputation? WEMU has a national reputation for doing what it does well, year in and year out. And hey, it’s also educational! More EMU students over the years have brought up to me something interesting they heard on WEMU than have brought up EMU football or basketball.

      I think WEMU raises more money by asking people to send in a check than EMU sports raise by selling tickets to actual fans. (The Pepsi contract purchased tickets doesn’t count)


  9. What I find amusing about your support of WEMU is that nearly every argument you make on their behalf can be made on a far grander scale to support EMU Athletics.

    WEMU does a terrible job covering EMU sporting events. They do no pre-game or post-game shows like CMU and WMU does on their radio “networks”. (2-3 hours shows with fan call-ins both before and after the games.) I pull into the parking lot for a football game 30 minutes before kick-off and hear smooth jazz on WEMU. Less than 10 minutes after an EMU football game and WEMU is already back playing smooth jazz…or doing and NPR news report.

    EMU Athletics fully realizes the lacking support from WEMU, at least two years ago they began increasing the number of internet broadcasts of games without using the “efforts” of WEMU.

    What few benefits WEMU truly provides the university can be done as a student run-faculty/school supervised station at a FAR lower cost, and a dramatic increase in benefiting the efforts of students in germane fields of study.

    How does being known as a great jazz station helped EMU? Major donations? A world class jazz program in the Music Department? A thriving student broadcasting program?

    Finally to those who hate EMU Athletics? Please go talk to the faculty and students in the prospering Sports Medicine programs at EMU and ask them how having NCAA D-I athletics helps big time in student training. Several other programs can be used as examples as well…

    How many students does WEMU in their current format benefit by providing training within their field of study?


    • There are some valid points in your arguments, that cannot be denied. WEMU should be held to budget cuts like any other division of this university. And they have already. That does not mean that they should be cut completely however. This is the same thing that is being said about athletics. They are a much larger portion of the budget compared to WEMU, and you have implied yourself that they have similar value to the community so the argument could be made for cutting both programs by a similar percentage.

      I can see an argument for D-1 athletics in house being a help for say the sports management/administration programs, sure. But what I do not see is how paying for a monstrous D-1 football or basketball program is justified by the sports medicine students. Would they not get the same valuable experience working with some of the other sports, the ones that are both less expensive and more successful than their larger counterparts, or football and basketball teams in a lower division?


  10. Hello EMU96GRAD — If you want great coverage of EMU athletics, check out The Eastern Echo, available in print all over campus and all over town or online 24-7 at Let’s take football for an example – the Echo sports crew writes a preview for each game, a game story and a sidebar on the coach’s post-game review, plus the paper/website also do player and coach profiles and videos of the game highlights and coach’s post-game press conference. If you need your EMU athletics fix, check out the Echo.


  11. Here is a suggestion that someone else made today and I think is a good one: eliminate the Associate Dean positions. If deans need someone to attend a meeting for them, department heads could do this. Most work done by AD’s seem to be work that could be done by significantly lower paid administrative assistants. Just a thought and suggestion.


    • Laker, I disagree. Associate deans are essential to running colleges within a university this large. Workhorses, working at the core mission of the university – “education first.”


      • Mark, when we clearly identify the actual tasks that ADs do – in light of the budget ‘crisis’ we are in – it might be good to see how much of that job could be done by ‘administrative assistants’. This would be a big savings for the university. Often, I’ve observed, layers upon layers of jobs are created in ‘good’ times and then these layers need to re-examined in ‘not so good’ times. The ‘real world’ does this all of the time. Academia has to face that it’s time to do this. The ‘essential’ tasks might be done just as well by significantly-less paid admin assts. (or the deans themselves) and send the ADs back to the classroom? I really don’t see how the ADs contribute to the Education First priority at all.


      • Fair comments, Laker. But I believe I have a fair idea of what associate deans do, here and at other universities, and it’s essential work. Should be someone with faculty rank. As one administrator said to me about your suggestion — “what do associate deans do? Everything that the Dean gets credit for, and more.”


  12. I find all of these concerns quite valid. The whole concept of college is to educate students who are paying to receive an education. The Science Complex should not be lumped into anything related to athletics. If Martin is about transparency, she, and the BoR ought to fess up to why the two are being lumped into one.

    Martin’s ‘modest’ 2.5 – 3% raise (on top of a close to 300k salary) is nothing to sniff at. Many suit positions pay significantly high salaries; Lumm, his finance AVP (Jaeckel), who has made it clear that she is destined for better places that pay more money, the controller, the budget director and director of business services (who is also responsible for parking) pull down in excess of 750k, including fringes. That’s just one division. Look at the layers in marketing and communications, look at the, once part-time secretary to the board position, now important-enough-to-Wilbanks to become a VP position, who makes close to 140k including bene’s and fringes.

    Instead of pecking away at the dedicated faculty and instructors that actually spend time educating the students, peck away at the ridiculous redundancy and excess that exists within Welch Hall and Hover.


  13. I have mixed feelings here. On the one hand, I’d like to keep my raise as much as the next person. And I’ll be as royally irked as anyone else if athletics doesn’t take its fair share of cuts; I’ll also be amazed if athletics gets cut at a meaningful level.

    But on the other hand, I have students in my class this term who are truly struggling to pay the tab on their education as it is. I’ll have a hard time looking them in the eye if they’re priced out of EMU so my colleagues and I can get a raise. And I’ll have an equally hard time accepting layoffs of any EMU employees — to say nothing of the resulting chaos in the form of the insane bumping scenario — so those of us who remain can get raises. The tenured faculty are probably safe in believing that we won’t be laid off if all of the bargained for raises stay in place; the other bargaining units may be taking more of a risk.

    If there’s an excess of administrators (or non-teaching staff) at Eastern, I’d sure like to know where they are. Student Affairs? Physical Plant? Board of Regents? I honestly don’t know. Every office with which I’ve ever had any contact (most of them are in Academic Affairs, I’ll admit) is woefully understaffed.


  14. Tanbark, I hear you, but just to put things in perspective: About 45% of instructional personnel on this campus are not tenure-track, and are not well-paid. They also are really, honestly, struggling to make ends meet so that they can continue to educate EMU’s students. Forgoing a raise is a real hardship for some and isn’t just about padding their bank accounts.

    It would be one thing to ask for wage give-backs if it was clear what the plan would be, either in the absence of give-backs, or after give-backs occur. Neither exists. President Martin cannot (or will not) articulate these, even when directly asked by the unions. It has been said that some 50 positions may be in jeopardy, but no info is forthcoming about which 50 positions, or how such decisions might be made, or what the resulting reorganization might look like. There has been no promise that wage give-backs will prevent these (or other) jobs from being cut, anyway.

    In the absence of such plans, what is the basis for believing that these give-backs will “fix” the “problem?” Do we even have a clear handle on what the problem actually is, and what its root causes may be? Based on the numbers I have seen and the arguments I have heard, unfortunately, I think the answer to that is “no.”


  15. Under President Martin, EMU’s leadership has made much progress and it is important to acknowledge that. But it is also true that in three years, she has failed to seriously address the great strategic imbalance in our spending categories — what’s vital, what’s not. Given that failure, there is little reason anybody in a union on this campus would look favorably on the request to forego raises agreed to in their contracts: Give up the money, for what? For football? For the inept budget managers who didn’t see the big state cuts coming that others forecast? Give up the raise in hopes that someday the managers who use cliches as substitutes for decisions will start seriously addressing real waste and meeting real needs?

    All the decisions on budgetary matters are in the hands of a few administrators and regents who, as a group, have no contact whatsoever with students and education and the reasons for EMU’s existence. Something is very wrong with this picture.


  16. I have to agree with you EMUVet. Of course, all of the suits are familiar with college, having attended many, many years ago – when tuition was (much) less and when state aid was (much) more.

    Now that they are pulling (very) decent six figure incomes, have (very) nice vehicles paid for and sweet parachutes, sll at tax payers expense and have (very) cushy lives. It is (very) easy for them to be distanced from the battlefield, doing so much more with so much less.

    Larger classes, fewer classrooms, swing space, suits being combative in UBC – bantering, crude emails blowing back and forht. And transparency (?), once again, becoming just a catch word. The suits (still) have (far) too many perks and benefits that are (well) hidden. The salaries of (most) of them could provide (much) needed direct support to faculty. After all, faculty provide direct aid to guide the future leaders.

    It becomes a case of the fat (getter fatter) and the thin being shaken down for the leftovers. Keep fighting, do not give in.


    • Good points by Geena and EMUVet.

      So why is it that the people with their hands on the accounts have no accountability?

      Why are they permitted to make bad decisions (0% last year)
      upon bad decisions (continually increased spending for football)
      upon bad decisions (ignoring clear indications of major cuts from the state)
      upon bad decisions (not including anyone in decisions that will affect them, ignoring cost-saving ideas)
      upon bad decisions (hiring many new people at the top and paying way-above-market-value salaries)…
      and STILL have no accountability? In fact, they COMPOUND the bad decisions by not remediating where possible – for example, when they could raise tuition the full 7% and cut at the top, not the bottom?

      I also wonder, where is this kind of discussion happening, other than on this Web site? There seems to be a fair amount of consensus and information sharing here. Where else? In what locations where it might be heard by the decision makers and by the public (who pays most of EMU’s bills)?


  17. This discussion occurs with the emails and phone calls between the suits and the [powerhead] BoRs (Wilbanks, Stapleton, Parker, Sidlik) being the primary commandants. Incarnati was their business-sense balance. Now that he is gone, it will become a literal pandora’s box. Martin has been whipped into line – primarily by Wilbanks. Lumm is towing the line and we all know (clearly) that Wilbanks and Stapleton are pulling his line and both regents have strong, strong investments in athletics (at ALL costs) and Eagle Crest. They will hide any increases in athletic expenditures that they can every chance they get. Remember: Eagle Crest is another albatross weighing down the boat.

    So many people bark (esp the BoR) to dump WEMU, when in fact, Eagle Crest is a lost ship with a gaping hole in the hull and athletics (primarily football) has (virtually) always been a lost cause. Willie and Stapes won’t give them up until they are gone from the university. And even then, they will probably still attempt to yank the chains.

    Wilbanks’ term should be coming up soon. The new governor is seeking strong, strong cutbacks. If EMU’s BoR does not comply, when terms are up, re-ups won’t be imminent. The BoR has power here – but, we finally have a governor that is more powerful and can, and may, take them down.

    Those are just my thoughts having seen and heard quite a bit over the years.


    • Well, I’m not counting on Snyder or any other governor to do anything different with BoR appointments. Essentially, members of the BoR are some combination of local/EMU interest (say what you want about Wilbanks, but he’s been connected with EMU for 40 years) and/or political patronage. That’s it. No one is appointed to the BoR based on how well they will do the job or what-have-you, IMO.


      • One thing I have pondered is the reasoning behind why some universities having elected board members and some having elected members. After all, each is an entity of the state and one would think rules governing such appointments would be standardized. Why the difference? Having an elected BoR at EMU carries the potential to make a huge difference in governance.


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