University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod and his administration are taking the right approach to getting the university’s finances in order.
The chancellor and interim Provost Carl Lejuez have been forthright in explaining the need for $20 million in budget cuts. They deserve credit for holding meetings with staff to discuss the reductions and for listening to ideas from faculty and staff. Most importantly, they have made it clear that the university must impose fiscal discipline by ensuring the university has the funding to cover its operating costs, something it isn’t clear was happening in the past.
Last Monday, Girod and Lejuez held a university forum to engage faculty and staff on the 5.8 percent, universitywide expense reductions. Girod said the university would need a year or two to get through the 5.8 percent realignment to the budget, but it “will get the university back on track much quicker and put us in charge of our destiny.”
The cuts are difficult and will require trimming resources. But at least there are indications that faculty members feel their concerns are being heard and that their ideas are being considered. …
Lejuez indicated that there could be movement on selling the university’s jet, an often cited example of wasteful and unnecessary spending. And while he made no promises regarding contributions to university operations from KU Athletics and KU Endowment, Lejuez did commit to follow-up meetings with representatives of those entities.
While Girod deserves credit for being forthright and open about the funding cuts, he should set the example for the rest of the university by being fully transparent about the 10 percent reduction in expenses that Girod said the chancellor’s office has taken. The Journal-World has asked the chancellor’s public affairs office for a list of chancellor’s office cuts, but has so far been told only that a specific list of cuts isn’t immediately available. Making those cuts public would underscore Girod’s commitment to sharing in the sacrifices the chancellor is asking others to make for the good of the university.
Girod has raised his stature at KU by being honest and open with faculty and staff about the financial challenges at the university and what is needed to address them. He can further enhance that stature by detailing the cuts the chancellor’s office is imposing.
— The Lawrence Journal-World