Resolutions proposed to faculty council advise budget cuts for athletics, not academics

Erin Douglas

Two resolutions concerning recommended funding cuts for Colorado State University athletics are in faculty council committees this week, written and proposed by two faculty members.

One resolution, currently being reviewed by the Committee on Strategic and Financial Planning, advises administration to direct budget cuts from the decrease in state funding to the athletics department. Another resolution, currently being reviewed by the Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics, advises administration to terminate the football program entirely.

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Facing a $3.8-million loss of state funding to CSU’s Fort Collins campus, the University expects to compensate for the loss by a 2 percent reallocation of funds from any unit across campus that receives funding from the education and general budget, said Mary Stromberger, faculty council chair.

“(The loss of funding) is just another sign that support from the state is declining and that we need to find a way be more self sustaining,” Stromberger said.

The 2 percent reallocation includes each college, which is a concern for some faculty members because it will take “funds away from instruction, research and other expenditures by the colleges that support the educational mission of Colorado State University,” according to the current wording of the first resolution.

The resolution claims that the administration has other options to adjust for the budget cuts, and in particular highlights decreasing the subsidies from the University to the athletics department.

“The scenario we see is that the revenue income that athletics gets from ticket sales, donors and other sources of revenue is not enough to cover their expenses,” Stromberger said. “So, there is a subsidy that CSU pays to balance that budget.”

According to the resolution, intercollegiate athletics received $20.1 million in University subsidies in FY2014 to cover losses and increase spending. Student fees accounted for $5.3 million of those subsidies, according to the wording of the resolution.

According to the wording of the resolution, faculty generate a large majority of CSU revenue. The resolution currently states that “it is better to cut activities that create financial losses rather than activities that create financial gains.”

The resolution concerning the 2 percent reallocation is in the Committee on Strategic and Financial Planning, which is expected to decide what action to take and what recommendation to make to faculty council next week. 

The resolution proposing to recommend terminating the CSU football program is currently in the Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics. According to the wording of the resolution, evidence is mounting that young men who play football risk permanent brain injury and that football coaches’ salaries in FY2014 totaled more than the entire budget for many academic departments on campus.

“I think all of us (CSU stakeholders) will agree that the primary core mission is to educate students,” Stromberger said. “Wanting to protect that academic mission is not controversial. We all want to protect that. How we do that though, that’s the controversial part. If we don’t take cuts here, then where? And who gets to decide that?”

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Faculty council does not have any means to revise the budget or the reallocation of funding. If the resolutions pass through committees, the council will vote on them, and if the council votes to support them, then the resolutions would be considered formal recommendations to the administration.

“It is important that we follow the process (of faculty voicing their ideas and proposals),” Stromberger said. “The resolutions go through committees because they (committees) provide some initial discussion of the proposals and get a greater diversity of people to look at them (proposals) with broader perspectives.”

Faculty council is one of many CSU groups that are leading the charge of Re-Envision, a proposal made by President Tony Frank to assess the long-term goals and values of the University moving forward.

Collegian Reporter Erin Douglas can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter at @erinmdouglas23.