CSU President unveils plan to prepare for future public funding cuts

For the first time since he’s been at CSU, President Tony Frank was able to give a crowd of about 3,000 gathered for his Fall Address some good news about Colorado’s public higher education funding.

“It appears the state of Colorado may increase higher education funding next year,” he said.

Despite the good news, Frank encouraged everyone to begin planning for future obstacles that students could face with higher education. Even though he hinted at funding increasing in the next year, Frank was determined to initiate a plan that would protect CSU from future cuts.

“Unless there are fundamental changes to the way in which we as Coloradans manage the resources we entrust to each other in this place we call home, there will be no funding for public higher education … in the next 7 to 10 years,” Frank said. “Ours could potentially become the first state in the nation to defund its system of public higher education.”

Students who attended sympathized with Frank’s desire to plan ahead for future problems with student funding.

“I think it’s good that he’s getting on it now,” said Davis Stone, a senior economics major. “It shows that he understands how important a cut to public funding could be, but that he’s not afraid of it.”

According to Jenny Jessup, a senior Natural Sciences major and Presidential Ambassador, CSU’s current standing was all in thanks to Frank’s doing.

“Through Frank’s leadership we’ve survived through the financial crisis and we continue to thrive,” she said.

Frank also announced a plan that he has been discussing with his cabinet, a plan he called “CSU 2020.” It involves increasing non-resident attendance to CSU, maintaining the university’s position as the school of choice in Colorado and “a relentless focus on excellence in everything we do,” he said.

The plan puts the university’s enrollment growth on path to reach 35,000 students by 2020. Some foresaw potential problems that could arise from Frank’s plan.

“With more students it provides more competition within the classroom,” Stone said. “It creates a larger CSU environment.”

Frank also listed off the numerous accomplishments CSU had achieved within the last year, from completing the first comprehensive university campaign early and with an excess of $40 million to welcoming in the largest incoming class at CSU for the fourth consecutive year in a row.

The fall address was a tradition started by CSU President Albert Yates after the Flood of 1997. It was originally a celebration of the community that rallied together and worked to quickly put students back in school. Frank addressed the reason for continuing that tradition today.

“To celebrate our successes, reflect on our challenges,” he said. “And to look to a path forward as a community.”

Frank emphasized the university’s active participation in implementing his plan. Borrowing from a line said by President Abraham Lincoln, Frank told the crowd, “It is not whether any of us can imagine better, but whether all of us can do better.”

Collegian Writer Sean Meeds can be reached at news@collegian.com.