Inside Higher Ed, Marquette Faces Student and Faculty Pushback Over Planned Cuts:
Marquette is eyeing deep faculty cuts. An undergraduate says she was targeted for discipline because she questioned the administration.
Brooke McArdle, a senior at Marquette University, is facing a disciplinary hearing Thursday. Two weeks ago, McArdle helped lead a sit-in where dozens of students protested the administration’s consideration of deep cuts to the faculty. But of those students, McArdle was the only one to be disciplined, and she is now facing student conduct sanctions for refusing to hand over her university ID and not getting approval for the demonstration, which is required by university policy. ...
The issue at the true heart of the matter for McArdle and some faculty members is the administration’s insistence on both downsizing and reinventing the institution.
Administration officials have said that while the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated financial challenges, much of the $45 million shortfall it has predicted by 2022 can be traced to demographic changes and lower birth rates in its traditional cohort. This year the university is 424 students short of where it needs to be for its budget, meaning that it has only about 1,650 students in its freshman class. The university is predicting that next year's enrollment will be down another 250 students. Total enrollment is now about 11,550. Total operating expenditure in fiscal year 2019 was $442.39 million. ...
How deep those reductions will go and whom they will target is still being decided, but officials have said it may be in the ballpark of 225 to 300 faculty and staff layoffs. In April, the university reported it had just under 3,000 employees. Faculty said they've been told the College of Arts and Sciences could be cut by 25 percent.
Faculty members and graduate students have complained that the process has been opaque and top-down.
“Faculty have a lot of questions about what the university financial situation really is because we are not able to actually see any numbers,” said Julia Paulk, a professor of Spanish. “They are radically changing the mission of the university and that needs to be done in a much more thoughtful and careful way, not in a panic, which is what it looks like to me. And I don’t see evidence that furloughs have been explored. I don’t see evidence that pay cuts have been explored.” ...
The research McArdle handed out at the sit-in on Oct. 21 concerned the university’s financial choices. Graphs demonstrated that Marquette spends less on instruction per student and more on administrative costs per student than the average for the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, of which Marquette is one.
“Marquette is a university that overspends on the administrative side,” said Canavan, arguing that cuts should come from that area. “Without academics there is no university.” ...
McArdle’s packet also contained public documents disclosing compensation for university officials. President Michael Lovell’s compensation of more than $968,000 is toward the higher side of presidential salaries, but not out of step with some peer institutions.
Public tax documents distributed by McArdle also disclosed that the Marquette Board of Trustees approved a loan of $1.25 million for Lovell in 2015 for “retention.”
Jim Finkelstein, professor emeritus of public policy at George Mason University who has studied presidential compensation, said that loans to presidents are not common, but also not unheard-of. Often they are related to real estate and used to help a president buy a home in a new area or get out of a previous mortgage.
Marquette Wire, Students Organize Sit-in in Support of Faculty:
Students for MU Faculty, an organization in support of the hundreds of Marquette faculty at risk of losing their jobs, held a sit-in demonstration for six hours to show their solidarity.
Last month Marquette administration announced the possibility of between 200 and 450 faculty cuts due to a budget deficit arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marquette Wire, Professors Disheartened by Potential Layoffs:
Roughly 1/5th of all campus faculty and academic staff could be cut. ...
In accordance with the Marquette Faculty Handbook, non-tenured track faculty are to be cut before those who are tenured, and among the tenured, those with lesser seniority will be the first ousted. Because women and professors of color are among the most recently hired, professors worry layoffs could lead to an institutional whitening.
“According to the Faculty Handbook, they should be the first fired, which will undo all the work that we’ve done to make Marquette a more equitable place.”