Last week, we announced a budget reduction on the Lawrence campus to address fiscal constraints for the upcoming year. Today, as summer classes begin, I’d like to share a few additional thoughts about this reduction and why I am confident KU will continue to excel in all aspects of our mission.
As Interim Provost Lejuez said last week, the need to recalibrate our budget is the result of years of long-term commitments that have exceeded revenue, outdated institutional budgeting practices, and a decade-long trend of declining state funding. By taking decisive action through an across-the-board reduction, we can achieve a quick recovery and a sustainable budget by next fiscal year. The sooner we get to a sustainable budget, the sooner we can invest in responsible new initiatives on behalf of KU and its people, such as annual merit raises.
In other words, by making hard decisions now, we can quickly get back to a position of strength.
I know this budget reduction will pose challenges and hamper our ability to serve students and Kansans. I will not downplay this reality, nor will I suggest that any of these decisions are easy. But at the same time, I am confident we will manage reductions in a way that preserves our core mission and focuses on what matters most.
One of the reasons I’m confident KU will emerge stronger is the leadership of our deans and vice provosts, who are already working with Interim Provost Lejuez to implement reductions and help develop a new budget model. More broadly, while our budget in recent years has become misaligned, the overall state of the university is strong, thanks in part to strong enrollment, donor support, and the efficiencies we achieved through the Changing for Excellence initiative.
I want to thank Interim Provost Lejuez for stepping into a challenging situation and demonstrating tremendous foresight and leadership. And I want to thank each of you for your commitment to KU. With your help, we will manage these reductions and emerge a stronger university.
Douglas A. Girod
University of Kansas