By Runa Lemminn
When the California State University Board of Trustees voted to increase tuition last year for all 23 campuses, the increase was, in part, going to fund additional faculty and advisers to increase class availability.
The extra classes would ease overcrowding, and, in turn, help students graduate on time.
Dr. Aaron Hegde, chair of the Budget and Planning Committee for the Academic Senate and chair of the Economics Department, said faculty input regarding funds has traditionally been overlooked.
Yet faculty input is crucial in a public institution and a shared governance such as CSU Bakersfield.
“The faculty have always felt that as we are a part of the university, we need to be involved in helping make these kind of decisions,” said Hegde.
However, the faculty at CSUB has questions regarding how much money is going to increases in faculty-related areas, as well as exactly where the money is going within each area.
“Many among us are even experts in this area of budgeting, forecasting, finance, we’re in the business school; this is what we do. So it’s not that we can’t handle or don’t understand the information,” said Hegde.
CSUB Senator and Associate Professor of Management and Marketing, John Tarjan, said faculty feels they should be involved early and with sufficient information to be able to provide meaningful feedback.
“All we get are reassurances, and …we get no information on stuff like this, or it’s very sporadic,” Tarjan said.
Associate Professor of biochemistry Karlo Lopez is also frustrated with the lack of current information.
“It would just be nice to see all the numbers,” said Lopez.
Hegde describes the problem as two-fold.
The first part of the issue is that the faculty is unable to see current numbers in order to build a budget. The second part is transparency.
“If you don’t have a budget, transparency doesn’t matter, because nobody knows what’s going on,” Hegde said.
At CSUB’s annual Faculty Budget Meeting, Academic Senate Chair and nursing associate professor Deborah Boschini said that other universities don’t have the problem that CSUB does.
“If I Google Fresno State budget, it takes me to a website with a wealth of information that goes back several years; I can see what every unit and department on campus receives right down to the marching band, and it’s fascinating to me how much information they share, so comfortably and so effectively, and I would really like to move toward a model,” Boshini said.
“It’s public record and should be available,” she added.
Replying to Boschini’s comments, CSUB President Dr. Horace Mitchell said that he supported helping faculty with the problem.
“It is the plan. We will make sure, and Thom (Davis) is prepared to do this, that we provide the kind of information that you are talking about,” he said.
Thom Davis, vice president of Business and Administrative Services at CSUB, assured the faculty that there was no problem in being able to do that.