Marquette Faculty Council issues letter to the Marquette community, provide potential solutions to budget shortfall

Protestors+lay+on+the+ground+outside+of+Zilber+Hall%2C+part+of+the+%27Die-in%27+demonstration.+

Photo by Zach Bukowski

Protestors lay on the ground outside of Zilber Hall, part of the ‘Die-in’ demonstration.

The Marquette faculty council sent out a letter to the University Academic Senate, Board of Trustees, Executive Leadership Team and the Marquette community to voice their concerns about the decision making regarding the budget challenges faced this upcoming year due to the coronavirus pandemic and potential solutions Dec. 3.

Many faculty and staff have been vocal about a potential surge of budget cuts and layoffs, including holding multiple protests, sit-ins and press conferences on Marquette’s campus since the start of the 2020 fall semester.

“We hope the trustees will preserve our tradition of excellence as they consider their fiduciary duty to the institution,” the letter read. “Any shifts in budget allocation, staffing, and reconsideration of institutional priorities should occur with a clear 5-year and 10-year plan that envisions how Marquette arrives at 2026 and thrives beyond it. Cuts made without these data potentially threaten the long-term welfare of Marquette and its students.”

The letter also stated the “timing and allocation” of the potential budget cuts could have permanent damage on the university as a whole. It also states that the damages come in the form of larger class sizes and a higher student-debt ratio which is something that could take “decade(s)” to overcome.

Alongside class sizes and student debt, potential cuts could setback Marquette staff’s diversity, a factor that the university has trailed behind in both female and race-based hiring according to the letter. The letter also claims that any potential firings would “disproportionately terminate Black and brown faculty, as well as women.”

Overall, the effects could harm the university’s national ranking, which currently sits 88th nationally, according to U.S. News and World Report.

The letter also provided alternatives to academic budget cuts: cutting expenses related to advertising, travel and office, selling university-owned property located on Michigan Ave., returning to lower compensation levels for “top officers” and a slight increase in endowment spending.

“The faculty provide these analyses because of their faith and investment in Marquette and its future,” the letter read. “Principles of shared governance, which are required for Marquette to retain its accreditation, maintain that faculty must have input into any decisions that impact the academic mission of the institution. We hope these considerations will
help protect Marquette’s traditions and secure its future.”

This story was written by Benjamin Wells. He can be reached at benjamin.wells@marquette.edu