San Diego State University could be forced to make some short-term cuts in non-academic areas in order to avoid any tenured and tenure-track layoffs until after June, 1993.
CSU Chancellor Barry Munitz said Tuesday that he will not automatically hand out emergency money to San Diego State and other campuses where professors had been targeted for layoffs beginning in January.
Rather, Munitz--who first outlined his promise for no 1992-93 layoffs to The Times on Monday--said he will examine individual requests from such campuses and determine whether some cuts in administrative and other areas are warranted in combination with help from his academic recovery fund.
“I will take their budget apart” after receiving a request, Munitz said at the first day of a two-day meeting of CSU trustees. He will determine how much to give “based on whether it is consistent with (campus) priorities” and other factors, Munitz said.
But Munitz said any short-term changes “would not be a big deal,” even though they could lead to a few layoffs of non-academic workers in exchange for keeping the tenured professors in place. Munitz said that he remains committed to avoiding layoffs at San Diego State in order to cool tensions between the faculty and President Thomas Day.
Budget-related animosity led an unprecedented 55% of SDSU’s professors last month to demand that CSU trustees fire Day.
San Diego State has by far the largest number of professors affected by Munitz’s decision--146--and will require anywhere from a half-million dollars to $3 million to keep all of them teaching through June, Day has estimated. Three other campuses faced smaller layoffs this fall, and a fifth faced some tenured-faculty layoffs in the spring.
Munitz’s plan to scrutinize emergency requests stems in part from a need to keep peace within the 20-campus system while trying to give Day breathing room to bridge the deep chasm that between him and faculty.
Munitz conceded Tuesday that other CSU campus presidents have carped about a plan that appears to reward San Diego State disproportionately. Other campuses severely cut administration, athletics and student services in order to preserve tenured faculty members, and could view it as unfair that SDSU made lesser cuts in those areas and still will have its senior faculty untouched.
Munitz expects the bulk of his emergency academic recovery fund to go for restoring class sections at other campuses by hiring temporary lecturers and for other temporary assistance for students. The fund’s precise amount is still unknown because it depends on October enrollment numbers across the system.
Day has consistently defended his plans to eliminate 146 tenured and tenure-track professors and shut down nine academic departments for 1992-93 as a way to preserve the bulk of San Diego State’s academic offerings, and in particular its research and graduate programs that he believes distinguish it from other CSU campuses.
Day on Tuesday downplayed the politics behind the Munitz plan, saying that “you don’t make permanent decisions” on cutting administration or other functions “to protect temporary adjustments,” such as avoiding layoffs for another semester.
But Munitz said Tuesday that no other campus has experienced the uproar that now confronts Day.
“By and large, San Diego State is the only campus that has gotten to the (present) level of public debate,” Munitz said, with a majority of faculty demanding Day’s resignation and the number of students having dropped to the lowest level in a decade.
Munitz wants Day to undertake a half-year of consultation with all faculty members on the best way to make tenured layoffs that the chancellor on Tuesday said will be inevitable at most campuses for 1993-94.
“My job is to make sure that the campus decision-making process is healthy,” the chancellor said Tuesday. The faculty demand for Day’s resignation centered in large part on the feeling that Day failed to consult enough before making his cuts.
At other campuses, Munitz said that “it seems the process has been healthy.”
Munitz will address the specific demands of San Diego State faculty for Day’s removal at a general meeting of trustees today, at which a busload of professors will appear to lobby against Day. But Munitz, in his remarks Tuesday, clearly indicated that the trustees intend to give Day every opportunity to try to patch up matters at the system’s largest and most prestigious campus.
Munitz has said that, although Day’s bitter medicine could well prove correct for San Diego State, “You can’t (have changes) at an academic institution without the faculty having a feeling of participation.”
The San Diego State president said Tuesday that he is willing to consider any faculty plans in place of his controversial recommendations for cutting almost $12 million from the academic budget--as long as they involve academic decisions.
“The faculty now have the opportunity to consider what the academic consequences of required budget cuts will be,” Day said. But he said that each of the university’s seven colleges must come up with plans within their colleges.
“We’re talking about how to address cuts within their college budgets,” Day said, indicating that he would not look favorably on suggestions for cutting athletics or other non-academic areas.
A veteran San Diego State professor, who requested anonymity, said Tuesday that, despite the push by Munitz for consultation and greater campus harmony, “The situation next spring could end up like the one now.”
The professor, well-schooled in both campus and CSU politics, said the key problem results from faculty being asked “to eliminate programs and departments not because they aren’t good but because of money problems.
“We’ve got to take out healthy programs and good professors, and I’m not sure the faculty is up to that,” the professor said. “But, if the faculty doesn’t come to grips with the problem and offer real proposals, Day will make” the final decisions once again, “with the result that there will be a lot of tensions.”