|A Message from the President|
|Like many publicly funded universities around the country, Colorado School of Mines is feeling the effects of the economic downturn. Even though the situation is changing rapidly, I wanted to include a brief message in this issue of Mines magazine outlining where things stand; a similar letter was distributed across campus earlier in the new year.
Our most immediate concern is that the state of Colorado is looking at a considerable budget shortfall for this fiscal year and the next. Because the state constitution mandates a balanced budget, while at the same time shielding certain major budget allocations from cuts, revenue shortfalls must be absorbed by those sources that remain, including higher education. Currently, state funds account for approximately 14 percent of Mines’ operating budget.
There has been and will continue to be considerable media coverage on the state budget crisis, including early projections on how much higher education will need to shoulder in terms of cuts. We will have more clarity once Colorado’s Governor submits his fiscal year 2009 and 2010 budget plans to the legislature later this month.
Compounding the situation, the market value of our endowment investments has declined significantly—as it has for almost all U.S. universities—and we are seeing indications of reduced sponsored research funding for next year.
In response to the downturn, I instituted a hiring freeze at the beginning of October for all non-academic faculty positions and asked all vice presidents to delay, reduce or forgo certain expenditures in their respective areas. More recently, I urged faculty and staff to carefully consider all expenditures and discretionary spending, regardless of funding source.
When more is known, I will communicate our longer-range plan for navigating through these difficult times. Our commitment to students will remain our top priority; efforts to preserve budget flexibility will be made so as to preserve the quality of a Mines education.
Thank you for your continued commitment and support. Now, more than ever, alumni, friends and members of our community can play a crucial role in perpetuating the strong legacy for which Mines has long been known.
Best wishes to you for 2009,
President M. W. “Bill” Scoggins