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ETSU community ‘called to action’ in budget crisis

Tuesday, November 11, 2008JOHNSON CITY – East Tennessee State University students, faculty, and staff heard a “Call to Action” today when the university’s “Report of the Task Force on Budget Reduction” was presented during an afternoon meeting at the D.P. Culp University Center.

With budget reductions mandated by the state and a worsening economic crisis, ETSU President Dr. Paul E. Stanton Jr. last month appointed and charged the task force with developing a plan of action to address reductions still expected at the university during the remainder of Fiscal Year 2008-2009 and into Fiscal 2009-2010. The task force report unveiled today is available at www.etsu.edu/calltoaction.

Budget reductions to date at ETSU total $7,607,200, including the academic campus, the James H. Quillen College of Medicine, and Family Medicine. Further budget reductions are anticipated in January 2009 and in July 2009, and projections, based on three percent and five percent reversion models, indicate that reductions at ETSU could eventually total $16.9 million from July 2008-July 2009 (if not higher).

According to Dr. Wilsie Bishop, university chief operating officer and vice president for Health Affairs, the task force report is not final but rather a “developing plan” or “work in progress” currently focused on immediate short-term strategies, intermediate term strategies to be addressed for possible implementation next July, and long-term strategies that will guide the institution into a future of protracted budget reduction if the economic downturn continues. Key to these strategies, she explained, is a study of cost reduction and efficiencies, cost elimination, cost consolidation and sources of new revenue.

“We are committed to creating, building, and sustaining a culture of stewardship and economic restraint,” Bishop said. “And, this dedicated effort requires a call to action.”

The task force agreed that “an institution’s greatness is revealed in its response to challenges in times of trial,” and Bishop said of the ETSU community: “Everyone can play a role. Everyone has a voice. Everyone has a responsibility.”

  

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