By: Taylor Fulkerson ~Managing Editor~
President, Fr. Michael Graham, S.J. announced that the university would undergo another budget shortfall this academic year during the University Convocation on Sept. 8.
Graham noted that there was a budget shortfall for the summer period, and “that there is going to be a shortfall in the fall, and that that will be several orders of magnitude larger than the summer numbers. We don’t yet know what those numbers are going to be exactly because of a variety of reasons,” he said.
Graham addressed faculty, staff and students, explaining university projects and goals for the next year in addition to the budget shortfall. There are plans to reassess the use of student space in the Gallagher Student Center, to launch the new School of Arts and Innovation next year and to assess the feasiblility of building a new sports complex to replace O’Connor Sports Center.
To address the budget shortfall, Graham explained that the administration needs to know what the numbers are and “where they came from,” but declined to offer a specific number.
“For example, there are still people who are enrolling, especially in graduate programs, which have different enrollment cycles,” Graham said. “So we will know what those fall numbers are with greater certainty by the time that the Board of Trustees meets two weeks from (Sept. 12).”
The administration can reduce the shortfall several ways. One way Graham noted is to focus on retention from fall to spring and to assess why there has been a “downtick in enrollment from the local area” recently.
Graham stated that the issues currently facing Xavier are common in higher education today.
“I’m telling you the Xavier University version of a higher education story that’s almost everywhere these days,” he said. “This is not something that’s unique to us. It’s happening just about any place you can name that’s not a marquee brand with a billion-dollar endowment and a bulletproof catch-all pool for students. This is just the landscape in which we currently are. It is what it is.”
Graham responded to questions from faculty and noted that the administration needed to “project (numbers) better” this year to get a better picture of how large the shortfall might be to maintain better communication between faculty and administration.
“I think the most important thing we do, frankly, is keep talking,” Graham said