Minnesota State University Moorhead has been a core part of its community since its founding in 1888, but recent decisions threaten the ability of the university to continue that tradition. The administration has proposed reducing full-time faculty positions by 20% through a combination of layoffs and unfilled positions. These layoffs will have a lasting negative effect on the ability of the university to fulfill its mission.
Faculty are deeply committed to the future of the university and to the community they serve. In an effort to provide an alternative to layoffs, the faculty have requested there be no pay increases for next year, resulting in a savings of roughly $1 million, equivalent to eight or nine faculty positions. We have formally committed to this in writing through the Inter-Faculty Organization, which represents state university faculty in Minnesota.
The university’s mission includes being indispensable to our community. Many of the proposed program closures and suspensions are indispensable to the social, cultural and economic advancement of our community. We do not understand how, for example, cutting a theater program accomplishes those goals.
The university's mission also commits it to focus “relentlessly on student achievement and students’ return on their investment.” That goal will be difficult to achieve once these cuts go into effect. Every undergraduate student at the university will be impacted by fewer class offerings, limiting our ability to deliver the core requirements necessary for graduation.
To the extent that the university faces a deficit, the administration is responsible for bringing the university into this situation and has provided no clear vision for the future. We are doing our part to solve the university’s budget challenges in a way that shields students and the community from the impacts as much as possible.
Craig is president of Minnesota State University's Faculty Association.
This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.