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East Campus History

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Lean Times, Now and Then

Editor’s Note: East Carolina’s state appropriations declined a further 3.6 percent this fiscal year, the fourth straight year of shrinking state support. But East Carolina is accustomed to hard times, as evidenced by this account in the minutes of the Faculty Senate:

The entire staff was present at a meeting called by President Robert Wright at 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 17, 1932, in Old Austin. President Wright said:

“I have called you together to acquaint you with the financial condition of the college. Our income, including the balance to come to the college from the state appropriation for this current year, will be approximately $20,000 less than our operating expenses for the remaining portion of the year. This is due to the fact that the Budget Bureau has found it necessary to make a 30 percent reduction in the appropriation.

“After conferring with the Assistant Director of the Budget, and receiving this letter from the Governor, we find that it is going to be necessary to make a reduction. The Budget Bureau agreed to finance us if (treasurer John Spilman) could save $5,000. Mr. Spilman agreed to do this — I don’t know how he is going to save it. If we make a reduction of 10 percent in all salaries and wages for March, April, May and June, it will take care of the present situation.

“I do not want to call the Board of Trustees together; so I have called you together to ask if you wish to make that reduction, voluntarily. I think it will put us in the proper light with the Board of Trustees, the Director of the Budget, and the next General Assembly if we do this. It seems to me that it is the only thing we can do, because the state is not collecting the revenue.

“This applies to only four months’ salary, March, April, May, and June.

“It isn’t my idea at all that we are trying to cut salaries, we are simply trying to meet a situation. I understand…that it will be best for the Budget Bureau if we affect this saving monthly.”

Miss (Salle Joyner) Davis made the following motion: “I move that the faculty and officers and other employees of the institution, voluntarily, to help the state in its present condition, accept a 10 percent cut in compensation for the months of March, April, May and June.”

The motion carried unanimously. The meeting concluded with a discussion about what to do about summer school. Wright said:

“We are going to run the summer school. We are doing it for three reasons. One is, we have in college now not less than 150 girls who are planning to come to summer school. Possibly 50 of these are expecting to be graduated at the end of the summer school. Another reason, if we stop our summer school during this depression we will have to start all over and build it up.

“Third, we are running the summer school that we may hold our organization together and give employment to the large number of people who work in the college, the dining room and kitchen. We have promised (the state budget officer) that we will not spend more than $5,000 from the appropriation on the summer school. Last year, we spent about $15,000.”