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ECU Board of Trustees approves budget policy framework

GREENVILLE   (Mar. 18, 2009)   —   The East Carolina University Board of Trustees has approved guidelines for the university’s ongoing budget reduction efforts in the face of severe economic pressures.

Chancellor Steve Ballard said, “The purpose of this document is to be prepared for the worst. We have had a 7 percent reduction in our state appropriation this year and it could be worse next year.”

He noted that the framework “establishes the criteria and the priorities to be used as we face the toughest economic times in the last 80 years. It is a work in progress and it will be continuously improved as we move forward.”

In a message to the campus community, Ballard said, “We are an institution of people. We will continue to do all we can to protect our employees and to minimize the loss of jobs at East Carolina University.”

The “Policy Framework for Resource Allocation” approved by the Board in a conference call on March 17 defines a business model for ECU that:

• Protects the academic core to the maximum extent possible (but never with the expectation that it can be fully protected).
• Demands that strategic priorities be protected from cuts and that selected priorities receive new funding.
• Maximizes flexibility because economic conditions cannot be predicted.
• Demands strong stewardship of existing resources.
• Protects essential services to students. Safety and financial aid are foremost.

The framework also identifies priorities for the university that include:

• Administrative reductions such vacant positions, middle management positions, consolidations and centralizations that reduce costs, and outsourcing services where appropriate.
• Finding efficiencies and eliminating services and programs in non-academic areas.
• Examining academic efficiencies such as increased class size.

The framework notes: “We are preparing for a loss of approximately $25 million of state revenues each year of the next biennium, and quite possibly more. Given the difficulties with endowments and other revenue sources, the total economic loss to ECU could be substantially worse than $25 million. Nevertheless, we will manage this fiscal crisis appropriately with the goal of emerging as a stronger university.”

View the complete Policy Framework at: