Eakin asked the panel to suggest ways to reduce spending to maintain a balanced budget "while making appropriate investments for the future of the university."
Task force members include two deans; the vice chancellors for academic affairs, health sciences and administration and finance; and representatives from the Board of Trustees, the Faculty Senate, the Staff Forum and the Student Government Association. They will begin meeting in April and work through the summer.
Vice Chancellor Richard Brown (Administration and Finance), in a memorandum to the Board of Trustees, summarized Easley’s proposal: "a budget containing a major cut in operating funds, no new funds for essential utility cost increases (or any other inflation) and the absence of funding for Distance Education enrollment increases."
"I don’t see many bright spots on the horizon," Brown told the trustees at their March 16 meeting. He and Eakin urged trustees and other friends of the university to take ECU’s case to the General Assembly, which enacts state budgets.
Brown said the governor’s proposals would mean a permanent budget reduction for ECU of $2.2 million. "The end result," he said, "is that, in addition to the 21 faculty positions (already set aside to be given back), we will lose academic support funds estimated at $250,000, library funds of $211,000 and almost $1 million for general institutional support.
"These will require the elimination of positions and operating dollars (supplies, teaching materials, library books, travel, equipment, etc.)."
Brown noted that even the governor’s proposed 2 percent salary increase for state employees "comes at the expense of reduced contributions to the Teachers and State Employees’ Retirement System and planned benefit reductions in the State Health Plan."
ECU News Bureau