Hogan creates bond with student senate

University President Michael Hogan talked at length about the school’s financial situation while also discussing a wide range of other topics at the Illinois Student Senate’s Wednesday meeting.

Hogan said the state of Illinois still owes the University $130 million from last fiscal year, a figure that he said will not be paid until December.

In addition to these financial difficulties, Hogan said the University could see a 10 percent decrease in state funding next year.

“We have to be prepared for more budget shortfalls,” Hogan said.

“The social contract in the country between the state and higher education has broken down,” he added.

According to the University website, the institution expects about $743.4 million in state funding next year.

But the bill that would allocate this money has not yet been sent to Gov. Pat Quinn for a signature. Once this bill has been sent, he can sign or veto it or reduce any of the amount.

Hogan said that student tuition is also now accounting for more of the University’s funding than state finances are. He added that this was the first time in the school’s history that such an event has occurred. Hogan said that managing the University’s resources is important, and that the University needs to figure out its priorities and allocate funds more wisely.

“We have to kind of figure out how to shrink the footprint of the University.”

He said better resource management would increase the school’s credibility, and would encourage alumni and private donors to better fund the University.

“We are not really a public university for all practical purposes anymore … We have to live off of other resources,” he said.

Hogan said, however, that he will not give up on state funding and will continue to make the University’s case to the state.

“We should be there pounding our fist on the table,” Hogan said.

Hogan said some ways to help cut costs on campus would be to get administration overhead and streamlining the University.

Hogan mentioned that he eventually plans to shrink the administration across all three of the University’s campuses—Urbana, Springfield and Chicago — and create a more centralized unit.

Hogan promised to protect low-income students from the budget problems even after the Board of Trustees raised tuition by 9.5 percent this year.

“We are committed as a University to the effort to raise money for scholarships,” he said.

When asked about his plan to make the campus more sustainable, Hogan said it was a priority.

“We have a climate action plan. It is being implemented. Surely not as fast as we would like to. We are moving forward, forward as fast as we can with the resources we have,” he said.

Adam Lentz, senator and chair of the committee on environmental sustainability, said he felt reassured that Hogan would be continuing the previous administration’s commitments to environmental sustainability.

Nichole Chacin a freshman in ACES who attended the meeting, said afterward that she thinks Hogan will meet the high expectations in place for him.

“I am confident that he will meet them. He is definitely experienced. He knows what he is doing,” she said.

Student Trustee Daniel Soso said that Hogan touched on a lot of issues and addressed the general discord students feel toward the administration.

Hogan plans to attend one meeting a semester.

“It won’t be my last,” he said.