Leaders talk UI future budget

President Michael Hogan and Interim Chancellor and Provost Robert Easter and other University administrators discussed the University budget, campus safety and sustainability at a meeting with the student body Wednesday night.

The event was hosted by the Illinois Student Senate.

About sixty people and thirty senators attended.

After opening remarks by student body President David Olsen, Hogan started the talk about the University’s budget by talking about the state’s budget.

“The state of Illinois faces a very serious budget deficit,” he said. “The state’s challenge is our challenge.”

Hogan said it is four months into fiscal year 2011, and the state still owes money from 2010. The state cut this year’s budget by $46 million.

He said the University will not see money from the state until January.

“I owe it to you to be honest and straight forward. The worst is still ahead of us,” he said.

Hogan said that the University is losing faculty to institutions that can offer more money.

Hogan said he will not cut costs at the faculty level, as the faculty has gone two years without an increase in pay.

He addressed the increase in tuition and said that 9.5 percent tuition increase for the freshman class is a 3.6 percent increase when annualized.

He said while the University has the second highest tuition in the Big Ten, it has second highest ranking in the Big Ten.

The tuition increase generated $47 million, but that simply covered the state’s budget cut.

Easter talked about what the University is doing to reduce costs, such as the Stewarding at Excellence project and the voluntary retirement, which reduced overall costs by $18 to $19 million.

“We’ve significantly reduced our energy footprint,” Easter said.

This is due to modifications to buildings, he said.

Easter said the goal is to achieve a 15 percent reduction in three years, and the savings are in the millions of dollars.

Easter said the administration is concerned about crime on campus.

He said the University has authorized increased overtime for police and that 25 new video cameras have been installed around campus.

Easter said that in terms of sustainability, the University is committed to phasing out coal by 2017 and becoming more carbon neutral.

During the student question time, Kaela Talley, sophomore in FAA, asked Hogan about his salary.

“I came here for absolutely no raise. You’re going to get what you pay for, I promise you that,” Hogan said. “I’m not really going to apologize for my salary.”

He said he could be making a higher salary at other institutions, but he is happy to work here.

“I promise to work twenty-four hours and earn every penny,” Hogan said.

After the town hall meeting concluded, University administrators met informally with the students in attendance.