Nov. 18, 2010

SUNY Geneseo Announces Strategic Measures to Confront Ongoing State Budget Challenge

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Geneseo, N.Y. - Citing harsh budget realities in the wake of diminishing state funding, SUNY Geneseo President Christopher C. Dahl today announced strategic measures to close a $7.2 million structural deficit and preserve the distinctive liberal arts mission and excellence of the college. Geneseo has made maximum use of retirement incentives and will eliminate 45 non-instructional positions across the college. Nine faculty lines vacated through retirement also will be eliminated. In addition, the college will deactivate three academic programs: computer science, communicative disorders and sciences and studio art.

The deactivated programs will remain in operation for three more years. All current students majoring in the programs will be able to complete their degree requirements within this period and graduate from Geneseo. However, effective immediately, no additional students will be accepted into these programs.

The campus Speech, Language and Hearing Clinic, which is part of the Communicative Disorders and Sciences Program training, will remain in operation. There will be no immediate disruption to clients receiving services for speech, language or hearing difficulties.

"Geneseo has been entrusted to our stewardship by those who came before us, who took decisive actions to secure its future," Dahl told students, faculty and staff at a campus meeting. "We are obligated to do the same, no matter how difficult - especially given the depth and projected duration of New York's budget crisis. This is the most wrenching decision I've made in 15 years as president but, having considered all possible options, it was clear that this is absolutely necessary to ensure a stronger Geneseo for future generations."

Since 2008, Geneseo has incurred a 22.2 percent reduction in its base state tax dollar support because of repeated and severe budget cuts. In addition to these reductions, the college has been required to implement state-mandated expenditures of more than $6 million in areas such as contractual salary increases.

"The simple fact is that budgetary actions by the state of New York have consequences," said Dahl. "Our state has cut the SUNY budget by $680 million, and today, sadly, we are experiencing the very real and painful impact of those actions." Dahl noted that state funding at this point accounts for scarcely 25 percent of Geneseo's total college budget.

For the past three years, Geneseo has employed a variety of across-the-board measures to address reductions in state support, including hiring freezes; reductions in non-personnel expenditures; and use of College reserve funds.

"These temporary actions are unsustainable and continuing them endangers the quality of the College," Dahl noted. "We must implement permanent solutions to stabilize our base budget for the long term."

The decision to deactivate the academic programs was based on criteria developed in consultation with the college-wide Strategic Planning Group and Budget Advisory Committee over the past 12 months. Criteria included centrality to mission; inter-relatedness with other programs; program sustainability; quality, relative cost; and enrollment trends.

More information regarding Geneseo's response to state budget reductions can be found at http://go.geneseo.edu/budgetupdate, which contains a question-and-answer section that will be continually updated. Additional questions may be submitted to BudgetQ@geneseo.edu .

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Media Contact:
Anthony T. Hoppa
Assistant Vice President
For College Communications
585-245-5516
thoppa@geneseo.edu