Worried discussions about the university’s financial situation have been swirling around campus and on the web since the university laid off five fine arts and humanities administrative staff members in November.
With the recent announcement of more substantial cost-cutting plans in the form of TransformUS, feedback from students has been dominated by concerns about the nature of these measures and the role that students will play in reshaping the university’s academic and administrative landscape.
Since the university’s money issues have recently flared up to become a widely and hotly debated topic, this past week was the ideal time to gauge the campus community’s initial reaction to the situation.
We conducted an online survey to gauge where students stood on the university’s cost-cutting measures, what students perceived the financial problems to be and how the university should go about solving its money issues.
Over a span of only four days, we received over 290 responses from a wide range of U of S community members. What follows is a breakdown of some of those responses.
Use your mouse to hover over sections of the graphs for a more specific breakdown of answers to each question.
Due to the type of survey we conducted, individuals could sometimes skip an answer or respond to a question with more than one answer. For example, a student may also be a staff member and would have selected both options at the same time. This means that the total number of respondents per any given survey question may exceed 100 per cent.
A total of 292 members of the U of S community answered our survey. The pool of respondents included students, faculty, staff, and alumni.
A total of 226 students of all types took our survey:
From 12 different colleges:
Along with 53 university employees (29 of whom were also students):
Over half of all respondents felt that the TransformUS process will have a negative impact on their academic careers or jobs. Almost a quarter did not know how the process would impact them, whereas 15 per cent felt that it wouldn’t have any impact at all.
4.5 per cent of respondents believed that TransformUS will have have a positive impact on their studies or jobs.
An overwhelming majority of respondents felt that students should be allowed to sit on the TransformUS task forces. These task forces will help upper-level administration decide how to adjust funding for academic programs and administrative services. Only 22 people, or 7.7 per cent, felt that students should not be allowed to sit on the task forces.
86.9 per cent of respondents felt that top university administrators should take pay cuts to “show solidarity towards other areas that are being cut.” 13.1 per cent felt that the university needs to stay competitive with its hiring practices and that administrators should not take pay cuts.
Despite the school’s best efforts, 80.6 per cent of respondents felt that the university has not been transparent enough with its financial plans. Even after a series of emails from President Ilene Busch-Vishniac and other upper-level administrators outlining the situation, only 19.4 per cent of respondents were satisfied with the university’s efforts to inform.