CAPRA MEETING, MARCH 5, 2010
MINUTES

Attending:  Paul Bingham, Ora Bouey, Alan Calder, Bill Godfrey, Norm Goodman, Ashley Gosselin-Kdari, Gene Katz, Joan Kuchner, Daria Semegen, Larry Wittie

Guest:  Dan Melucci

  1.  Budget discussion

The bulk of the meeting was devoted to a presentation by Dan Melucci on the current budget situation and the proposed Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act (PHEEIA).  Dan provided the committee with a series of tables and charts (a copy of which is attached to the memo) that formed the basis of our discussion.

The focus of the discussion was the $332M in the “state purposes” part of Stony Brook’s budget, which is made up of “state tax support” ($184M) and “tuition” ($148M).  In addition, however, the state supplies other funds (e.g., fringe benefits, health care).  Direct state tax support constitutes about 24% of the Stony Brook budget; when you include fringe benefits and health care, that number rises to about 40%.

The administration is in the process of developing a plan to deal with the impending cuts.   One plan would involve cuts without any assumption of funds from PHEEIA and another includes the possibility of the passage of PHEEIA (next week, Provost Kaler is meeting with CAPRA to consult with the committee on his part of the budget).   Since 82% of the budget involves personnel costs and 12% utility costs, there is little play in the system to deal with the proposed cuts without drastic reduction in utilities (which have already been reduced considerably) or faculty and staff positions.   If personnel cuts were required, it would probably involve about 500 positions.  Dan pointed out that every 1% increase in tuition nets $1.5M in revenue for the campus.

Various scenarios were discussed.  One involved the possibility of encouraging early retirements; while this is being considered, there has been no such program offered by New York State as had been the case in some previous years.  However, it was pointed out that several major universities have begun to offer early retirement programs and that, in many instances, the number of applicants were greater than expected.  Also, the suggestion was made to consider the “Washington Monument” strategy of proposing such drastic cuts that you generate considerable support for ways of providing necessary revenues.  For example, the elimination of either the athletic program or Stony Brook Southampton would each lead to a savings of about $6M but also raise concern with some stakeholders.  Decreasing enrollments is not helpful because the loss of several hundred students will lead to a reduction in revenues though most of the fixed costs of education will remain unaffected.  In sum, the administration sees extremely difficult times ahead if PHEEIA is not passed, though its passage would not eliminate all budgetary problems.

  1. Subcommittee reports

Southampton subcommittee
                There was nothing new to report.  Alan Tucker is chairing the University Senate ad hoc
                Committee on Southampton and will keep CAPRA informed of its activities.

Library subcommittee

                Following the devastating report of the external Blue Ribbon Committee, the Dean and
                Director of Libraries has been replaced and there is an Interim Dean and Director
                (Andrew White).

MA/MS subcommittee

                No report.  There is a University Senate ad hoc committee on which CAPRA is
                represented.

College of Business subcommittee

                It was indicated that there are three possibilities for the COB:  (1) The campus would
                need to make an investment of about 17 new tenure/tenure-track faculty lines for the
                COB to become eligible for accreditation; an unlikely scenario given the current
                budgetary problems; (2) keep it going as it currently is since it has a large number of
                undergraduate majors, though a somewhat weak MBA program; and (3) eliminate it.

                The discussion that ensued raised questions about the kinds of positions that graduates
                of the COB get when they leave Stony Brook.  There was also a question of what would
                happen to the undergraduate majors if the COB was closed.  Would they stay at Stony
                Brook and enroll in other majors (what would these be?) or would they transfer to a
                different institution to continue to pursue a degree in business?  The subcommittee
                asked for comments on these questions by CAPRA members to be sent to it for its
                deliberations.

Stony Brook Manhattan

                It was reported that if the lease on the 2nd building were given up, considerable
                money could be saved.