Town Hall on budget deficit set for Feb. 24

A town hall meeting to discuss further steps to deal with Ashland University’s ongoing budget deficit is set for Friday, Feb. 24, at 3:30 p.m. in Hugo Young Theatre.

AU President Carlos Campo said the meeting would address what was discussed at the Board of Trustees meetings, which were held on Jan. 26-27.

When asked if students were allowed to attend the Feb. 24 meeting, Dr. Campo stated, “The town halls are directed toward faculty and staff. The students are represented at the board meetings, and so they generally get this information directly from their student representatives.”

When The Collegian contacted Dr. Campo and Board of Trustees Chair Jim Hess after the trustees’ meeting to find out what happened, both said they wanted to wait until after the town hall to comment.

On Feb. 7, an email was sent out to staff and faculty from Dr. Campo.

The email summarized the “primary focus points” from the January board meeting:

We continue to stay focused on the enrollment declines and the impact on the 2023 and 2024 budgets. Covid-19 had a deleterious effect on many programs, with nursing and education – two of our perennially strong areas – still lagging well behind pre-Covid levels. One theme that has emerged is, “We must continue to drive revenue, as we cannot cut our way to success.”

With the emphasis on revenue enhancement, we will be further emphasizing recruitment efforts across the board, from our College Credit Plus programs for high schoolers, to our doctoral programs and everything in between.

We know that athletics has been a strong driver of revenue for the university, so we are looking to recruit even more student-athletes for the fall while maintaining our strong commitment to student scholarships.

Our work continues on the university “masterbrand,” as we refine our identity through the messages emerging from our core documents, interviews and even upcoming focus groups. Our alum and Board member Scott Williams is helping to facilitate this effort.

We must also ensure that our current standing as a leader in Correctional Education (CE) is not diminished, and we are securing the next leader to work with our strong team in the CE area so that we continue to promote excellence while keeping enrollment up. Re-entry and transition will also be emphasized to ensure that our CE students and alums are served effectively.

As communicated in the last town hall, we will continue to look for opportunities to reduce expenses, but the primary cuts for 2023 have been made. Leadership in all areas will continue to work together to ensure excellence and efficiency.
At the beginning of the 2023 spring semester, on Tuesday, Jan. 10, a town hall meeting was held in the Ronk lecture hall to address concerns about the budget.

At that town hall meeting, it was first announced that 20 employees of the university were going to lose their jobs and going to be notified that coming Monday.

On Monday, according to Dr. Campo, 13 to 14 individuals of full-time staff were let go from the university. Dr. Campo also stated that a list would not be released for confidentiality reasons.

By the end of the semester, a total of 20 individuals will be let go from the university.