Slippery Rock University Council of Trustees approves two memoranda of understanding, Council, SRU President and SRU APSCUF President discuss APSCUF financial report

  • Casey Squires

    Slippery Rock University Vice Presidents prepare for the Council of Trustees quarterly meeting Friday. Also photographed (right) SRU APSCUF President Dr. Patrick Burkhart talks with Commissioner William L. McCarrier before addressing the council.

  • Casey Squires

    Council of Trustees President Robert S. Taylor questions SRU APSCUF President Patrick Burkhart about the university's relations with APSCUF regarding the budgetary process. “I felt no deception [from the University in regards to budget information]. It was rather overcoming ignorance and I am very grateful that again and again and again additional data has been provided,” Burkhart said.

Kevin Squires, Assistant News Editor
December 16, 2013
Filed under News

The Slippery Rock University Council of Trustees approved two memoranda of understanding during the quarterly meeting Friday in room 321 of the Robert M. Smith Student Center at 1:30 p.m. The memoranda were from the Slippery Rock University Foundation and Slippery Rock University Alumni Association. Not voted on was the memorandum of understanding for the Student Government Association.The student affairs committee reviewed the draft memorandum of understanding between the university and the student government association, reportedly spending half of their committee meeting discussing the memorandum. In the very near future, the committee expects a final version of the memorandum to be presented to the council. The finance and audit committee recommended approving the other two memoranda, but felt the Student Government Association’s should not be approved at this time due to certain organizational changes being discussed by the organization.

The student affairs committee also discussed off campus housing generally and specifically the incident happening off campus last Sept. The committee plans to discuss institutional fees further in their next meeting.

The finance and audit committee reported feeling assurance of timely and accurate audit information with everything in order after a presentation by CliftonLarsonAllen, the outside auditors of the 2013 audit report. The committee also reported feeling that the Boyer and Ritter report from the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) as based on selective information, some of which was unsubstantiated.

Dr. Patrick Burkhart, president of the SRU APSCUF chapter, spoke during public comments about the financial concerns of APSCUF and the union’s relations with Slippery Rock University.

“It’s part of the checks and balances that should occur in a democratic society,” Burkhart said of the financial review by APSCUF.

In general with relation to the budgeting process, Burkhart stated, “[SRU APSCUF] avoided both temptation and encouragement to publicly disparage our institution and its leadership. Instead we spoke with a tempered voice to the end that cooperation won the day.”

“I felt no deception [from the University in regards to budget information]. It was rather overcoming ignorance and I am very grateful that again and again and again additional data has been provided,” Burkhart said, adding that “finances remain a concern.” He commented that he recently had an epiphany, realizing that “two sides can read a similar text and still hold different opinions.”

Slippery Rock University President Cheryl J. Norton also commented on the budget during her address to the council. “I want to make it very clear that in light of these workforce decisions which are not easy to make, the budget situation we’re facing is a structural multiyear environment and in no way is the mismanagement of state resources as alleged in the recent APSCUF commissioned report,” she said. “I truly think it’s important to state publicly that PASSHE and Slippery Rock University found that the report contained errors, some misinterpretations, and should not be construed as a financial audit of our institution.”

Dr. Robert Arnhold, coordinator of the adapted physical activity program, and director of the Center on Disability and Health, presented on the adapted physical activity program and the unintended consequences associated with the recent faculty alterations made at Slippery Rock.

“Projected for next fall, we will be losing Wendy Fagan, Kelly Sheehan, and Dallas Jackson at least 50 percent of the time leaving two and a half faculty to run basically three programs,” Arnhold said. He forecasted a decline in students enrolling in the programs and a lack of resources for education, including the Storm Harbor Equestrian Center.

As a solution, he proposed keeping the program viable by revising the community programs for Americans with disabilities major to place more emphasis on residents with disabilities and moving the adapted physical activity professors currently not scheduled to return to Slippery Rock University next year to the special education department.
Student Government Association President Buddy Clements also addressed the council during the public forum, emphasizing the effort SGA puts into helping the students.

The Sept. meeting minutes were approved during the meeting by the council as well as a resolution for the order of succession in the event the president is off campus or unable to perform her duties. Trustee member Thomas Breth was elected secretary to the Council of Trustees. The next meeting of the council is scheduled to take place Friday, Mar. 28.

A full copy of the meeting’s agenda can be found here.

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