Students will suffer under looming cuts

Evan Watson/The News

The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.

Evan Watson/The News

Evan Watson/The News

After Gov. Steve Beshear announced a potential 2.5 percent cut to higher education in the Kentucky Budget Address, Murray State had no choice but to discuss cutting corners to fill a $6.9 million gap.

Under Interim President Tim Miller, we have seen University issues became noticeably more transparent.

While it is encouraging to know exactly where our money is going, it is also shocking to see the primary sources of the University’s exponential debt.

Some of Murray State’s deficits were the outcome of frivolous spending and incompetent accounting.

A layout of Murray State’s current expenses showed that former President Randy Dunn withdrew $1.1 million of the University’s reserve funds, which should only be used in cases of emergency, to fund the shortcomings of the budget.

The budget development worksheet also showed us that Murray State was paying $11,500 for travel expenses to an unknown recruiter in Illinois.

Using emergency money to fill gaps is inappropriate and puts the University in a vulnerable position.

Hiring unknown sources to recruit is also unnecessary when we have faculty here who are capable of recruitment. Facts like this should wake us up and inspire us to focus on how Murray State’s money is being managed.

It is imperative that Murray State hires a president who has competence in finances. Miller, who has a backround in accounting, is a large reason we are seeing the errors of Murray State’s past budget spending.

These are errors that we can no longer afford to make.

Kentucky college students are seeing firsthand the effects of having a governor who has little-to-no financial experience.

This is why we will see state funding dwindle and we will be forced to cut corners to accommodate shrinking funds.

The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education is responsible for deciding how much state universities can increase tuition rates. Murray State has to adhere to the cap placed by the CPE, but this backs us further into a corner.

If Murray State loses state funding and staff to keep tuition low, there will be limited options as to how to fill the multi-million dollar gap in our budget.

This is why an academic college is potentially being eliminated, enrollment is beyond the campus capacity and why the budget recommendations will look to cut in places that will affect us the most.

It is easy for students to see headlines about tuition increases and assume that it is because the University is greedy, sometimes that’s not the case.

We are ultimately being failed by Beshear and the state of Kentucky, who justify cutting funds for higher education and forcing us to scramble to fill in these financial holes.

We are seeing surrounding Kentucky colleges become weaker and financially unstable because of decisions made by the state. The presidential search should be our opportunity to make sure our University remains strong with competent leaders, continuous transparency and better insight on a working budget.