SMU responds to budget cut speculations

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The Dallas Morning News reported Dec. 4 that SMU planned to use staff layoffs and administrative changes to save $35 million through the Operational Excellence for the Second Century (OE2C) project.

The article titled “SMU plans layoffs, other changes to cut $35 million,” has received a lot of attention from SMU families, teachers, staff and the Dallas community.

The Daily Campus reported that staff layoffs will be a result of the OE2C project Nov. 20.

SMU believed the stories of financial review were given a negative interpretation and, because of this, President R. Gerald Turner sent out an email to the SMU community addressing these allegations Dec. 6.

The email stated that the administration’s main issues with the article were the assumption that SMU’s choice to “rein in finances” was associated with the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center and that the funding from the $1 billion Second Century Campaign was contradictory with these budget cuts.

“At a time when universities across the country are being questioned about the impact of administrative costs on affordability, SMU is taking the lead in examining operations, procedures and positions that can be streamlined,” Turner said in the email.

It is true, however, that staff positions will be restructured or eliminated because of the university’s choice to hire Bain & Company and review SMU’s finances.

In regards to the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library, Turner stated that SMU incurred one-time costs for University-related events during the opening. The Bush Library is funded by the federal government, and the Bush Institute is funded by private donations to the Bush Foundation, not SMU. The university did benefit from the visibility of the opening and continues to benefit from the resources of the library.

The $1 billion from the Second Century Campaign is funding new faculty positions, academic programs, scholarships and facilities. According to Turner, the gifts to the campaign are restructured for specific purposes and do not cover operating expenses.

“We must look at our structure and operations to see where savings can occur—to be redirected to our academic mission,” Turner said in the email.

Turner also stated that the majority of the approximately $35 million in savings will be reallocated to academic purposes.

The university is trying to remain transparent throughout its budget changes by updating its OE2C website when budget decisions are made.

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