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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Budget for Diversity Plan cut in half

The Assessment for Strategic Indicators, released by President Kent Chabotar in May 2008, reports that the budget for the Diversity Plan and diversity training initiatives was originally set at $137,000, but has been “adjusted to $68,000.” The document states that “the reduced funding will constrain workshops as well as staffing and recruitment efforts.”

Director of the Friends Center and Campus Ministry Coordinator Max Carter, who attended the Quaker Life & Diversity meetings with the board of trustees, said that the decision was not surprising because the trustees asked the college to minimize spending.

“Trustees wanted the document to be at its best before presenting it to the full Board, and SLRP (Strategic Long Range Planning committee)-which I also sit on-had been asked to reduce budgeted amounts, given the college’s financial challenges,” said Carter.

According to Jeff Favolise, assistant to the president for planning and management, this decision reflects the financial limitations that Guilford faces.

“The bigger picture and story that we are all living is the overall reductions in many areas on campus and in many SLRP areas, including hundreds of thousands for facilities and tens of thousands in other places in the SLRP Table 8 Budget,” said Favolise.

Favolise stressed the importance of thinking about budgets and funding for current projects in the context of our investments, historical budgets, financial planning, enrollment, tuition, and financial aid because most students do not pay full price.

“Guilford seeks ongoing responsible improvement despite revenue limitations, aggressive but challenging stewardship of our limited use of our line of credit,” said Favolise.

According to Favolise, a line of credit is “an arrangement in which a bank extends a specified amount of cash or “credit” (like an ongoing short-term loan) to a specified borrower (Guilford) for a specified time period.

“A few years ago, we did very carefully and responsibly use our line of credit and decided to take on debt for a couple million so that we could do exciting initiatives such as diversity training, Principled Problem Solving, and essential and needed facility upgrades,” said Favolise.

Favolise said that cuts were made this year in order to pay off the line of credit.

“We borrowed this money carefully and responsibly, but we obviously have to repay it and there is a gradual repayment plan,” said Favolise. “SLRP has a budget and like everyone else, we carefully trimmed back where it would not impact the goals and outcomes in a dramatic manner and so we could still ‘keep the wheels on’ the initiatives.” Favolise said that the interest Guilford has to pay on the line of credit is less than that interest the College will receive in investments.

“It is more responsible to make use of a chunk of money that is “cheaper” to use,” said Favolise. “These are the types of considerations we make so we can keep investing in important things like the Diversity Plan.”

Erin Dell, assistant dean of academic administration and former international student advisor, said that the committees have found new and more efficient ways to do things in light of the budget cuts.

“Guilford is looking at training our own trainers so we can customize our workshops to Guilford as well as ultimately save money by working “in-house,” said Dell. “As far as recruitment efforts are concerned for international students, there is a group of staff and faculty looking at ways to reach out to students that may have minimal budget impact. For example, we are working with faculty leaders on study abroad programs to visit schools and guidance counselors while they are abroad.”

The Diversity Plan, which was included as one of the strategic priorities in Guilford’s first SLRP, is in the developing stages and will detail these new ideas as well as future funding.

“Next year we will provide even more funding and dramatically increase our efforts based on the Plan,” said Favolise.

“The SLRP Committee, which includes faculty, staff, and the Student Senate President, is charged with the task of implementing the plan,” said Professor of Theatre Studies David Hammond, who serves as the division of fine arts representative on the SLRP Committee. “The student senate president serves as the link between the work of the committee and the concerns and needs of the student body.”

Senate will implement diversity training among the senators in order to represent their constituencies.

“We are planning a retreat where senators will be trained how to give each group an equal opportunity to get their voices heard,” said Senate Vice-President Dana Hamdan. “Senate is working on a diversity training plan for the senators and we are looking forward to hearing what the administration has in mind to ensure that diversity training and multicultural programs are available for all students.”

Holly Wilson, Africana community coordinator and interim director of multicultural education, graduated from Guilford in May 1996 and has worked at Guilford since August 2001.

“I have seen improvements at Guilford over the years, including, but not limited to an increase in Africana faculty and administrative staff, as well as a slight increase in the number of traditional Africana students,” said Wilson. “Guilford now has a department that not only considers the needs of Africana students, but of Latino, Native American and GLBTQA communities as well.”

Wilson now works in the multicultural education office, which did not exist while she was a student.

“We have come a long way,” said Wilson. “Can we go further? Sure. Change takes time and great effort, and I believe that Guilford, with the Diversity Plan, Anti-Racism Initiative, Cultural Pluralism Committee, etc. is taking the time and making the effort.

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