What dreams may come: a year in review

Where, oh where, did the semester go? Is it already the end? Say it isn’t so.

This year saw many major news events. As the academic year draws to a close, The Guilfordian has followed up on some of them to give you the latest developments in each.

 

Budget woes plague Guilford

As budget woes hit the college like an unexpected typhoon, due to N.C. legislators eliminating the state’s current student aid program for private colleges and universities, administrators enacted a “worst-case” scenario in order to keep the college afloat during this trying time.

The sudden cut will reduce student financial aid at Guilford by $2.2 million over two years, and as a result Guilford administrators are scrambling to make sure the losses are not transferred to students as the new fiscal year approaches this July.

Though the worst-case scenario calls for potential staff cuts among other things, President and Professor of Political Sciences Kent Chabotar said that his team of vice presidents and faculty representatives are working hard to make sure the cuts do not affect students and academic programs.

“For example, although the worst-case enrollment scenario calls for a reduction of 18 faculty positions — none of them tenured or on the tenure track — next year to maintain the 16-1 ratio, we will not be able to reduce that many that fast because of contractual and scheduling considerations,” said Chabotar.

Chabotar expects that administrators will recommend $2 million in cuts over the next two years, presumably in four phases — or buckets — of approximately equal size.

Administrators are also expected to endorse a bucket for a one-year 25 percent reduction in the college contribution to employee retirement plans.

“To put it in real terms, if we take that cut it will reduce the college’s contribution for employees with four or more years of service from 11 percent of salary and wages to 8.25 percent,” said Chabotar. “The alternative is to cut more positions and expenses that will fall hardest on administrative programs and services, academic support and student life because tenured and tenure track faculty positions are being protected.”

Should the cuts look too harmful, the administrators may look at a temporary increase in endowment spending to avoid the worst cuts.

Vice President for Enrollment Services Randy Doss said that currently Guilford is realizing worst-case enrollment numbers due to North Carolina’s financial aid cuts.

“The forecasted enrollment is 1,400 traditional students and 1,214 CCE students, while early college student enrollment remained the same,” said Doss.

Meanwhile, Dean for the Center of Continuing Education Rita Serotkin said that her office is working tirelessly to bring their enrollment up.

“We are scheduling appointments to get as many people enrolled as we can,” said Serotkin. “The college is trying to make up some of the financial aid cuts as they can. We are doing our best to limit that impact.”

 

Founders renovation

Though Guilford is saddled with budget cuts, a $3 million, gift-funded Founders Hall renovation is going forward this summer, which will change the look and function of the student union’s existing structure.

Vice President for Administration Jon Varnell said that the community’s input has been a vital part of the Founder’s facelift.

“Community input has been a key part of our renovation work and improved the function of project work in most cases,” said Varnell.

 

Jon Hatch case

In June of last year, Jonathan Hatch, a former associate professor of mathematics, was arrested and charged for allegedly using a miniature digital camera built inside a pen to take up-skirt photos of a student at the college.

A representative of the Guilford County district attorney’s office told The Guilfordian that as of Hatch’s last court date in March, the case was still active and pending trial.

“We don’t have a new court date,” said the representative. “Usually the prosecutor has to ask for a date, but the case is still active and is likely being negotiated by the defending and prosecuting attorneys.”

 

Report looks into Title IX compliance

In February 2012, Guilford’s athletics department announced that they would conduct a Title IX self-study to evaluate gender equity among other criteria that Title IX outlines.

Assistant Professor of Sports Studies and Department Chair Robert Malekoff, who heads Guilford’s Title IX efforts, reported that the process is moving forward.

 

So here we are at the end of the year, which reminds us that while some things end, others continue until our return from the magical summer months that are ahead.