Tough economic climate calls for patience rather than pointing fingers

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Tough economic climate calls for patience rather than pointing fingers

North Carolina’s decision to replace the state’s entire student aid program is alarming.

The financial cuts that are involved will affect programs across the board at Guilford College and it is not going to be pretty. Every department campus-wide will be affected.

Last year, the college claimed we would be seeing a financial aid decrease of $1.4 million over the course of two years. The forecast was wrong.

The actual cost to Guilford College will be $2.2 million, which amounts to about 8% percent of our budget.

Though I rightfully question power, instead of pointing fingers, it is imperative during this rough financial time that I encourage our community to support the administration led by President and Professor of Political Science Kent Chabotar.

Before you lay down the paper and swear me off, consider this: Chabotar is no stranger to financial crisis. When he was offered the presidency at Guilford in 2002, the college was running multi-million dollar budget deficits with double-digit endowment spending even though the campus was poorly maintained and employees had not received a raise in two years.

Guilford needed $10 million to put the college back on the road to financial equilibrium.

Though the college never received the full amount, he still balanced the budget and cleaned up the campus grounds throughout the years.

In his free time, Chabotar and other staff members, such as former vice president of finance and special assistant to the president Jerry Boothby, have been asked to help create strategic plans to keep other colleges afloat.  This shows that, not only has the team kept Guilford out of the red, but also their sage advice is in demand at institutions across the country.

“We usually consult one or two institutions a year,” said Boothby.

It is also important to remember that Chabotar is an educator, as well as an administrator, who is sincerely eager to explain strategic and financial concepts in an understandable way to lay audiences.

Equally as important, as a trained CFO he can interpret spreadsheets and financial statements to uncover underlying trends.

Chabotar does not believe in platitudes and rhetoric as much as data both historical and comparative, which keeps him levelheaded in times of crisis.

Along with being sound-minded, Chabotar reminded me that he was strategic.

“I deal in two levels in almost everything I do: short term and long term,” he said. “You cannot decide one without the other. Stay ahead of the competition.  Anticipate and welcome change.”

Just on the basis of those reasons alone, I am undoubtedly assured Guilford’s administration will care for the students and faculty during what is expected to be a very tight fiscal year ahead. Only time will tell if that faith has been misplaced — though I doubt I’m wrong.

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