JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Lincoln University in Jefferson City, one of two historically Black colleges in Missouri, is struggling to respond to budget shortfalls caused by a reduction in state and federal appropriations and anger from faculty and staff over some steps the school has taken in response.
The university said it will lose $3.8 million in state and federal appropriations for the 2017-2018 academic year, prompting it to terminate 48 faculty and staff positions and to impose a 0.5 percent employee pay reduction, the first across-the-board pay cut ever imposed at the university, The Columbia Missourian reported (http://bit.ly/2sQX4vq).The school also will increase undergraduate and graduate tuition by 2 percent.
Lincoln has generally had a budget of about $50 million annually but its budget for next year will be $33.5 million. The school generates about $13 million a year through tuition and other revenue streams and must make up the rest with state and federal funding, according to independent auditor reports. Even with budget cuts, the school will be $1.8 million short for the next year, Provost Debra Greene told faculty and staff in early May.
Lincoln University and Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis are the only two historically Black universities in Missouri, a designation that identifies schools founded to educate African-Americans.
Despite the designation, 53 percent of Lincoln’s student body of 3,289 undergraduate and graduate students is White. The school has 1,500 White students, 1,349 Black students and 440 students of other ethnicities. Just 36 of the 184 faculty belong to a minority group.
Land grant schools such as Lincoln can receive federal funds only if there is a dollar-for-dollar state or local match. The state has been inconsistent in allocating money for the land grant match, meaning Lincoln’s appropriation isn’t guaranteed from year-to-year.
Between fiscal years 2007 to 2014, for example, Missouri allocated nothing. During the last legislative session, a $2.5 million land-grant fund passed both the Missouri House and Senate, but it still needs Gov. Eric Greitens’ approval.
Faculty and staff have criticized many of the changes and say they lost their voice when a budget committee made up of faculty and staff was disbanded in 2013. Much of the blame was placed on Said Sewell, former provost and vice president of academic affairs. They approved a no-confidence vote against him in September 2016 and much of the faculty joined the Missouri National Education Association to prompt collective bargaining.
“Before this, we never thought about unionizing. And I don’t just mean discussing or debating it. No one had ever thought about it,” said Noel Heermance, who has taught English at Lincoln for 48 years.
Mike Middleton, who was interim president for the University of Missouri, took over as interim president of Lincoln earlier this month. On June 14, Lincoln and the University of Missouri System signed a memorandum of understanding that will create an advisory board to assess the strengths of both universities. The partnership also will share scholarly work, mutually seek grants, collaborate on research and organize international programs.
Information from: Columbia Missourian, http://www.columbiamissourian.com