President celebrates Fresno State recent successes, acknowledges challenges ahead

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President celebrates Fresno State recent successes, acknowledges challenges ahead

California State University, Fresno President John D. Welty today urged faculty and staff to remember and celebrate campus successes of the past year, even as they work to overcome challenges in 2010.

At the annual Spring Faculty and Staff Assembly on campus, Welty enumerated several high points of the past year, including opening the new Madden Library, a national award for outstanding community service and a $29.4 million cash gift for the Campaign for Fresno State.

But he acknowledged that the “many, many positive things” at Fresno State are often overshadowed by the fiscal challenges imposed on the university by the state budget crisis. He urged faculty and staff to join him in being “a strong advocate for the CSU.”

Since almost all of Fresno State’s budget is already committed for this fiscal year, Welty said he does not anticipate any further cuts in services, staffing or class offerings.

But the future is uncertain, he said. Despite encouraging news for higher education in Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposed budget, the fact remains that funding reductions in recent years to the entire California State University now are forcing Fresno State to becoming a smaller campus.

Welty said the number of new students admitted – already down by 1,000 this school year – will be reduced by another 2,000 students in the fall.

“Simply put, Fresno State must shrink back to the size it was in 2000,” Welty said. “Our budget is being reduced to the figure we had in 2000. And with a smaller budget, we must reduce the number of students we serve and, correspondingly, the number of faculty and staff.”

Budget planning for 2010-11 does not contemplate continuing the two-day-a-month furlough program beyond June 30, he said.

“Reducing the size of the university is the reality we face,” said Welty. “And as we carefully consider the challenges and changes we face, we will do all we can to minimize the impact on our campus community and on our mission to educate students.”

On Feb. 5, the president will convene a budget summit with campus leaders to outline a proposed budget plan and ask for feedback. After a review of suggestions, he will issue a tentative plan in early March.

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