Missouri Western State University’s Board of Governors are charting the same budget course as last year which resulted in an additional $3 million above expenses without the additional $1.5 million from the Student Success Act’s fees.
General operating reserves have surpassed $8 million, which is a ten-year high, and the BOG voted Thursday, Feb. 28 to spend down $1 million of it. They also voted to spend another $500,000 of the auxiliary reserves.
BOG Chair Kylee Strough was absent from the meeting, but said in an earlier e-mail, “Keep in mind, reserves should not be used for ongoing expenses, but instead for one-time purchases, improvements, etc.”
“What we didn’t want to do is put an expense on here that is ongoing,” University President Robert Vartabedian said while at the meeting.
With Strough’s absence, BOG Vice Chair Dirk Clark officiated the meeting that allocated proposed one-time expenditures of $850,000 for roofing repairs, $120,000 for new technology, and $115,000 to develop a campus property development master plan, which will include sidewalk repairs.
“The administration has looked at areas where they could spend down excess reserves in smart ways,” Vartabedian said.
Those “smart ways” didn’t include much to directly impact student life at Western according to BOG’s Deborah J. Smith.
“I’m fine with it, but I would have liked to have seen more of the things included that the students requested,” Smith said. Those requests came from three different lists submitted by Student Governor Brian Shewell, Interim Vice President of Student Affairs Judy Grimes and Special Assistant to the President Ann Pierce from her discussions with students.
Nothing on the lists were discussed, except additional lighting on campus. That discussion ended with Dr. Vartabedian saying that funds for that project could come later from other sources.
“I know there were things on your lists you wanted, but in some cases, we couldn’t deliver on the lists,” Vartabedian said.
The proposal passed unanimously.
The meeting was quickly closed, according to Missouri state statute, to discuss legal matters and personnel issues.
Students have been expecting the appointment of a new Vice President of Student Affairs. Griffon News staff reporters and editors waited out the closed meeting in anticipation of the possible announcement. When returning to the room, the motion to accept the personnel proposals were being approved by vote of the members.
When asked about the closed session and if he could talk about anything that happened in closed session, Clark said, “What happens in closed session stays in closed session.”