Eastern Michigan University says no to budget demands of students, faculty
Eastern Michigan University defended its budget cut decisions in a detailed statement issued late Thursday afternoon.
The statement responded point by point to the seven demands presented by student protesters to Eastern Michigan University President James Smith in the hallway outside his office earlier this week.
Among other things, the students called for a halt to the implementation of staff cuts and to the recently announced elimination of four varsity sports.
In its statement, EMU stood by these decisions, while acknowledging that they are painful ones to reach.
The students also want EMU to leave the Mid-American Conference (MAC), to stop outsourcing university functions to third parties, and to halt new building projects that would increase the school's debt burden.
EMU responded that it does not plan to leave the MAC or to reverse its decision to enter into a third party partnership for parking. It also said it will proceed with planned building projects, including a new sports medicine and training facility.
Faculty leaders have recently made demands similar to those of the students.
EMU said its budget decisions are driven by declining state support and declining student credit hours, the primary source of revenue for EMU.
EMU attributes the reduction in student credit hours to falling high school enrollment in Michigan and falling enrollment at Michigan's community colleges which have been a significant source of transfer students for EMU.
According to the statement, these are challenges faced by many of its peer institutions in Michigan.