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Seattle U students and faculty plan Tuesday rally against budget cuts

Students and faculty at Seattle University are planning to march through campus Tuesday afternoon to oppose a school-wide 4% budget cut planned for 2015. Rally organizers say the private school’s administration has ignored calls by student and faculty groups for more budget transparency.

“I’m concerned that these cuts seem to be directly harming the most vulnerable members of our community and are directly affecting instruction,” said communications instructor Louisa Edgerly.

In a letter sent to faculty members in October, Father Stephen Sundborg, the Jesuit Catholic university’s president, outlined the administration’s reasons for the cuts affecting every department except for the law school, which initiated cuts last year. In the letter obtained by CHS, Sundborg identified several enrollment targets that fell short of projections, leading to an estimated $3.5 million budget shortfall in 2015.

The single largest challenge we face is a decline in the number of continuing students, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. We expect this decline will result in a loss of about $1.8 million. While analysis of this shortfall is just beginning, we believe that it is more or less evenly distributed across undergraduate and graduate levels and that the issue at the undergraduate level is primarily with upper division students, particularly those who entered the university as transfers.

Other issues the president addressed include:

  • New undergraduate student enrollment fell short of the projected 1,000 students at 936 students, creating a $1 million shortfall.
  • Lower than expected new graduate student enrollment resulted in a $300,000 shortfall.
  • Lower than expected summer enrollment for graduate students resulted in a $330,000 shortfall.

Earlier this summer students held a flash mob on the Capitol Hill campus to call attention to a variety of issues, including fossil fuel divestment and faculty unionizing rights.

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