Kentucky State University, facing severe budget constraints due to falling enrollment, has announced a new round of cuts, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported. Administrative positions are being eliminated and 32 adjunct positions have been eliminated until full-time faculty members all have full course loads. In addition, the university has suspended the awarding of tenure to faculty members. Those on the tenure track but not tenured will undergo reviews to determine whether they can stay. Enrollment at the historically black college has dropped from 2,533 last fall to 1,869 this fall.
Peter A. Smith, a professor of English and president of the Faculty Senate, said this in an email to Inside Higher Ed: "All of the faculty I have spoken with applaud the president's plan to make the university's administrative structure more efficient and to reduce spending that is not critical to our educational mission. Much of what was in his plan was what faculty had been asking the previous administration to do for years. As for the plan to 'review' the non-tenured faculty to decide whether or not to re-employ them, we do have some questions and concerns that we hope will be addressed in the very near future. We will begin discussing these concerns with the administration in anticipation that we can all agree upon on a process that will be fair and focused on our mutual goal of providing our students with the best education possible."
Smith added that the suspension of tenure was not by itself a huge concern, provided that the suspension is for a brief period of time. But he said that faculty leaders had no knowledge that this was going to happen. "The major concern that I heard about that is that it came, quite literally, just as the University Tenure and Promotion Committee was concluding its work and issuing its recommendations," Smith said. "It had never been mentioned to faculty before Friday, so the timing is quite inopportune."
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