Campus News

Tripathi gives state budget update at PSS meeting

By DAVID J. HILL

Published April 20, 2018

President Satish K. Tripathi stopped by Thursday’s Professional Staff Senate meeting to give a quick update on the state budget and answer a few questions posed by PSS members.

The operating part of the state budget is “totally flat,” Tripathi said. He also said the state again is not providing funding for negotiated salary increases. “We are happy that our faculty and staff get raises, but we don’t have extra money coming in,” he said. “It’s something we are very carefully watching.”

On the capital funding side, there is no state money for new buildings, only for critical maintenance for existing buildings.

“At the end of the day, we have the same amount of money we had last year, which is about $41 million. Five years ago, we were getting about $65 million. Our buildings have gotten older in five years, too. Most of our buildings are 50, 60 years old and require a lot of maintenance,” Tripathi said.

He also briefly touched on undergraduate and international student applications. “We continue to attract the best and brightest students,” he said, noting that undergraduate applications are up 35 percent over the past three years.

“There has been some drop in international students, but that’s happening nationwide,” he added. Despite that, “We still have a strong pool of international applications.”

After his remarks, Tripathi had time to answer a few questions. He was asked about improving recreational and fitness opportunities and facilities for faculty and staff. “This is one of our priorities,” he said. The problem is coming up with an appropriate funding model for a new facility since the state is not likely to provide any money for it. “We want to do it, but the finances are different,” he said.

In response to a question about alternative transportation, Tripathi said he’s been pleased with the number of faculty and staff who are commuting to the new Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences building downtown using greener methods, including taking advantage of a credit that can be used to purchase an NFTA Metro pass.

While Thursday was the final PSS meeting of the academic year, the organization is hosting several events over the next few weeks and months, including an electronics and clothing recycling drive on April 26, and its bi-annual professional development conference in June at the Hotel Henry.