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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Update on Campus Budget & FY18 Allocation

Dear colleagues,

I hope your school year is off to a successful start. Like me, I'm sure your schedule has suddenly become very full. There is no shortage of activity around campus and taking a minute to slow down and enjoy it always helps remind me how important our work is. 

Last week, the Vice Chancellors and I met with the Strategic Planning and Budget Committee and my Senior Leadership Council to discuss our budget allocation and next steps. At the end of August, I received UMD's final budget allocation letter from President Kaler for the current 2017-18 fiscal year. With that information, I am providing an update on our budget projections.

Our campus made significant progress in addressing our budget deficit last year. We identified $2.3 million in recurring reductions that we are implementing this fiscal year. At the time, those budget reductions along with some one-time budget actions, would have brought our projected fiscal year 2017-18 (FY18) annual structural imbalance (recurring budget deficit) down to $1.3 million. From there, we looked at changes to the budget based on tuition, our budget request, state funding, U of M allocation, and expenses. 

This current fiscal year, our O&M (state) allocation has increased by almost $2 million which includes $878,000 in one-time funds for repairs and renovations. The recurring amount of $1.1 million will help fund two additional mental health counselors to provide critical support for our students. It will help fund a scholarship match and Federal Perkins Loan financial aid program. This funding will also provide nearly half a million dollars to address a portion of our structural imbalance and other increased costs. In addition, our positive enrollment growth and one percent tuition increase has resulted in nearly $1.7 million in additional resources. 

Another positive outcome of our budget allocation is we will be able to fund the Sports and Health Center renovation and enhancements. This funding comes through a mix of state-allocated HEAPR funding, one-time U of M funds, private gifts, and UMD. That project will go to bid this fall with work scheduled to begin during spring break in March. 

However, instead of ending FY18 with a $1.3 million structural deficit, the actual year-end deficit will be closer to $3.2 million. The reasons for this higher than anticipated deficit are FY18 merit pay, increased fringe benefit costs, growth in the cost pool, and lower than anticipated state allocation. Our projected structural imbalance at the end of fiscal year 2016-17 was $4 million, and we are still making progress by reducing that recurring deficit to $3.2 million. However, increased costs have kept us from making as much progress on the deficit as we anticipated. You can read the complete FY18 UMD budget allocation letter. 

Adding this additional $3.2 million annual shortfall to the FY18 sequestered deficit (cash balance deficit) means that the projected sequestered deficit will be almost $11 million by June 30, 2018

This leaves us in a difficult situation and I'm sure that it is as frustrating for you, as it is for me, to not see more progress being made on reducing our deficit. The U of M System did recognize the reductions we made, and we will continue to work with President Kaler and his team at resolving the structural imbalance and sequestered deficit. We will continue to be advocates for UMD, ask tough questions, drive innovative solutions, and work to ensure as minimal negative impact on our students as possible.  

The next step in the process is for Vice Chancellor Steve Keto to model an updated budget resolution plan. Then we will provide more information on our timeline to balance our deficit, targeted reduction amounts, and begin work at identifying savings to be implemented in fiscal year 2019. 

Thank you for your commitment to UMD. Please feel free to contact me or any of the Vice Chancellors if you have questions. 


Lendley Black

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Statement from Chancellor Black re: DACA Decision

Dear Students, Faculty & Staff:

You should have received the message "The DACA decision and the University's stance" from University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler. I want to reiterate what President Kaler has said and express my disappointment in the Trump administration's decision to rescind the Deferred Access for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program.

I have joined other Chancellors and Presidents across the country in expressing the importance of this program, including having signed on to the American Council on Education's letter of support.

I believe in the DACA program and I believe that these students, the Dreamers, bring tremendous value to our universities and communities. I am concerned for the individuals currently in the program and want to reiterate that UMD will do everything we can within the law to continue to provide support and an education to these students.

Students seeking support or more information should contact the Office of Diversity and Inclusion or Susana Pelayo-Woodward at swoodwar@d.umn.edu.


Lendley Black

Friday, September 1, 2017

Start of the Fall Semester Update

Dear UMD Parents and Family Members

By now your UMD Bulldog has arrived on campus, participated in Bulldog Welcome Week, and is settling into their first week of classes. We hope that your move-in experience on campus was a great one! Every year I'm appreciative of how well campus activities for move-in are organized, and I thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to interact with new students and their families. I also appreciate the many UMD returning students who help new students unload their vehicles, move their valuable possessions into their new UMD living spaces, and welcome new students with positive signs and cheers on the streets around campus.

I also want to acknowledge an aspect of move-in Tuesday that was problematic. Off campus, a much fewer number of UMD students created a host of disturbances and problems in the surrounding neighborhoods. You may have driven by some of the parties and observed sexist and offensive signs. I want you to know that those behaviors are unacceptable to me and I recognize that the partying and signs are completely inconsistent with a positive, inclusive campus.

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents Student Conduct Code limits our ability to respond to off-campus behavior. Our response is limited to conduct that is against the law, and every student that was ticketed or arrested by the police on Tuesday will also be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution.

Given the limitations for addressing off-campus behavior, we've tried a number of strategies to encourage students to make different choices. I pledge to you that we're going to explore new ways of working with our students to help them learn about their responsibilities as members of the Duluth community. As you have the opportunity, I encourage you to talk with your student about this topic. As I wrote to you in my email this summer, we know that parents are great partners in our students' UMD journey.

Since I last wrote, Student Life has launched a Parents and Family webpage as part of their redesigned website. I hope you'll find it useful!

Best wishes to your student as they start their academic career at UMD, and also to you as you begin your journey as a Bulldog parent or family member!

Lendley C. BlackChancellor