By Brandon Seltenrich & Auston Morris
Last week’s agenda for the Senate of the Undergraduate Student Association discussed many issues which, although some students may be unaware as of now, will have long-term effects on them. Marco Benedetti, Vice President for Business and Finance, gave the Senate a presentation incorporating a review of last year’s College budget as well as a preview of the process of this year’s budget.
The principal point of discussion in Benedetti’s presentation was fall enrollment. This is because, according to the Senate meeting minutes from October 18, tuition represents about 90 percent of the operating budget for Canisius. The remaining ten percent is divided in half between endowed scholarships and grants. In terms of monetary figures, the College has an operating budget of slightly over 90,000,000 dollars. 80,000,000 dollars of this comes from tuition. The concern at the forefront of the meeting was that Canisius is currently operating at a budget deficit of about 1.2 million dollars. The biggest expense is “people’s salaries.” Looking forward, managing the deficit will take looking at a combination of projected enrollment and other expenses.
The projected steps to take in dealing with this crisis entail determining a tuition increase in December. This increase is nothing new, as for the past three years Canisius has undergone a two percent tuition increase in December and, judging by the deficit with the current operating budget, it looks as if the same can be assumed to take place for this upcoming semester.
The plan is for all departments of the College to bring their budgets together and to not raise their budgets at all between the months of January and April. There will also be a Capital Budget set at roughly two to three million dollars, which will be set aside for improvements on the pool at the KAC, Tim Horton’s, and Bagen Hall, as well as minor touch-ups in the Dining Hall. These improvements are going to not only enhance the campus but will also, hopefully, create a better experience for every student on campus for years to come.
Senator and Chair of Sustainability Committee Clayton Shanahan, ‘18, took advantage of Benedetti’s visit to ask about the college’s environmental policies. Benedetti, according the the Senate minutes, announced that the School is spending money “very wisely” and making efforts not to over purchase things, which would result in waste. Benedetti also said that he plans to contact Director of Facilities Management Tom Ciminelli to get the findings of the Waste Management assessment. He also admitted that the school has no policy or position on divesting from fossil fuels.
President Ayoub also questioned Benedetti about the adjunct situation at the school, to which Benedetti reiterated his position that adjuncting is not meant to be a full-time position, and that adjuncts at Canisius are paid at or above the market rate.
Among some of Benedetti’s other revelations were that Canisius has sold three houses on Glendale, although they struggle to sell other properties, that Canisius has been unsuccessful at bringing biomedical companies into the upper levels of Science Hall, and that the School is still waiting for some sort of donation in order to complete Science Hall.
USA Senate President Elias Ayoub told The Griffin, “We are very thankful to Mr. Benedetti for taking time to come and address the Senate on what is going to change around campus within the next year.” Furthermore, Ayoub added, “[We] hope to see this as a new tradition that expands communication between the College’s VPBF, as well as student leadership.” He and the entirety of student government hope that better understanding will lead to better governance and budget management in the future. For Benedetti’s part, he said he has an “open door policy” and that students should feel free to reach out to him or Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Mangione if they feel the need to bring up an important issue.