Letter to the Editor: CAPE cuts should come with bureaucracy cuts too

Submitted Tom Hunley

Dear Editor:

WKU just conducted a program review and recommended the suspension of 101 programs —11 undergraduate degrees, four graduate degrees and 86 other credentials such as minors and certificates.

Fine, if needed, but shouldn’t we also conduct a review of administrators and ask ourselves if we really need (for example) an Assistant to the President for Special Initiatives (this appears to be a new post, as I can’t find it in the 2018-2019 budget) or a Vice President of Philanthropy and Alumni Affairs who is paid over $212,000 per year? Do we really need $750,000 budgeted for salary in the Vice President/Provost’s office, including three associate vice presidents each making six figure salaries? Maybe we do, but if our economic crisis mandates that we cut faculty lines and programs, it seems only fair to ask administration to take a similar hit.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the number of college administrators has increased at 10 times the rate of tenure-eligible faculty nationwide over the course of the last two decades. Here at WKU, the faculty listserv has been inundated with messages about administrative hires at a time when there’s a freeze on faculty hiring. I believe that if there needs to be a hiring freeze, it ought to be a freeze on administrative hires as well as on T/T faculty. If there have to be difficult cuts, the burden shouldn’t fall entirely on the faculty; we should now have a CAPE-like process that recommends cuts to the bureaucracy.

Tom C. Hunley, Ph.D.
Professor – English/Creative Writing