LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Provost of Academic Affairs on the Herald reserve fund

David Lee

To the Herald:

The Herald has expressed considerable concern about how carry forward allocations in the Division of Academic Affairs have impacted the newspaper. As Provost, I’m the university official responsible for those allocations, so I’d like to provide some context for those decisions.

WKU is facing a very serious budget situation. During the 2016-17 academic year, the university decided to address the anticipated 2017-2018 shortfall by using carry forward funds. Carry forward is money that remains unspent in university accounts at the end of the fiscal year. That money then “carries forward” into the new fiscal year. The other possible option was to address the shortfall through current year budget cuts, but using carry forward for the 17-18 academic year gives the university time to take a strategic approach to its budget issues.


In previous years, I would have been able to allocate virtually all of the Academic Affairs carry forward back to Academic Affairs units. Because of our financial shortfall, this year I am only able to allocate about a third.

Carry forward funds are extremely important to Academic Affairs. We use those funds to staff classes, address equipment needs, provide technology support, fund graduate assistantships and support faculty and student research and a good many other things. Given the sharp decline in our available carry forward, administrators in Academic Affairs have had to make some hard choices in allocating those funds. Please note that although the division only had access to a third of its carry forward overall, the division returned a substantially larger percentage—about half—to the Herald.

I regret the Herald’s loss of funds. I also regret the funds lost by dozens of other revenue-dependent and workshop accounts across Academic Affairs as well as the funds lost by all six colleges, the Graduate School, University Libraries and the Division of Extended Learning and Outreach.

In short, all of us in Academic Affairs have tried to make fair decisions that make the best use of resources for the greater good. These allocations are not retaliatory against the Herald or any other unit. The comparison with thievery is unfair and misleading. The university is in a difficult place financially, and all of us will need to be involved in building the solution to that problem.

David Lee

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs