Ransdell, SGA hold open forum

Leah Brown

The Student Government Association held an open forum Tuesday night with President Gary Ransdell where he addressed the impending tuition increase, the budget and enrollment. 

During the meeting, Ransdell addressed questions SGA and other students had about tuition, the budget and enrollment. 

“There will be a tuition increase for next year,” Ransdell said. 

The exact amount of increase will be announced April 29. 

When referring to the budget, Ransdell said there will be an increase in expenses from last year that will add up to $11 million total. There will be $4.2 million included in the increase that will be spent on scholarships and grants.

“I feel good about how we’ve been able to manage our budget,” Ransdell said. 

He said that he doesn’t think students have experienced any decrease in student services such as activities, police service or academics. Most of the classroom student to teacher ratio averages around 19 to 1. 

Most of the budget cut is funded by the privatization of health services. 

“I am hopeful most of the employees can be retained, but that’s not guaranteed,” Ransdell said.

The new Health Services center will most likely be open for public use as well as for students, he said. The center currently has 36 bidders. 

During the question and answer session, executive vice president Mark Reeves asked why SGA was not consulted before the privatizing. The president said that the decision was made privately between about four people. They could not discuss it publicly because they were unsure if the were going to have bidders.

“If I had a conversation with SGA before the staff, do you understand how unfair that would be,” Ransdell said. 

The elimination of a vice presidency position has also helped lightened the blow of the budget cut. 

“I really don’t see a noticeable impact on students,” Ransdell said. 

Reeves also asked the president if he would be willing to take a salary decrease in order to help with the budget cut. 

“Probably not,” Ransdell said. “I wouldn’t expect anyone else to do that.” 

However, after the forum, SGA passed Resolution 5-14-S with a seven to five vote. The resolution encourages him to consider a reduction in his salary. 

Ransdell also addressed an unexpected drop in enrollment, mainly in the white, female, undergrad demographic. 

He contributed the decrease to pricing and a better economy. 

In order to make up for the drop, WKU plans to recruit students who are a part of department of defense schools and international students. The undergrad demographic may shift, he said. 

Ransdell encourages students to persist and finish their education at WKU. 

“A lot of important things are happening on our campus,” Ransdell said. 

SGA will convene next Tuesday to hold another open forum with Vicky Rosa, executive director of Health Services.