Since President Christopher Dahl announced the deactivation of the communicative disorders and sciences, studio art and computer science departments, uncertainty on campus has grown concerning the possibility of further program cuts.
"At this point we're not considering any further academic program deductions," said Ken Levison, vice president for administration and finance. "However, it's difficult to predict what the outcome will be."
"I am not interested in pursuing any further Draconian program actions," Dahl said at a College Senate meeting on Tuesday. "When it comes to the budget, it's not over until it's over … and we are still going to advocate for a rational tuition policy."
Dahl added that by advocating for a rational tuition policy, he and college presidents from other campuses within the State University of New York would also be advocating for restoration of state aid to the SUNY system, "since that's the state legislature's job."
Facing additional budget cuts and with the inability to increase tuition, Geneseo must cope with a structural operating deficit that could top $9 million. There are other places where Geneseo can tighten its belt, Levison said.
The Tuition Assistance Program has already suffered funding reductions and with hospitals taking unsustainable cuts, there is increased potential for universities to get targeted again.
"Until the budget is voted on and signed by the governor, we don't know what the situation will be," Levison said. "For us to consider a next step is jumping the gun at this point."
It will be three years until Geneseo begins to see savings – estimated at approximately $2 million per year – from the announced deactivations.
Currently, University at Albany, which deactivated all of its foreign language programs except for Spanish as well as its theatre program in fall 2010, is the only other SUNY campus thus far to deactivate entire academic programs in order to deal with the recent budget cuts. Levison said, though, that he wouldn't be surprised if more campuses begin looking at program deactivation.
According to administrators, the hope is that by reacting sooner rather than later, Geneseo will have an easier time adjusting to the economic environment characterized by cumulative budget cuts.