President Martin and CFO John Lumm gave a strategic planning and budget update forum Tuesday.
Martin went over the essence of what EMU stands for: the university’s mission, vision, and values.
Then, she went over the goals that were set for EMU for the near future. Martin also went over things that EMU has done to become a nurturing place for innovation and learning. Later, Martin and Lumm opened the floor for questions from the audience.
President Martin was asked to elaborate on her decision about the Educational Achievement Authority of Michigan, which is a school system that takes over the bottom 5 percent of performing public schools in Michigan and tries to help them become better schools.
“The decision was made in the summer and the decision had to be made quickly. It was an opportunity to try a new education model. The opportunity was presented to us and a decision had to be made quickly at the time,” said Martin.
“The EAA is a contract that was undemocratically signed by EMU with zero transparency. It is a failed model of education targeting school districts of predominately color students,” junior Adam Malimowski said. “The contract needs to be ended and President Martin should resign afterwards because she acted outside of the interests of EMU and didn’t consult the students of EMU, the College of Education, or faculty.”
Martin went on to comment on the things that she plans to improve in the near future. Expanding and adding new educational programs, like the new Physician’s Assistant program, was discussed.
To foster diversity on campus, Martin plans on adding more diverse employees to reflect the diverse student body.
“I don’t believe they are currently doing enough for minorities. The fact that the graduation rate for black students is ten percent lower than other graduates shows that. It is a result of systemic and structural showing of inequality at this university,” junior David Chapman said.
Martin was asked many questions having to do with gender neutral bathrooms and what EMU is doing for their minorities, specifically their black students.
“We are actively recruiting black students from high schools around the area and supporting them here at EMU,” Martin said. “Are we where we need to be? No, but we are committed to helping students as much as possible.”
“I wish EMU would make actual changes about diversity and make sure it happens. They should consult with students directly, not just the student government,” second-year graduate student William Daniels said.
John Lumm, the CFO of EMU, stated that we are over budget with all the new renovations, but that it was a conscious decision to go over budget and into debt.
He said that an important goal was to stabilize enrollment and then work to improve it. He also said that there were plans to raise tuition “modestly.”
“I don’t think they are doing enough to make tuition affordable for students,” Chapman said. “They do get very little funding from the state, but what they do get should be given out on a sliding scale where the lower income students have more access to grants and lower tuition. This model would make tuition more affordable for all students and make education more accessible.”
Although he admits that EMU is short on budget, Lumm said that there is room on the budget for healthcare claims and investment income and room for additional funding to MPSERS and autism programs. Questions arose about gender neutral bathroom and if they were included in the plans for future renovations of the campus.
“As we renovate new areas, like Welch Hall, we are looking to make those changes and be mindful of it,” said Martin. “In the current hyper competitive secondary education market, we have done fairly well in terms of record enrollment. We have hired a new vice president of Human Resources to help employees by providing a caring environment for them. One thing we have made sure to include in the budget is updated technology and equipment in classrooms that encourage creativity and learning.”
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