Although approval of the proposed reductions lies in the hands of the Board of Trustees, they claim no responsibility for the content of the cutbacks.
Last Friday, President Janet Holmgren presented the same budget proposal to the board that was approved by the faculty last Monday.
Vivian Stephenson, the board chair, said that many students have a misconception about the trustees’ role.
“The board doesn’t approve cuts, we set the financial goals,” said Stephenson.
“Our direction is that we need to be in a balanced position. The board has no say on how the goals are achieved.”
Glenn Voyles, chair of the board investment committee, added that it is the president’s responsibility to decide what gets cut.
” The board doesn’t try to micro-manage the college. The board hires the president to manage the college,” he said.
While faculty agreed that the board’s position is not to micro-manage the college, Ken Burke, who is part of the faculty executive committee said that nothing is completely out of the board’s hands.
“There is no way they can say that they aren’t the ultimate authority.”
In fact, he said that if the community voices their opposition to specific cuts loudly enough, the board could suggest that the administration consider cutting something else.
Mary-Ann Milford, the new provost, said that the board finance committee will meet further regarding budget decisions in order to present a finalized budget to the trustees and Mills administrators in May.
Stephenson said that the board told members of the Mills administration that $2 to 3 million had to be cut in order to balance the budget in a prior trustees meeting.
According to trustee Tcora Tellez, the board is “charged with insuring that Mills has a future,” which she explained cannot be done running on a deficit. This is why the board asked that president Janet Holmgren make the cuts.
Last fall, former interim provost, John Brabson , was responsible for compiling a proposal of budget reductions and presenting them to the faculty executive committee who helped him finalize the proposal. The reductions were approved by Holmgren and presented to the faculty in January, according to Burke.
Gemma Whelan, drama department head, said that faculty approved these cuts, which will result in the elimination of her department along with the German department, in a 29 to 41 vote last Monday.
Whelan said that in the meeting, members of the faculty acknowledged the damage in cutting majors, but approved the cuts in hopes that no further cuts would be made.
She said that she would prefer that the board play a bigger role in determining cutbacks. “I wish they had an opinion on something as far reaching as majors being cut, but I understand that they can’t micro-manage the college,” said Whelan.