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Faculty Senate shows concern for athletics budget, ONEWSU

Over 200 faculty members signed letter against proposed budget; administration discussed decentralizing state-wide campus system



One senator expressed concern about how ONEWSU could change WSU degrees and impact accreditation for students depending on the campus.

MADYSEN MCLAIN, Evergreen roots editor

Faculty Senate members approved sending a letter of recommendation to the WSU Board of Regents raising concern about the 2021 athletics budget plan. Senators also expressed hesitation for the proposed WSU system restructuring called ONEWSU during a meeting Thursday.

On Jan. 21, Senator Von Walden presented a one-page document calling the Board of Regents to reject the athletics department’s proposal for financial assistance of $2-3 million per year. 

Since the meeting, over 200 faculty members signed the letter in support and provided comments on the Faculty Senate blog, Senate Chair David Turnbull said. 

One senator asked if the committee thought about the “end game” of the request.

“We may or may not be successful in swaying the Regents, but we are going on record that we are paying attention to this financial issue,” said Matthew Carroll, senator and associate director of graduate programs for the WSU School of Environment.

During the discussion, several meeting attendees brought up recently released plans for ONEWSU.

The Board of Regents met for their annual retreat Jan. 22 and discussed the plans for ONEWSU, which would decentralize the state-wide campus system. WSU President Kirk Schulz and Provost Elizabeth Chilton will release articles each month to describe goals for the project.

A series of “whitepapers” was released on the WSU Faculty Senate website introducing the ONEWSU system. The most recent whitepaper shows favor toward a system where faculty members work with each other but are not considered members of the same department or school. 

New academic programs could be created depending on interested students and resources, according to the document.

In the first whitepaper, WSU administration wrote that the university plans to add another campus in Washington state by 2026 and possibly an eighth campus out of the country.

Vancouver Senator Alexander Dimitrov said he discussed the papers with constituents over many meetings. When his constituents read the information, they were angry, upset and others came close to tears.

Senator Paul Skilton expressed concern about how these plans could change WSU degrees and impact accreditation for students depending on the campus.

Carroll said colleagues asked him to bring up worries about the plan. They showed concern about no longer having statewide academic programs, which could lead to fewer relationships with faculty members in other locations. 

“As a result of all that work we’ve been able to hire a cadre of really talented research-active faculty who were hired under the assumption that they would be part of a statewide academic unit,” Carroll said. “We think it would be not in our interest at all, to have our unit balkanized.”

Faculty members can leave comments about the proposal on the Faculty Senate blog.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct information about who wrote the whitepapers.

About the Writer
MADYSEN MCLAIN, Evergreen roots editor

Madysen is a Senior journalism and media production major from Rosalia, Washington. She also is involved with Residence Life, the Association for Women...

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Faculty Senate shows concern for athletics budget, ONEWSU