The Student Government Association looked both to the future and acknowledged the past with their legislation in an April 3 meeting. The assembly began with a presentation from Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs Ellen Harshman.
Harshman began by telling SGA a little about herself and her history at Saint Louis University, including her continued tenure as the dean of the John Cook School of Business. Since her move to the office of vice president for academic affairs, Harshman said that she has been doing a lot of listening and learning.
“I’ve been trying to understand what it is that needs to be addressed and how to get the work done,” Harshman said.
Harshman said that in addition to understanding what her office can do, her goal is to keep people more informed and included, particularly in regards to the development of the Center for Global Citizenship and moving the SLU Law School downtown. Harshman also noted that she plans to move forward with search committees to fill vacant spots in SLU positions with more permanent hires.
Harshman encouraged the senators to keep giving her feedback and keep communication open.
“I can help if I know how to help,” Harshman said. “It really would be great if I had a sense of what the office on the fourth floor of Dubourg can do to impact your experience as a student.”
When it came time for questions, several senators had questions addressing various projects already in progress at the University, including the potential creation of a neuroscience major, improving undergraduate academic advising, space concerns in Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology and the revision of the core curriculum.
Next, Chief Financial Officer David Heimburger, and Treasurer and Chief Investment Officer Gary Whitworth, presented the Financial Year 2014 Budget to SGA. The presentation began with coverage of the key components of the budget, including tuition rates, enrollment, financial aid, endowment spending and compensation.
In regards to the impending 3.9 percent tuition increase, Heimburger said it took into account not only the affordability of SLU, but also where the school stands in terms of ranking.
“We aren’t a Harvard or a Washington University,” Heimburger said, “so we don’t want our tuition to creep up there, but we’re also not a state school. We’re somewhere in the middle.”
Heimburger also presented on compensation rates at SLU. Approximately 72 percent of expenses go to salaries. In FY2014, there will be a 4 percent merit pool for faculty salaries, in addition to a 1 percent increase for retention and tenure pools and a 1 percent increase to ensure that all faculty salaries are at or above the minimum compensation.
Heimburger said recent events at the University have impacted future budget plans a bit.
“The votes of no confidence have impacted the applications from the metropolitan area in St. Louis and Illinois,” Heimburger said. “I would be lying if I said that didn’t have an impact.”
Next, Whitworth presented on the role of the endowment at the University, how the endowment functions and how it is spent. After the presentation, SGA heard spot-funding bills for the Asian American Association and the Inline Hockey team, both of which passed.
The final piece of legislation was a “secret” resolution, for the SGA to acknowledge Donna Bess Meyer, an SGA advisor, for her 15 years of service at SLU.