ABILENE—To improve Hardin-Simmons University’s financial stability in light of “evaporating” external revenue, trustees approved closing four Logsdon Seminary extension campuses and made programmatic and personnel cuts in other areas.
The board voted to close the Logsdon Seminary campuses in Coppell, Lubbock, Corpus Christi and McAllen, as well as discontinue nine undergraduate program majors and four graduate programs.
“From the deans who proposed recommendations, to administrators who vetted and managed the recommendations, to trustees who ultimately approved the recommendations, there has been constant awareness that these difficult decisions carry an impact on current personnel and future students,” President Eric Bruntmyer wrote in an Oct. 15 email to the “HSU family.”
Trustees agreed to drop undergraduate program majors in environmental science, geology, medical illustration, philosophy, physics, political science, sociology, Spanish and the Bachelor of Music in Performance degree, along with graduate programs in English, history, math and environmental management.
Cuts in personnel
Trustees also approved a series of personnel reductions, but the university provided no information about specific employees affected by the cuts.
“Some of these personnel reductions correlate with program and campus closures, while others will occur as a result of departmental budget decreases,” Bruntmyer wrote.
Affected staff will receive 14 to 20 weeks of severance, pending on length of service at the university, along with options for limited continuation of selected benefits. Tenured faculty “have been offered buyout options,” while nontenured faculty will be allowed to complete the duration of their current contracts, Bruntmyer noted.
“These decisions, which weigh heavy on us all, also help prepare HSU to more effectively meet the ever-expanding multitude of challenges to higher education,” he wrote
‘Evaporating’ sources of revenue
He noted that “some external revenue sources are evaporating,” pointing particularly to Cooperative Program assistance and funds made available from the Texas Equalization Grant, a state program that provides eligible students financial assistance to help them attend private nonprofit universities.
“Last month, the Baptist General Convention of Texas … notified HSU that due to a 6 percent decrease in Cooperative Program receipts, it was eliminating pro-rata funding for all Texas Baptist-partnering universities,” he wrote. “Annual gifts to HSU from the BGCT have decreased by more than $500,000 annually when compared with 2007 levels.”
During that same period, Texas Equalization Grant funding to the university declined more than $1.2 million a year, he reported.
“Administration and trustees will continue observation and monitoring of ongoing challenges faced by higher education which may have impact on the university’s financial health,” Bruntmyer wrote.