Southern’s cold optimism

Today Missouri Southern and all the other state colleges and universities got some good news.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced that he will not propose cuts to higher education in the budget he will announce next week. In return, the institutions agreed to hold the line on tuition and student fees.

We’ve all been anticipating budget cut Armageddon. Higher education officials had been preparing for 15, 20 and 25 percent cuts. Nixon’s announcement is naturally a relief. But it is by no means a done deal and it doesn’t solve all of Southern’s financial woes.

The administration cautioned that belt tightening is still in order. We could be seeing more cuts.

We understand the bills have to be paid and we understand that a cap on tuition means that we have to find other ways to increase revenue.

Students and faculty understand that no cuts in state appropriations does not mean all our troubles are over, but the message we got from the top is discouraging.

“Although I think the governor’s idea is very good and very helpful, on one hand not having any new money means your have to find money for the increased costs,” said University President Bruce Speck.

Speck also said just because we won’t be losing state appropriations it doesn’t mean we won’t be making more cutbacks.

Some of those cuts can already be felt – literally.

Students are already wearing scarves and gloves to class to keep the University’s heating bill low. The Chart spoke to one instructor whose office temperature dropped the mercury to a chilly 59 degrees.

How much colder can Missouri Southern get? (And we aren’t just talking about the weather)

At the President’s annual address to faculty he said he planned to be optimistic with out “being a Pollyanna.”

Phrases like “internal organization of our resources” don’t seem to optimistic to us.