Appendix B: Financial Exigency Policy

  1. The mission of Missouri State University-West Plains is to provide quality educational opportunities to South Central Missouri. The core function of Missouri State University-West Plains is defined by its mission and, therefore, resides in programs of study and the courses of which they are composed. Because Missouri State University-West Plains receives public support and student fees for performing this primary activity, the overarching principle which guides Missouri State University-West Plains in times of financial stringency and exigency through the application of this policy is that Missouri State University-West Plains will first significantly reduce expenditures that subsidize university programs and activities which do not directly contribute to the primary mission of Missouri State University-West Plains.

    Because of the centrality of University faculty to its primary mission, a financial exigency should be declared only when there is a financial crisis of such magnitude that all other reasonable measures have been taken and there is no reasonable alternative to termination of University employees. No faculty member's employment may be terminated or academic program eliminated for reason of financial exigency absent the declaration of financial exigency by the Board of Governors.

    The University engages in continuing reallocation of resources unconnected to financial exigency. Sometimes such reallocation may include the relocation or dismissal of personnel or the restructuring of units to serve better the mission of the University. It is expected that these actions will continue during periods of financial stringency and exigency. Such reallocation shall occur with all applicable shared governance procedures as detailed in section 2.13.2 of the Faculty Handbook.

    1. Pre-Exigency Deficit-Reduction Measures:

      When the administration declares that it has compelling reason to believe that the University may soon enter a period of financial exigency or immediately after the chancellor is advised by the vice president for financial services (in Springfield) that the University will shortly enter a state of financial exigency, whichever comes first, the chancellor shall within two calendar days convene a forum with representatives of all employees of Missouri State University-West Plains. This forum will be open to the University community.The forum meeting must determine what measures have been taken, what reasonable further measures short of faculty employment termination ought to be taken and the amount of the remaining projected deficit, if any. Such expenditure reduction and revenue enhancement measures to be considered should include, but not be limited to, the following (no priority implied): increases in student fees and surcharges; increases in charges of rentals, tickets and retail items; consolidation of administrative functions; salary holdbacks (temporary salary reductions to be repaid); freezing of open administrative, staff and faculty positions; incentives to early retirement; curtailment or elimination of selected non-academic programs, including selected athletic programs; curtailment or elimination of selected student services, including selected scholarships; increased economy in operations and support services and prudent reductions in physical plant expenditures; a moratorium on plant construction.

    2. Declaration of Exigency:

      If the president of the University, with advice from the chancellor of Missouri State University-West Plains, determines that the situation cannot be alleviated by less drastic means than a declaration of a state of financial exigency, then he or she shall submit a recommendation to the Board of Governors for such a declaration. Accompanying this recommendation shall be a report detailing the rationale for this declaration. This report shall list each recommendation which has been implemented or endorsed and should explain why any remaining recommendations have not been implemented or endorsed. The Board shall receive the administration's recommendations. In addition, the Board may receive recommendations from Missouri State University-West Plains personnel and other delegations, if offered. The Board must then either declare a state of financial exigency or direct the president and/or chancellor to take further steps to increase revenues or decrease expenditures short of terminating the employment of faculty members.

    3. Exigency Deficit-Reduction Measures:

      If the Board declares a state of financial exigency, the chancellor must expeditiously convene a subcommittee of the forum composed of the chief financial officer, the chief academic officer, two representatives from the Staff Senate, two representatives from the Faculty Senate and two representatives from the student government. The chancellor will preside over the subcommittee to consider means of eliminating the remaining deficit which will, to the greatest extent possible, maintain courses which meet the four criteria listed below. At this time, in addition to further application of the deficit-reduction and revenue-enhancement measures considered previously, reductions in instructional expenditures will be considered, including the possible elimination of positions within the academic administration, faculty and staff, consistent with the goal of providing quality educational opportunities for south central Missouri. The meetings of this subcommittee will be open to the University community.

    4. Academic Personnel Reduction During Exigency:

      If this subcommittee determines that a reduction in the personnel budget of academic affairs must be made, positions within the faculty and academic administration may be identified for elimination in a manner which is distributed across the various divisions without the elimination of programs or it may be necessary to terminate programs. The distributed cutting of positions is preferable to the elimination of programs because such cutting would least affect the capacity of Missouri State University-West Plains to fulfill its mission. Therefore, the distributed elimination of positions will be given first consideration. Such a distributed elimination of positions would be accomplished through the advice of the division chairs. Any distributed elimination of faculty positions would follow the order of consideration in Section 2.13.1.2 of the Faculty Handbook. All faculty whose positions are so terminated would have the rights described in Section 2.13.1.4.

      When it becomes apparent to the academic administration that additional distributed cuts will result in an unacceptable reduction in the quality of academic programs, it may become necessary to terminate one or more academic programs as specified below.

    5. Academic Program Elimination During Exigency:

      Academic programs (as defined in section 2.13.2.1 of the Faculty Handbook) shall be evaluated for elimination according to four criteria: academic quality; centrality to the mission (as described in the current long range plan); demand for and student enrollment in the program and cost and cost-effectiveness. The chief academic officer and the chair of the Faculty Senate will make a recommendation to the Faculty Senate concerning the programs that least meet the criteria.

      The chief academic officer must provide the Faculty Senate with the following: financial information necessary to demonstrate that program terminations are necessary, the total deficit which must be covered by such eliminations and the projected savings to be realized from the termination of each of the programs presented as candidates for elimination. The chief academic officer must also report the information detailing why the proposed programs least meet the four criteria listed in the preceding paragraph.

      The Faculty Senate will hear arguments for and against the elimination of each program presented as a candidate. Those arguments should address the four criteria listed above but are not limited to the four. There will be a Faculty Senate vote on each of the programs with a majority vote of the senators present being sufficient to accept termination of a program. The Faculty Senate may also present alternatives to the recommendation of the chief academic officer.

      If the Faculty Senate has not agreed to the elimination of sufficient programs within two weeks of the initial Senate meeting, the administration may recommend termination of the additional programs necessary to meet the deficit.

    6. Approval and Implementation of Exigency Plan:

      The chancellor will report his/her plan to meet the exigency to the next meeting of the Board of Governors. This report will include the specific recommendations for the elimination of personnel and programs as determined by the above procedures. The constituent elements of the forum shall also have the right to address the Board through their executive committees, both in writing and in person. The Board of Governors must approve the plan before it may be implemented.

    7. Termination of Exigency:

      Throughout the period of exigency, the chancellor periodically shall report to the Board on progress made toward alleviating shortfalls and improving financial status. The Board will, at its discretion, declare the end of the exigency. Any of the delegations constituting the forum can petition the Board to declare an end to the exigency.

    8. Post Exigency:

      After the exigency has been declared over and as financial resources become available, restoration of funds to academic affairs will be given priority.

      Programs eliminated due to exigency may be considered for reintroduction as new programs only through the normal curricular review process as defined in Article II of the Bylaws of the Faculty.

    9. Amendment of the Missouri State University-West Plains Financial Exigency Policy:

      This policy will be changed by the University only through the procedures specified for the amendment of the Faculty Handbook (Section 3.2.2).