East Carolina University Chancellor Steve Ballard sounded a determined tone this week in his annual State of the University address, pledging that the school’s core mission would thrive despite the threat of further shrinking budgets. Uncertainty over the state budget continues to complicate East Carolina’s work and its ability to plan for the future.
While Ballard’s confidence is reassuring, North Carolina cannot continue to reduce spending on higher education without severely harming a university system that is one of the state’s most critical resources. East Carolina will persevere through any hardship, but the General Assembly must recognize the severe setbacks they are handing to UNC schools and the communities they serve.
Never before had Ballard addressed a community so concerned about its future as he did on Tuesday. For instance, the ongoing work of the Program Prioritization Committee has created tension among faculty and administrators, with some programs facing smaller budgets or elimination. However, it is a matter of annual appropriations from Raleigh that have cultivated particular uncertainty on campus and the main thrust of the chancellor’s speech.
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