Is the UO Really Broke? (Spoiler Alert: No)

UO Balance Sheet

Last night, Howard Bunsis, Professor of Accounting at Eastern Michigan University and Chair of the American Association of University Professors Collective Bargaining Congress, gave a presentation tackling the question, "Is the UO really broke?"

His simple answer was "no."

Bunsis presented his answer to a full house of faculty, classified staff, graduate students, undergraduates, and community members in Lawrence 115. Using data he culled from the UO's financial reports, OUS reports, IPEDS data, and bond reports, he painted a picture of a university with a health revenue stream, growing reserves, and solid financial outlook for the foreseeable future.

UO Reserves

Months of reserves

Throughout his presentation, Bunsis was careful to emphasize that his report was a synthesis of the data reported out by the UO. He admitted that he bleeds union, but that he was just reporting the facts as he reads them.

Bond Ratings

S&P report

He did, however, make one prediction, namely that the UO will see surplus revenue in the $6-10 million range this year. His prediction stands in stark contrast to Vice President for Finance and Administration Jamie Moffit's prediction for next year. When she presented the UO's financial data during our April bargaining session, she said the administration was just hoping we'd be "run-rate even" this year, despite the university's revised budget projecting a $4.5 million deficit. As Bunsis revealed, the university's unrestricted reserves have increased to over $100 million and are projected to grow even larger in the coming years.

Bunsis's information bolstered what we have been saying for the last few months - the UO has money, the administration just closes to spend it on things that are not faculty salaries. We have been saying "budgets reflect priorities" and calling on the administration to prioritize faculty. Unfortunately, to this pint, the administration has not heeded that call.

You can see all the slides from Bunsis's presentation here.

Posted in Bargaining, Faculty Salaries.