Resolution on the Green Music Center

RESOLVED that the Academic Senate applauds the Administration’s decision not to use any funds from Academic Affairs to meet operating costs of the Green Music Center for any activities not directly associated with the University's academic mission; and be it further

RESOLVED that the Academic Senate recommends to the Administration that a separate legal entity be created to assume liability for any potential deficit incurred by non-academic activities of the Green Music Center, so that Academic Affairs will never be forced to pay an assessment to cover such costs; and be it further

RESOLVED that the Academic Senate recommends to the Administration that it find sources external to Academic Affairs to cover the operating costs of the Green Music Center; and be it further

RESOLVED that no re-ordering of expenditures related to the Green Music Center from the Academic Affairs budget shall be countenanced by the Academic Senate until and unless actual student enrollments require shifts in resources and these shifts are approved by the faculty acting through the Academic Senate; and be it further

RESOLVED that the Academic Senate requests that the Administration respect the CSU Statement on Collegiality, which grants authority to the faculty to make decisions regarding curriculum and requires consultation with the faculty in other matters; and be it further

RESOLVED that this resolution be publicized by the Faculty Secretary to the campus, the local community press, and the California State University leadership.

RATIONALE: After nearly 10 years of planning the Administration is proceeding with the construction of the Green Music Center, and is looking to the Academic Affairs division to provide an estimated $620,000 per year toward the operating costs of this facility. The faculty of Sonoma State University, whose official voice is the Academic Senate, did not request that a Green Music Center be built and has never approved the significant shifts in academic, curricular, and pedagogic emphasis that will be entailed by this project. As the Provost has noted, "The President's strategic decision to build the Green Music Center was anticipated to have some impact on the growth of the performance arts programs..."; that is to say, the President made the decision, even though a curricular impact unapproved by the faculty would be the consequence.

Although the Administration points to “reports” it has made to various University bodies such as the President’s Budget Advisory Committee (but not the Academic Affairs Budget Advisory Committee), the Foundation Board, the Enterprises Board, the Campus Planning Committee, and the Campus Re-engineering Committee, as well as (on seven occasions, most at the request of the faculty leadership) the Academic Senate, such “reports” do not equate to “consultation” and certainly not to “approval”.

Had the Academic Senate been asked to prioritize the directions in which it would like the University’s programs to grow, new facilities for music and the Center for Performing Arts would have been on an extensive list which might also have included new or expanded offerings in engineering, business, nursing, modern languages, peace studies, psychology, Hutchins, and other severely impacted programs, for example.

The coming on-line of new instructional space does not in-and-of itself increase either the number of students served by this University nor the dollars received from the State for this purpose. When the student population of this University does grow, any new “discretionary” growth money must be used to fund goals that support the mission of the university, that is, the funds received must be used to provide instruction to the additional students, in whatever fields their academic interests require – which means primarily new faculty hires, but also all the attendant needs such as secretarial staff, computers, counselors, library resources, etc.

The Provost has said (on Senate Talk) “there have not been any real forecasts of future numbers of majors by discipline at SSU (or the CSU, for that matter), other than rather simple extrapolations of past enrollment used for capital planning purposes”, and (paraphrased) a highly likely scenario is that the enrollment (and hence the growth funding) may not materialize. The President noted in his January Convocation speech that “the days of ‘build it and they will come’ are over”.

When and if new students do show up, they may not be significantly skewed toward studying in the performing arts; or they may, but there is no data to suggest they will.

The University’s Academic Affairs division has been operating for several years under severe budgetary duress, which has created or exacerbated such problems as increasing class sizes, increasing student-faculty ratios, increasing faculty workloads, and a significantly impaired ability to deliver the kind of high-quality personal educational experience for which the University has a reputation. As the Provost has said, “[The GMC project] clearly cannot be undertaken at the cost of damaging our primary academic mission.” The Academic Affairs division is in no position to shoulder any additional expenses associated with the Green Music Center, now or for the foreseeable future.

Approved by the Senate