At its Wednesday meeting, multiple members of the Board of Trustees' Budget, Finance and Infrastructure Committee expressed reservations with the way the January resolution regarding the School of Civic Life and Leadership was passed. The trustees postponed their vote on the fiscal year 2024 budget for the University, partially as a result of the conflict over the SCiLL.
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Trustee John Preyer, chairperson of the committee, said that he would not vote for the budget because it did not include a specific allotment for the SCiLL. He said that the “overwhelming response” to the SCiLL had been positive. Some members who support the proposed school, including Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz, tried to assuage Preyer’s concern about the lack of a line item request.
“We don’t have a school at this point in time. We have a process in place for how curricular expansion of the Program for Public Discourse would inform us about what would be needed,” Guskiewicz said.
He said that the budget has an adequate reserve for dealing with expenses of currently unknown costs, such as lead remediation, Americans with Disabilities Act compliance and the expansion of the Program for Public Discourse — the latter of which SCiLL is planned to be an outgrowth of.
Preyer, though, was not consoled, worrying that the SCiLL would take years to develop, like the School of Data Science.
“It is a matter of principle," Preyer said. "I would like to see a specific ask with a dollar amount in this budget, and I think that that is consistent with what we did last meeting. It's sort of a promise that ‘hey don’t worry, we’re going to do something on this.’ I don’t think that’s leadership.
Trustee Teresa Artis Neal agreed that the SCiLL should be funded, but said that she had been left out of relevant conversations, while Trustee Ralph Meekins expressed discontent with the process, saying he had only been presented with the resolution an hour before the vote.
Student Body President Taliajah "Teddy" Vann said that she had thought the resolution was only to kick off a longer process of considering creating the school, and Meekins agreed.