Point Park Globe

University cuts chairs’ spending on “personal items”

Written By Sarah Gibson, Co-News Editor

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Point Park administration continued budget cuts by limiting university funding for department spending.

On the list of items cut are pet care, flight upgrades, coffee, bottled water, food for faculty meetings and ibuprofen.

These items are now classified as “personal items” by the university, even if they are bought for the use of the entire department.

Michael Gieseke, Dean of Student Life, explained that this was a measure taken by the university in order to spend university money in other places, such as aiding student field trips.

“An area where to save money and to try to find money that is finite was to say: Why should university money be spent so you could drink coffee in the morning?” Gieseke said. Gieseke relayed that this decision was made this past year and was set to take place starting the new spending year on September 1.

Jonas Prida, Assistant Provost for Point Park and director for the Center of Inclusive Excellence, said he has no problem with the new restrictions on departmental spending, so long that the money is being used for the betterment of the students at the
university.

“I understand them because I would rather have Point Park spending the money on students than on me upgrading somebody’s flight,” Prida said. “As a person who believes in student access, student affordability and student success, that’s where our money should go.”

Prida took time to highlight what he saw as necessity, or lack thereof, concerning the items the administration banned in comparison with what he believes university money should be spent on.

“And frankly, we make enough money where I can buy my own coffee; I don’t need my job to do that. That’s a perk of a job, and at times when it’s tough, perks go away, because it matters about what we can give to students,” Prida said.

While things like coffee may be used by the entire department, they aren’t the most necessary when it comes to university funding, Heather Starr-Fiedler, professor of multimedia and chair of the Department of Community Engagement, said.

“I think it’s always a fine line to walk between what is reasonable and expected and what helps us to feel good about coming into work every day and doing our job,” Starr-Fielder said. “I also recognize that I would rather that money be spent on students, and so I do understand it, while it may be frustrating.”

Prida does not believe the restriction will last forever.

He explained that if the administration uses university money to better the university and attract more students, soon the university will make more money, and keeping departments from buying coffee won’t be a priority anymore.

Gieseke agreed, saying the decision wasn’t made over a shortage of university money, but over the efficiency of the use of that money.

“I think it’s truly about the university looking at where they are spending wisely and where they’re not,”
Gieseke said.

Starr-Fiedler said there will be a noticeable change for departments and the way they work together following the execution of this new rule.

“I think it’s going to be a bit of a culture change for a lot of departments,” Starr-Fiedler said. “It’ll be a bit of a shift in communicating the new policies and really understanding and making sure we communicate why everyone should understand what they’re
doing.”

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