SUMMARY REPORT OF THE AD HOC COMMITTEE OF THE FACULTY SENATE ON
FUNDING FOR HIGHER EDUCATION, 1975-76
The academic year began in an atmosphere of concern and frustration over the fiscal restrictions imposed upon the institutions of higher learning in Tennessee for 1975-76. Funds for salary raises were limited to 211 percent, certain faculty benefits were suspended indefinitely, funding for additional capital outlays was restricted, and there was growing fear of massive faculty resignations and enrollment limitations. These concerns, all stemming from insufficient funding, prompted the Faculty Senate to appoint a committee to study funding for higher education. Committee Activities Following its appointment in November, 1975, the committee concentrated on the following activities:Committee Observations1. A study of the state's tax structure and the revenues, current and future, to be generated if existing tax programs continue without change.
2. A study of possible changes or alternatives in taxation, e.g., the institution of a personal income tax, excise tax, or further increases in the state sales tax.
3. Establishment of a working relationship with local and outside legislators whereby faculty members can express the needs of higher education to legislators at the grass roots level and perhaps influence legislation for the improvement of funding for institutions of higher learning.
Increased funding for higher education faces two basic problems: insufficient revenues at the state level and an unfavorable attitude on the part of many legislators to support increased appropriations for the state's institutions of higher learning.Committee Recommendations
1. Insufficient revenues. The recently enacted one cent increase in sales tax will temporarily ease the budget crunch felt so acutely in 1975-76. The members of the committee feel, however, that the additional sales tax only further increases an already excessive regressive tax and that the benefits to the state will be short lived. The committee tends to support the institution of a state income tax--a tax which reflects greater sensitivity to a fluctuating economy and thus provides greater continuity in the collection of revenues and the funding of state services.
2. Lack of legislative support for institutions of higher learning. The image of the institutions of higher learning in Tennessee is not viewed with favor by a large segment of the public and their elected representatives. In its many conversations with legislators and private citizens, the committee was told on several occasions that the universities of this state are already overfunded, that their allocations are in some cases expended frivolously, and that their services are irrelevant. Public sentiments of this nature leave no assurance that increased revenues will mean increased appropriations for higher education.
The faculties of the state's institutions of higher learning must become more active in supporting their administrations' requests for increased state appropriations. We must present a unified front on programs we hold to be essential to the development and maintenance of quality in higher education.Respectfully submitted,
If it is to become a significant force in support of increased funding for higher education:1. The faculty must first educate itself on the alternatives of taxation and issues regarding state appropriations for higher learning. We must ourselves become knowledgeable of issues and then assume a unified stance that gives us definition in the public eye.
2. The faculty must develop the means by which to educate the voting public about the alternatives to existing tax programs and the need for tax reform. It is imperative that the university community impress upon the public its relevance and importance to society. We recommend that the university community make a concerted effort to improve its public relations and, at the same time, avoid exhibiting a threatening or belligerent attitude toward the public.
3. The faculty must establish and maintain a close relationship with state legislators and hold them accountable for their actions in presenting or responding to bills concerning appropriations for higher education. (Congressional representatives with which the committee met expressed strongly their desire to continue the close association with the faculty). Faculties across the state must win the respect and support of those responsible for the allocation of state funds.
4. Finally, we recommend that this Faculty Senate develop plans for implementing the above general recommendations. There can be no quick and easy solution nor can faculty members delegate their personal responsibilities to some small group to accomplish the task. Being informed on issues, presenting a more favorable image to the public, and staying in contact with legislators is everyone's responsibility.
|Garrett Briggs (Chairperson)
Kenneth E. Quindry
T. McN. Simpson
|Dewey H. Stollar
Charles P. White