University of Nebraska Board of Regents Chairman Tim Clare announced today that he is calling a special meeting of the Board on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, at 9 a.m. The meeting will be held at Varner Hall, 3835 Holdrege St. in Lincoln, and by videoconference. It will also be live-streamed at www.nebraska.edu.
A complete agenda for the meeting is available here. Clare, of Lincoln, said he is calling the meeting for two primary purposes:
First, Clare said he wants the full Board to have a thorough public review of the University of Nebraska’s current fiscal status, budget planning strategies, and future outlooks. He said it is crucial for the Board to have a discussion before its June 22 meeting, when regents will consider the university’s proposed 2023-24 operating budget.
“Over the past few months, we have heard President Carter accurately describe the significant fiscal challenges facing all of higher education, including the University of Nebraska. We want to make sure – and we want all Nebraskans to understand through our transparency – that as a university, we not only recognize the fiscal realities before us, but that we are proactively planning to get ahead of them,” Clare said.
“We can’t wait until next year’s operating budget is before us to have a full, frank public discussion about the opportunities and challenges ahead. As a Board, it is our highest priority to ensure an affordable, high-quality University of Nebraska for our state. Strategic fiscal management is perhaps our most powerful tool for keeping us true to that mission.”
Clare has directed NU System President Ted Carter and Senior Vice President/Chief Financial Officer Chris Kabourek to prepare a presentation for the special Board meeting that covers the following:
- The university’s current fiscal picture, including campus shortfalls.
- The university’s cash position.
- Short- and long-term projections for revenue. The university’s day-to-day operations are primarily funded by state appropriations and tuition dollars.
- Short- and long-term projections for spending, including salaries and the impact of ongoing inflation.
- Steps the university has taken in recent years to find budget efficiencies, reduce spending and enhance revenue.
- Other elements that impact budget planning, such as demographic trends and enrollment management.
Second, the Board’s Executive Committee is recommending a change to Board bylaws to assign direction and oversight of Husker Athletics to the NU System President. In accordance with Board bylaws, the proposed bylaw change will be a “for information only” item at the May 31 meeting and will be brought to the Board for a vote at its June 22 meeting.
In a joint statement, Clare and Board of Regents Vice Chairman Rob Schafer of Beatrice said:
“Especially at the Power 5 level, today’s college athletics programs are large and highly complex entities, with enormous financial, legal and reputational implications for their entire institutions. We’re in the midst of the most intense period of change in our lifetimes for college athletics. Nebraska needs to stay on the leading edge of this new normal.
“Husker Athletics is the single most iconic brand in the state of Nebraska. It makes sense for the president of the university system, with a direct line to the Board of Regents, to have oversight of the program that serves as the front door to the university for so many Nebraskans.”
If approved by the Board at its June meeting, the bylaw change would take effect on July 1, 2023.