CSU President Bloomberg speaks on Israel and Palestine at latest Faculty Senate Meeting

Cleveland State’s Faculty Senate conducted their second meeting of the semester on Wednesday, Oct. 11, with budget and curriculum at the forefront of the agenda, but not without mention of Israel and Palestine by CSU President Laura Bloomberg. 

The meeting began with Bloomberg’s words to the senate, firstly sharing that the university will fly the flags at half mast until Thursday, Oct. 12 in light of the “unprovoked attack” on Israel.

“The world changed for all of us…” Bloomberg said to the senate. 

On Saturday, Oct. 7, military organization Hamas, which has acted as a governing power over the blockaded Gaza Strip since 2007, launched an attack on neighboring Israeli cities and killed over 1,000 Israelis. Since then, the situation between Israel and Palestine has escalated into increasingly fatal heights, with over 3,200 Palestinians killed, at least 500 of whom died from an Israeli blast at a Gaza hospital Tuesday, and more than 1,400 Israelis.

While Hamas’ attack is described as “unprecedented,” many people have pushed back on that label, referring to the history of human rights violations committed by Israel against Palestinians. Several local Palestinians say that Hamas’ attack was a retaliation for “the cruel and brutal oppression and illegal occupation that the Palestinians have been enduring for decades from the Israeli apartheid state.”

Understanding the existence of differing perspectives, as well as her role as the university’s president, Bloomberg focused on the importance of coming together as a community to support and find common humanity with one another, while holding back her tears.

“My job as your president is not to speak my opinion, but to support you in speaking yours,” said Bloomberg.

The university has since released a formal statement aligning itself with the joint statement issued by the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States, in which the countries “express our steadfast and united support to the State of Israel, and our unequivocal condemnation of Hamas and its appalling acts of terrorism.”

Dean of the College of Law Lee Fisher also spoke to his own views in the College of Law’s weekly Monday Morning Message. He expressed his “unequivocal condemnation of Hamas’s horrific acts of terrorism,” and that “just as 9/11 was a moment to stand together on the side of humanity and against evil, so, too, is 10/7 such a time.”

Bloomberg then moved on to address the meeting agenda, beginning with updates on the new marketing campaign, which was officially launched by CSU in January with the tagline, “We are CSU,” and will now enter phase 2. 

Phase 2 will focus on the stories of alumni and students involved in different programs across the university as a way for them to share their experiences. 

According to Bloomberg, the campaign has already drawn in 18 million views and over 16,000 new visitors to the university. Thanks to the campaign, there was an overall 85% increase in requests for applications and interest in getting more information on the university by the public.

Touching slightly on the capital budget, Bloomberg shared with the senate that she has been working closely with her counsel and higher education institutions to help raise the overall dollar amount. 

Budget and Finance Committee’s Preliminary Organizer Deborah Smith revisited the budget and financial status of the university during the meeting. 

There has reportedly been an increase of $7.8 million, with expenses down $15.7 million, which is an overall reduction of $23.5 million of the budget deficit expectations from this past summer. 

“The expected use of financial reserves to cover the budget’s shortfall has reduced from 34 million to 11.5 million dollars to be covered from reserves in revised budget,” said Smith. 

However, referring to the Tuition Revenue Model created by Enrollment Management, enrollment over the next 5 years will annually decline with the projected 14,118 students in 2023 to 13,133 enrolled students in the year 2027 due to undergraduate enrollment and demographics.

There will also be reduced expenses projected moving forward.

“The majority largely due to demographics [that the] board of trustees encourage because demographics had reduced the aggregate by about 3 million,” Smith said. 

Smith’s experience with the committee began when the reports had to be generated manually, by hand, from the journals, but have now streamlined and become more efficient with the use of technology generating reports right from the data.

The next Faculty Senate meeting will take place at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18.

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