Soltz speaks out about economy

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By Brendan Schaller
Managing Editor

With the effects of the economic downturn hitting the state of Pennsylvania, college students are wondering how the crisis will influence tuition costs.

This question, and others, were all addressed in a letter sent by President Soltz to all students and faculty. The letter was sent via email late in the morning of Jan. 29.

The Voice reported on a similar press release by the Office of Communications in the Jan. 22 issue of the The Voice. Soltz’s letter spoke in response to many of the issues discussed in the press release.

Of these issues, he spoke of the fact that the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education was asked by Gov. Ed Rendell to return $22 million, or 4.25 percent, of their state funding for the year. Soltz stated that this $22 million included $1.6 million from Bloomsburg University. “I want to assure you that we are doing everything possible to minimize the impact of these budget cuts on our mission of teaching and learning,” said Soltz.

When addressing the hiring freeze of certain positions at BU, as well as a salary freeze for all non-union employees, Soltz reassured faculty by adding, “The good news is that we do not anticipate any layoffs.”

Soltz encouraged all students to research possible scholarships and take advantage of any they qualify for. The application deadline is listed as Feb. 6.

Planned renovations on Bakeless Center for the Humanities and Nelson Field House will continue as scheduled, said Soltz. According to the letter, these renovations were approved and funded before the current economic situation.

According to Soltz, the bid for the Nelson Field House renovations came in more than 20 percent less than budgeted.

Renovations will also proceed in the original portion of Hartline Science Center, which Soltz says is being funded using reserve money which has been saved over several years and maintenance funds provided by the state.

Soltz also spoke of renovations to the campus that will be in accordance with a Guaranteed Energy Savings Agreement. These renovations are expected to save the university $100,000 in energy costs per year. These include energy-efficient lighting across campus, and new, more eco-friendly boilers used to heat certain buildings on campus.

Soltz also reiterated the press release mentioned earlier by emphasizing the fact that PASSHE has kept tuition increase below inflation in recent years.

At the end of his letter, Soltz repeated a quote from President Barack Obama’s recent inauguration speech about the challenges the country must face. He then added, “We will certainly be successful in meeting the challenges we face at Bloomsburg University.”

Soltz concluded by welcoming any comments, suggestions and ideas to be sent to him at president@bloomu.edu.

This letter can be read on bunow.bloomu.edu and links to both the letter and the video are posted on the BU Today page.

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