Texas provost A&M-SA resigns over reports of budget deficit and enrollment issues

San Antonio – The day after KSAT announced a $ 4 million budget deficit at Texas A&M University-San Antonio, a senior official stepped down.

Provost and vice president of academic affairs Mike O’Brien has resigned his post “with immediate effect,” according to an email university president Cynthia Teniente-Matson sent to faculty and staff on Thursday. . The president said O’Brien would remain on the faculty after a brief sabbatical.

The ad appeared at the bottom of a long email in which Teniente-Matson defended the school’s financial management and student enrollment levels.

“We are in a fortunate and unique position as we fight the pandemic, without layoffs or leave in academic and administrative positions,” she wrote.

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READ: Professors worried about $ 4 million budget deficit, while Texas A & M-SA says financial picture is ‘strong’

Teniente-Matson did not draw a direct line in his email between “recent media reports” and O’Brien’s resignation. However, the provost’s comments about a $ 4 million budget deficit as of November 22 faculty town hall were at the heart of KSAT and other media reports, which were only released this week.

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O’Brien, who was also co-chair of the University Resources Commission, told professors at the meeting that the deficit was the result of a “comedy of mistakes.”

“The shortfall has come everywhere – not put in the right categories. The money has been spent twice. That’s the big problem we have, ”O’Brien said at the meeting, which was saved on Zoom.

KSAT also learned that earlier this week, 1,800 current university students had yet to register for spring classes, raising concerns about a possible additional impact on the budget.

Faculty members who spoke to KSAT on Wednesday, including the president of the faculty’s Senate, remained largely unsure of how the budget situation had – or had not – been addressed.

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However, the university’s financial director and vice president of business affairs told KSAT in an emailed statement that the school’s financial situation was “strong” and that part of the expenses of the university had been “funded from reserves as a bridge funding mechanism.”

Teniente-Matson also wrote in his email Thursday that “the university is financially healthy and enrollments continue to trend upward, albeit at a slower pace in the wake of the pandemic.”

She also referred to the one-time federal dollars the school received under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) program, which “has helped mitigate the impacts of the pandemic. For example, one-time funding allowed us to fill temporary positions (one year or less) to provide additional support to education services and students.

O’Brien had warned in the town hall of November 22 against the disappearance of positions funded with HEERF money.

“We have a lot of staff that we’re going to end up losing because normally we would say, ‘Alright, let’s make a row and put them on it.’ We don’t have money for the lines, ”said O’Brien.

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Attempts to reach O’Brien for direct comment were unsuccessful.

You can read Teniente-Matson’s full email below:

University president Cynthia Teniente-Matson has announced the resignation of Mike O’Brien as president and vice president of academic affairs. The email arrived after KSAT and other media reported a $ 4 million budget shortfall and registration issues. (KSAT)

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