April 17, 2009Dear Clemson:
I would like to express my appreciation to the SC Senate Finance Committee for working late into the evening last night to craft a budget proposal that is not as harmful to Clemson’s Public Service Activities (PSA) division as the one debated yesterday and reported in the media this morning.
Earlier Thursday, the committee proposed cutting PSA appropriations by an additional $7.9 million on top of the almost $12 million reduction taken this year. A cut of this size would have reduced the PSA budget by nearly 40 percent, and be devastating to our public service and agriculture programs statewide.
Clemson’s leadership was determined not to allow this to happen. Trustee Chairman Bill Hendrix responded in a strongly worded statement: “This essentially would make Clemson a land-grant university in name only.” The Board considers PSA’s mission to be a fundamental responsibility of Clemson University as stated in the Will of Thomas Green Clemson.
This morning, we learned that the Committee’s current proposal calls for a further cut of $2.43 million, with $2.5 million to be added back if stabilization funds are available. We are hopeful that will happen, and appreciate the committee’s work.
I know that all this debate and uncertainty creates added anxiety for faculty and staff, but please remember that we are in the middle of a process, not at the end.
Our best course of action is to stay focused on making our best case for why Clemson needs and deserves public support.
The research and outreach programs of Clemson PSA are important to our state’s welfare and prosperity, since they serve and support agriculture and forestry, South Carolina’s number one industry. They are also vital to citizens who rely on Clemson for reliable, scientific information on food safety and nutrition, pest control, water quality, environmental protection, and other topics.
Now is the time for the Clemson family to pull together to make sure these essential programs and services are protected.
— Jim Barker