Town Hall date change

May 1, 2024

Dear Colleagues,

I write to you from the State Capitol where legislators are still working on appropriations bills, several of which include Delta State and all public universities.  While the official deadline was last week, you have likely seen in the media that legislators and state officials have been dealing with significant issues that have taken more time than planned. As a result, we still don’t know the amount of state funding Delta State will receive and likely won’t know for several more days.

Therefore, I must change, once again, the date of the Town Hall meeting, which had been scheduled for tomorrow. Rather than running the risk of having to change the date of the Town Hall meeting for a third time, I will wait to announce a new date once we have more information about state support and at a time that I know I will not be called to Jackson at a moment’s notice. Also, we are on the cusp of exams, as well as on-campus interviews for several of our vice president and dean searches, and so finding a common time when most of the university community can come together is challenging. I will work with the Cabinet to find the best time for the Town Hall meeting, before the end of the term, and an announcement will be made as soon as possible.

I am sympathetic to the fact that yet another delay increases anxiety on campus. While I will wait to present the details of the FY25 budget, I hope the campus community can find reassurance in the following:

  1. Per IHL Policy, tenure-and tenure track faculty are provided 9-12 months notice prior to potential dismissal. Tenured and tenure-track faculty employed by Delta State right now will be offered appointments for next year. The effects of academic program review will not change our faculty lineup in 2024-2025.
  2. Per IHL Policy, staff have protections and there are deadlines of notice that must be respected regarding potential dismissal. I have chosen not to seek a declaration of financial exigency for the university, and therefore all of the normal deadlines that are in place for notifying staff of non-renewal remain in place.
  3. As we restructure our operations to reduce costs, there will be new positions created, even as others are eliminated. While no hiring decision is predetermined, it may be that individuals whose positions are discontinued will be excellent fits for new roles on campus.

My deliberate approach to this budget process is an attempt to provide everyone the courtesy of receiving the same information at the same time. Sharing the proposed budget with the campus community, and then being available in person to answer questions soon thereafter, is important to make sure the details are delivered in context with the message.

I close by noting that we are surrounded by good things, even as we contemplate change. The welcoming of the young students from Hayes Cooper Center to Delta State has enlivened our campus, and we are pleased that they will remain with us for the next academic year.   For our university students, the last two weeks have been filled with ceremonies marking their success. I regret that it has been necessary for me to be away from campus for many of those events, but I know that they are the best part of the academic year. All of this joy will culminate at next week’s Commencement Ceremony —  a celebration I look forward to sharing with you.

Best regards,

Dan Ennis