NDSU Student Affairs Scrapped, Bresciani Blames Budget Cuts

Vice President for Student Affairs Timothy Alvarez and others in his division won’t have their current positions by December.

The senior administrative structure and related positions for North Dakota State’s Division of Student Affairs are to be eliminated, North Dakota State President Dean Bresciani announced via Listserv on Wednesday morning. Bresciani cited NDSU’s likely deep budget cuts as the elimination’s rationale.

The scrapped positions include assistant vice president and dean of student life, held by Janna Stoskopf, and assistant dean for student life, held by Michael Harwood. The vice president for student affairs’ two assistant positions, which are held by Amy Ochoa and Joni Massey, will also be terminated. The communications and special projects manager position, held by Deanne Sperling, will also be cut.

Those affected by the cuts were notified Wednesday before the Listserv was sent, NDSU media relations coordinator Sadie Rudolph said.

Bresciani added the division’s units are to be realigned with other divisions of the campus, with most units being shifted to the Division of Academic Affairs under Associate Vice Provost Laura Oster-Aaland. Oster-Aaland previously served as an associate vice president for student affairs at NDSU. She will become NDSU’s senior student affairs officer.

Most student affairs auxiliary services units will be realigned with the Division of Finance and Administration, though some will also join the Division of Academic Affairs.

The full effect of the transition will take place over “approximately the next half year” so as to not disrupt students, Bresciani said.

The total saved through restructuring amounts to $1.2 million, Rudolph said. She added those who are affected were notified of the cut Wednesday morning.

Student Body President Spencer Moir said the decision was between cutting student affairs funding and academic funding. Ultimately, the decision was to cut student affairs to minimize affect on students. The decision was also made to cut upper-level positions instead of “boots-on-the-ground” positions.

NDSU’s total general fund is facing a 15-20 percent budget cut due to a budget shortfall in the state of North Dakota.

Bresciani said “reality requires us to consider options which previously would have been unthinkable, but will now become necessary in deference to protecting our core academic and student success functions.  Failure in those areas is simply not an option for NDSU or the citizens we serve.

“We have already made sweeping adjustments with no small implications.  Athletics appropriated general fund support is being slashed by 40%.  Administrative areas of the campus are seeing 10-25% cuts to their operating budgets.  Academic areas have to the extent possible been shielded in a proportional sense, but because they make up the bulk of our appropriated general fund support they too are taking substantial cuts of 10% or more,” Bresciani said. He added over 55 NDSU employees have left through a voluntary retirement separation program, and over 70 positions have remained unfilled.

The division’s mission is to “provide services, programs, and resources to support students in pursuit of academic, professional, and personal growth.”

The Division of Student Affairs currently oversees various programs on campus including, but not limited to, the NDSU Bookstore, the Bison Card program, the career center, the counseling center, dining services, disability services, multicultural programs, residence life and the Wallman Wellness Center.

The Spectrum will have further coverage of North Dakota’s budget shortfall in the weeks to come.

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