Elaine Kneebone Steps Up


Donovan Lee and Jesse Bird, Contributing Reporters

On Thursday Sept. 5, interim president Elaine Kneebone hosted a campus forum alongside Dr. Charles Welch, President of the Arkansas State University System, and Julie Banks, Executive Vice President of Finance at Arkansas State. The forum consisted of discussions involving financial status of Henderson State, the next steps to be taken in reconstructing the school budget and ended with a question and answer portion with President Kneebone.


During the question and answer portion, President Kneebone, with assistance from Dr. Welch, gave further insight into inquiries about student tuition, possible budget cuts, and the chances of the university being absorbed by the ASU system. Some questions were answered, while others were left for the audience to make inferences about.


“This will not be fixed in one semester,” is one of the responses that Welch and Kneebone provided to those in attendance.


The university was granted $6 million back in June to use for the school year, but that money has been exhausted, along with the school’s reserve funds, meaning the campus is running off of cash on hand, which equates to about 12 days worth of funds. Dr. Welch stated that the cabinet will go before the state legislature with a plan and budget proposition for the fiscal year. Furthermore, Dr. Welch mentioned that he has been in talks with Governor Hutchinson about a possible allowance for the university to sustain the rest of the academic year. If agreed upon, it would be a ‘one time deal’.


“We have been through tough times before, but this is our greatest challenge yet,” was part of President Kneebone’s closing remarks. She and Dr. Welch assured attendees that the history of the university, as well as campus traditions, will continue to be observed if the possibility of absorption does go into effect. Welch stated that ASU system would only be an “insurance policy” for the university.


To hear more about the forum and the financial status of Henderson State, check out the feature story with Dr. Welch on KUAF’s website.