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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

OPINION: The university president and previous CFO are out of touch

Old+Main+is+the+center+of+the+University+of+Arizona+campus.
Lizzy Sorensen
Old Main is the center of the University of Arizona campus.

It’s been quite a year for the University of Arizona with multiple happenings making the news, most notably the financial crisis caused by royally failing to maintain a balanced budget. UA has since drafted a plan to balance the budget that included hiring and pay freezes, along with “budget reductions.”

It’s wonderful the UA has decided a balanced budget is ideal, and hopefully lower employees are shielded from consequences of senior leadership’s mistakes. The Arizona Daily Star reported that Lisa Rulney, no longer the UA’s CFO, remains on university payroll, making $506,325 a year as a senior advisor to business operations. The Star went on to report that President Dr. Robert C Robbins did not mention this during a meeting with the Arizona Board of Regents. 

Robbins since then has made statements on Rulney saying the role is temporary, ending on June 30, and he made this decision to “help ensure a minimally disruptive and well informed transition.” According to an email sent by Robbins to the UA community, Rulney’s role will be to “provide support to our Interim CFO as he focuses on implementing the University’s financial action plan and managing the division’s broad operations.” 

This situation is clownishly illogical, given the fact Rulney was CFO during a colossal blunder, yet continues to remain on payroll after resigning and being given an advisor position. Everyone is entitled to job security, but one could only hope that their boss goes through the leaps and bounds Robbins is for Rulney. This is a luxury regular people are not often afforded, but something that seems quite commonplace in the highly anemic and wimpish overpaid bubble that is higher academia. 

Gifting Rulney a role in supporting the Interim CFO is like giving Richard Nixon oversight of Gerald Ford after Watergate. Anyone closely tied to this disarray should be removed, because I’d prefer to avoid future financial problems and remain proud of the school I attend.

The UA made a statement saying “We appreciate Lisa Rulney’s willingness to utilize her longtime experience and expertise to continue serving the university at this critical time.” Well, I feel very secure in the fact that Rulney took this job out of a willingness to serve the university and not because she’ll be keeping her full pay in the process. To test how strong Rulney’s “willingness” really is, let’s see if she would be willing to have her salary cut to 45k a year.

It reveals just how out of touch they are with the employees and students here at UA, and we deserve better. Much like politicians, CEOs, police and bankers, it’s no surprise to see those leading powerful institutions doing everything within their reach to protect their own, but it’s disappointing to see this play out at home. 

However, in the long run, the university will get past this. On June 30, Rulney will leave and Robbins won’t be here forever. Those are two “budget cuts” that will make all the difference.


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Colton Allder

Colton Allder is a Marine Corps veteran and a Junior majoring in Journalism with a minor in Creative Writing. He enjoys reading, hiking and riding motorcycles in his free time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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