COVID-19 relief bill might have good news for CU

Federal funding would help alleviate $400 million pandemic impact on system

COVID-19 relief bill might have good news for CU

Federal relief legislation aimed at mitigating financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic potentially could mean $114 million in funding for the University of Colorado system.

During a report to the Faculty Council during its virtual meeting on Feb. 25, Todd Saliman, senior vice president for strategy, government relations and chief financial officer, said half of that funding currently being discussed by lawmakers would be earmarked for students, with the other half being distributed among the campuses.

“What would that money be spent on? The answer depends on what the federal guidelines are,” Saliman said, adding that he expects there to be more flexibility with this round of funding compared to last year’s CARES Act.

Financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic have taken a $400 million toll on the CU system, Saliman said.

Meanwhile at the state level, CU and higher education institutions across the state are asking for a 9.6% increase in funding; the request assumes a 3% tuition increase at all institutions. The Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee begins figure setting next week.

Saliman and CU Boulder Leeds School of Business Dean Sharon Matusik also gave the Faculty Council an update on the systemwide strategic planning effort, which is resuming after a pause initiated last year because of the pandemic.

Matusik said stakeholders from CU Boulder and UCCS are expected to have goals defined by the end of this month, while CU Denver and CU Anschutz will do the same by mid-May – a later date because those campuses are at work on their own strategic plans. The systemwide strategic plan will complement campus-specific strategic plans.

Faculty Council Chair Joanne Addison invited Matusik and Saliman to return for the governance group’s May 6 meeting, when feedback from the campuses regarding goals and action steps should be in hand. The Board of Regents is slated to receive a presentation on the completed strategic plan at this summer’s retreat.

In other business at last week’s meeting, Theodosia Cook, Chief Diversity Officer of the CU system, reported that the first of a quarterly series of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and compliance roundtables recently took place. DEI and compliance professionals from across the system took part. She said a series of roundtables aimed at outreach among nonprofits in the state will launch in April.

Regents Nolbert Chavez and Callie Rennison, meeting with the Faculty Council for the first time since joining the board in January, said DEI issues remain a high priority for them and other regents. The council also continued its DEI work with Brenda J. Allen, professor emerita and former Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion (Chief Diversity Officer) at CU Denver and CU Anschutz. Slides from her presentation, “Belonging Matters,” are linked here.