April 8, 2020 Daily Chronicle

Dear CSN Family,

Yesterday, I mentioned that the Board of Regents will meet on Friday to discuss the latest direction from Gov. Steve Sisolak regarding budget cut proposals from all state agencies. I need to clearly state that the task in front of us is complicated and there are no easy solutions. But we must ensure our student success mission is preserved in any scenario moving forward.

I can assure you that we will be transparent and forthcoming with information. As you can see on this list of targets released by the governor’s office, NSHE must submit initial plans for cuts of approximately $27 million for the current year and $97 million for the following year. For CSN, NSHE has released estimates calling for plans to cut 4.3 million this year and up to 15.2 million next year. As a result, we will submit initial plans to the Board by tomorrow for these cuts of 4 percent for the rest the current fiscal year, and as much as 14 percent for fiscal year 20-21.

Let me emphasize that we are at the very beginning of the planning stage and the projected budget reductions are preliminary. All NSHE institutions’ plans — including CSN’s — will be presented to the Board at its meeting this Friday. You can view the meeting online via NSHE’s website. At this early stage, there will not be many details. But moving forward, we will be true to our principal of shared governance, and that means our faculty, employees, and our students will have input into the process. 

Please know that many of us at CSN have significant experience with budget reductions. In fact, our diversity of our leadership team includes experiences dealing with these types of situations at various different institutions throughout the country. Moreover, we have many CSN faculty, staff, and administrators who have been through the NSHE budget reductions of the Great Recession of the late 2000s and early 2010s. We will exploit this collective knowledge to implement proven best practices that will help us navigate through this economic crisis.

Lastly, at its meeting yesterday the Board took actions that will significantly help our students during this crisis. First, regents suspended some policies regarding delinquent student accounts. What this means is that students with delinquent accounts will still be allowed to register for courses and access their academic records for the summer and fall terms. In addition, regents adjusted the grading policy so that students who choose to can pursue a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grade. Regular letter grades will be issued this semester, but any student who wants to can pursue the S/U option afterward by making an appointment with their academic advisor.

Students are understandably in need of options and advice, and our Division of Student Affairs has contacted over 8,000 students this semester to make sure they get the help they need to be successful:

  • We’re proactively reaching out to first-time in college students to make sure they’re receiving academic advising so they don’t lose their way.
  • Our Career & Transfer Services office is encouraging students who expect to graduate soon to take advantage of services offered, including resume writing, job search techniques, interview coaching and help with CareerLink. They are also encouraging first-time students who haven’t declared a major to complete the TypeFocus assessment, meet with a career services specialist for guidance on interpreting TypeFocus results and make an appointment with an academic advisor to select a major.
  • And one of our newest student services offices, First Year Experience, is contacting hundreds of first-time college students who received academic honors in the fall to encourage them to remain in touch with FYE and their instructors during remote instruction. We don’t want to lose a single student because they didn’t know where to go for help.

This is an unprecedented time but be assured that we will get through this adversity together, Vegas Strong and CSN Proud.

Stay Safe and God Bless.

Federico Zaragoza
President
College of Southern Nevada 

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