The CU Board of Regents reviewed initial budget and tuition proposals for 2023–24 and approved the renaming of CU Boulder’s Fleming Building during its meeting Feb. 9–10 at the Auraria Campus.
Regents also discussed the CU system strategic plan, received a report on state demographic trends, and heard public comments on wages and job stability for non-tenure-track faculty and campus concealed carry policies.
It was the first regular meeting for new regents Wanda James, Frank McNulty and Mark VanDriel, who were elected in November.
Budget and fee proposals
Chief Financial Officer Chad Marturano presented initial budget scenarios for all four campuses during Thursday’s meeting.
Key aspects of CU Boulder’s budget proposal include:
- 4% increase in tuition for incoming undergraduate resident and non-resident students—because of CU Boulder’s tuition guarantee, only new students, not continuing undergraduates who will complete their degrees in four years, will see an increase in their tuition.
- 4% tuition increase for graduate students.
- 4% merit compensation pool for university staff, faculty and graduate students on appointment. The campus plans to propose an additional 4% merit pool for the 2024–25 fiscal year, if funds are available, to allow a total 8% merit pool over the next two years.
- 5% across-the-board pay increase for classified staff in line with the state of Colorado.
- Minimum wage increases for staff ($18/hour) and student workers ($16/hour).
Regents will vote on the budget proposals during the April meeting before the new fiscal year begins July 1. Read more about the proposals in CU Boulder Today.
Public speaks on non-tenure-track faculty, concealed carry
Regents heard from CU Boulder Professor Emily Harrington, who shared concerns about wages and job stability for non-tenure-track faculty. She was joined by about 40 individuals, many wearing red and carrying signs supporting her message.
She presented a petition led by United Campus Workers of Colorado advocating for improved wages, greater job security and more career advancement opportunities, and she encouraged the campuses to do more to support those vital employees.
CU Boulder has taken steps toward addressing the concerns in recent years. CU Boulder also supports proposed legislation to extend the length of term contracts that it can offer to non-tenure-track faculty.
Board Chair Lesley Smith thanked the representatives for sharing their perspectives.
“We all know that CU faculty and graduate students are critical to carrying out the educational and research mission of our university,” Smith said.
The board also heard from 14 individuals, primarily students from CU Student Government, who urged regents to consider a petition to ban the concealed carry of guns on all CU campuses.
Regent policy currently requires CU campuses to allow concealed carry in most public spaces.
One CU Denver student spoke in favor of concealed carry on campus, urging regents not to strip away constitutional rights.
Regents agreed to discuss the topic further in the University Affairs Committee in April.
CU President Todd Saliman said he looked forward to the conversations and thanked speakers for sharing their comments.
“Safety is a paramount priority for all of us, for the entire Board of Regents, for the chancellors, and for me—and obviously it is for the entire CU community,” Saliman said.
Strategic plan update
The regents also received an update on the third pillar of the CU system strategic plan, outlining new goals and steps being taken to retain faculty and staff members who are Hispanic/Latino, Black/African American, American Indian or Pacific Islander. It also includes people who identify as “more than one race” that includes these identities.
The university has identified goals for increasing retention in these populations as a key metric of the strategic plan.
In fiscal year 2021–22, 7% of faculty and 17% of staff at CU Boulder identified as one or more of those four populations.
During that time frame, CU Boulder hired 572 new faculty members, of which 65 were Hispanic, Black, American Indian or Pacific Islander. And it retained 3,620 faculty members, of which 279 identified within those populations.
In 2021–22, CU Boulder hired 785 new staff members, of which 150 were Hispanic, Black, American Indian or Pacific Islander. The campus retained 3,717 staff members, of which 617 identified within those populations.
The campus has set a goal of retaining 90% of all faculty and staff members by 2026.
Marturano also shared several actions the campus is taking to increase the hiring and retention of underrepresented employees, including steps to form new affinity groups on campus, inclusive hiring practices and other steps.
The regents, chancellors and other campus leaders met in breakout groups to discuss the data and goals.
Elizabeth Garner, state demographer for Colorado, described population trends within Colorado and across the nation that will impact college enrollment and Colorado’s workforce in the decades to come.
“Big picture, we see the population slowing down,” Garner said. “Births are down, and deaths are up.”
She also touched on migration trends in Colorado and described how population changes interact with housing supply, the labor force and long-term economic development. She encouraged regents to consider various ways to broaden the base of prospective students if they wish to maintain or grow student enrollment.
Finally, she presented information on how Colorado's population is changing due to migration and in terms of race and ethnicity. Garner highlighted the growth in Colorado’s Hispanic population, particularly in the population aged 0–24 years, and spoke about the state’s need to close the attainment gap in the Hispanic and Black populations.
“Colorado is not a very diverse state to begin with, but we are finally becoming more racially and ethnically diverse,” she said.
Despite the challenges, Garner forecasted population growth to continue in Colorado because job growth is expected to continue in certain industries.
“Biggest picture, we’re continuing to grow, but at a much slower rate,” she said.
The board also:
- Approved the renaming of CU Boulder’s Fleming Building to the Ofelia Miramontes and Leonard Baca Education Building in honor of two trailblazing faculty members in the School of Education. Before the regents’ vote, Chancellor Phil DiStefano spoke of the contributions and lasting legacies and contributions of Miramontes and Baca.
- Approved the appointment of Karolin Luger to the position of CU distinguished professor. She, along with four other CU Boulder faculty members who recently received the honor, will be recognized at a celebration this spring.
The next regular board meeting is April 27–28 at CU Anschutz Medical Campus.