What is financial exigency?

According to Appendix G of the Faculty Handbook:

“Financial Exigency is the condition where the budget of the University can be balanced only by extraordinary means.”

Why is financial exigency necessary at this time?

We are experiencing fundamental shifts that have negatively impacted our financial situation including:

  • Consistent decline in undergraduate student headcount since 2018-2019
  • Failure to meet goals for first-time freshman enrollment for Fall 2023 
  • Decline in credit hour production from traditional undergraduate students since 2018 
  • Decrease in on-campus housing occupancy and a decline in related auxiliary revenue since 2019
  • Projected deficit of $5-7 million by end of 2024 if action is not taken now

Is CBU closing?

No. We are taking these extraordinary actions to ensure that CBU continues as a flourishing and prosperous four-year establishment for the foreseeable future.

What steps is CBU taking to address the current financial situation?

CBU has made adjustments over the last several years, including budget and staff cuts, to address the financial situation. More substantial steps are now needed. The University is following the Faculty Handbook process for a declaration of financial exigency.  

What happens after a declaration of financial exigency?

According to Appendix G of the Faculty Handbook:

“When a state of financial exigency has been declared, a Retrenchment Committee shall be established to advise the President on implementing these Policies. The Retrenchment Committee shall consist of the Planning Committee, two additional faculty members elected by the entire faculty body, one member of the Board of Trustees, and the Senior Director of External Affairs & Donor Relations. The Committee shall recommend to the President a coordinated program of academic and non-Student Success which will allow the University to continue to fulfill its mission in as effective a way as possible. The Committee and other appropriate communication channels shall be used to inform the Christian Brothers University community of the ongoing financial status of the University.”

Per university policy, the Retrenchment Committee will make recommendations to the President. The President will take those recommendations into consideration before sharing a holistic plan that addresses all university operations, including faculty, staff and programs.

What is the process for determining budget cuts?

The Retrenchment Committee shall recommend to the President a coordinated program of academic and non-academic services which will allow the University to continue to fulfill its mission in as effective a way as possible. 

Will my department/major be impacted?

The following programs will be closed at the conclusion of the 2023-2024 academic year: Chemistry, Cultural Studies, Ecology, Engineering Physics, English, History, History Education, Liberal Studies, Physics, Politics and Law, and Political Science; along with Master in Education. In addition, the following two concentrations will be closed: Art Therapy and Philosophy.  

Are tenured faculty subject to budget cuts?

According to Section of the Faculty Handbook:

“In case of financial exigency, it may be necessary to eliminate Departments or programs which are not essential to the mission and goals of the University, have relatively few majors, and serve relatively few students from other Departments. If this is done, every effort must be made to relocate the affected faculty members as stated in”

If it becomes necessary to release contracted faculty, a Retrenchment Committee (see Appendix G) will determine the number to be terminated University-wide in order to relieve the state of exigency. This Committee shall then meet with the Academic Council to establish the number to be released in each School. Each Dean of the School will then meet with the Department Chairs to determine which faculty members are to be recommended for termination. Each level of determination is subject to the approval of the President. At all stages of this process, the present and future needs of each School and Department must be considered. It is not intended that across-the-board terminations be made, but that each one involve rational judgments of what is possible, equitable, and the least damaging to the mission of the University. 

Each Department Chair, acting with the advice and consent of the Dean of the School and the Vice President of Academics, shall recommend which faculty members are to be retained, using the following criteria in order:

1. Tenure or status as a Christian Brother;
2. Merit, versatility, seniority;
3. The goals of the University regarding numbers of women, women religious, and members of minority groups.

A faculty member may appeal a decision of termination as set forth in Section

What impact will this have on accreditation?

In November, Christian Brothers University received notification from SACSCOC, our institutional accrediting body, what it will remain continued in accreditation for Good Cause and placed on Probation for a duration of 12 months. A full discussion of questions related to this topic can be found here. The declaration of financial exigency and the steps that CBU is taking because of it are, in fact, proactive steps toward relieving any financial responsibility issues going forward and long-term accreditation. 

Will I be able to graduate if my program is impacted?

Yes. All currently enrolled students will be supported to complete their degrees. 

I am planning to enroll at CBU as a freshman in Fall 2024. Will my academic scholarship be affected?  

Academic scholarships will continue based on the agreement each individual signed with the University as long as requirements for the scholarship (credit hours completed, grade point average, etc.) are maintained. 

Will academic scholarships be cut or reduced?

No, no academic scholarships for current students will be cut or reduced.

Will student work study jobs still be available?

Yes, student work study jobs will still be available.

Will my graduate program continue to be offered? Will I be able to finish my degree?

The Master of Education program will be closed.  However, actively enrolled students will be supported to complete their degrees.  

When will decisions about academic programs be communicated?

As we proceed through the financial exigency process, we will communicate any impacts to academic programs as soon as decisions are made. 

Will the mission of CBU change?

No. While the current environment forces us to make tough decisions to ensure the ongoing health and vitality of our community, it has only strengthened our focus on living out our mission to prepare students from all faiths and backgrounds for careers and lives informed by the Lasallian values of faith, service, and community.

Will athletics be impacted?

No changes in athletic programs were made during this process.   

Are counseling/support services available for students?

Yes. Students may utilize our on-campus counseling services.

Are counseling/support services available for faculty and staff members?

Yes. Two programs are available for faculty and staff.

CIGNA Member Resources – Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
The Cigna Employee Assistance Program can help members of the CBU faculty and staff community.

The program offers:

  • Three face-to face visits with a licensed behavioral health provided in Cigna’s EAP network
  • Unlimited telephone counseling and access to work-life resources.
  • Access to legal services, including a 30-minute consultation with a network attorney, plus 25% off select fees if the attorney is retained.
  • Access to financial services, including a 30-minute complimentary phone consultation plus 25% tax preparation.
  • Access to ID theft support, including a 60-minute consultation with a fraud resolution.

For more information, call 877-231-1492 or go to www.mycigna.com.

Employee Assistance Program – Methodist Health Care
The Employee Assistance Program through Methodist Health Care is free to any CBU faculty, administrator and staff member.

The program offers:

  • Assistance to employees and members of their household resolve problems as well as helps leaders manage their team.  
  • Problems that the program assists with are alcohol and/or drug abuse, anxiety and/or depression, marital and/or family issues, grief, stress, work-life balance, and major life transitions.
  • All sessions are confidential, except when required by law or client’s written consent. 
  • The program offers ten free sessions per issue.

You can reach the Methodist Healthcare Employee Assistance Program by calling (901) 683-5658 or toll free at (800) 888-5658.  You can also visit them at www.methodisteapcanhelp.org.

How can I stay informed of the financial status of CBU?

We are committed to keeping our entire community up-to-date on the current financial situation. We will provide updates on our website and via direct communications to our community as decisions are made.