AUBURN, NY – Cayuga Community College’s Board of Trustees has signaled a return to financial health and the Fulton campus will see several of its planned developments move forward in the coming days and months as announced during the state of the college address Friday (Sept. 19).
In his address at the Auburn campus, CCC Interim President Gregory DeCinque said, “I am pleased to share with you, that on Wednesday, Sept. 17, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to lift the declaration of financial exigency. As you know, this signals a return to fiscal health and gives us the impetus we need to continue to build on the platform we built last year.”
He added, “We should take a moment and breathe … just let it sink in. The sword of Damocles has been removed. Let’s continue our work together to make certain it never returns.”
The sword of Damocles is a moral parable that expresses the idea that those who enjoy the life of power, immense wealth and luxury also live under a great threat, according to author, classics scholar and Bard College professor Daniel Mendelson.
Trustees declared the financial state of emergency during a meeting in July 2013, as the board reviewed a significant budget gap in revenues and projected expenditures with projected layoffs to staff and faculty.
DeCinque explained during his speech that since his address in January, the college was able to right a foundering ship and “sail to the future” with a $1.8 million fund balance – $800,000 more than was hoped.
“How did we do this you might ask?” DeCinque said, “I am going to say it is because last January when I asked you not to spend money on anything you didn’t absolutely need and to look for ways to save money, you responded. Of course, exceeding our budgeted enrollment helped but you certainly played a big part in this success. Thank you, thank you, and thank you.”
For the Fulton community, the return to fiscal health means the new campus will benefit from the continuation of its upgrades and expansion.
“As you all know, John Lamphere agreed to take on the role of Associate Vice President and Dean of the Campus,” the college’s interim president said. “John will tell you that I gave him very explicit instructions for what to do with our Fulton campus – here’s what I really told him: “Make something happen!””
DeCinque then outlined the primary happenings at Fulton’s CCC campus at River Glen:
- Subway has agreed to open a store on campus;
- Construction of a student lounge and fitness center within a week;
- A formal partnership agreement has been signed with Oswego County BOCES to cooperatively deliver adult continuing education and workforce development programs and will begin by occupying the bank building;
- By this time next year or sooner the Dollar Tree space will be converted to a manufacturing training center that will also house other programs that can feed into college programs;
- The three storefronts next to the main academic building will become a One Stop Center for Admissions, Registration, Financial Aid and other important student services;
- Another store front will become CCC’s Occupational Therapy Assisting Lab;
- The Central New York Arts Council will be working with CCC to turn the current event center into a multi-purpose facility for the arts, music and other uses;
- CCC continues discussion with the Fulton YMCA leadership to develope a part of the Kmart building into a multi-sport recreation facility and daycare center.
“Last year we said that the way we could best make the Fulton campus work was by developing mission appropriate partnerships,” DeCinque said. “We are well on our way.”
DeCinque advised that enrollment rates had dropped by 5 percent, and pledged the institution would focus on its retention rates by creating a pilot program that dedicates resources to “retention champions – student success advocates” who will work with students at risk for dropping out or not returning to complete their studies.
“We also have issued a contract to Anderson Strickler to complete a full demand analysis for student housing on both the Auburn and the Fulton campus,” he said in his address. “This study should be completed by Thanksgiving and will give us sound information to help make a decision on proceeding or not with student housing.”
In closing, DeCinque said, “If we can improve our retention rates, we can ameliorate our enrollment issues. If we can prepare a sound and honest self-study, we can continue to improve and if we are successful in becoming a regional community college, I know we can have a sound and exciting future.”