As you may be aware, a piece recently ran in the online edition of the Indiana Daily Student claiming that general funding for OVPDEMA was cut by 25 percent. Although I appreciate the hard work and intrepid reporting by Rao and Terbush, please know that their article is incorrect in its biggest claim: that funding for our programs has been reduced.
To be clear, the article correctly states that 25 percent of the OVPDEMA budget no longer resides in our Bloomington-specific account; however, to restate plainly, our funding was not reduced. The 25 percent of our budget that is in question has simply been moved from our Bloomington account to our university-wide (or University Administration) account.
This movement of funding—a process that was requested by President McRobbie and has been in motion for three years—accounts for our programs that serve the entire university, not just the Bloomington campus. Programs such as Community and School Partnerships and the African American Arts Institute, as well as our marketing and communications operation, central administration, and our recently elevated diversity education and cross-cultural engagement units, now have their funding classified under University Administration. This process aligns with the mission of OVPDEMA and makes clear that, as a university-wide organization, we serve all IU campuses.
Again, please know that our funding remains intact and robust. Like all offices, schools, and departments across the university, we were asked to practice fiscal responsibility during the pandemic and reduce our overall expenses, but after following those measures, OVPDEMA remains strongly supported by senior leadership at IU. For further evidence of the university’s fervent support of our work, look no further than the $1 million recently provided by the Office of the President for the Pandemic Health Disparities Fund or (re)acquaint yourself with the partnership between OVPDEMA and the Office of the Vice President for Research that provides grants to individuals investigating issues of racial justice.
With continued strong support from senior administrators, I look forward to OVPDEMA providing outstanding services to the entire IU community for many years to come.