The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

DePaul President address safety and budget in Town Hall

Jeff Carrion | DePaul University
President Robert Manuel addressed budget and safety concerns in a university Town Hall Oct. 26.

President Robert Manuel spoke to DePaul faculty and students Oct. 26 to provide updates on DePaul’s financial situation, ​​Designing DePaul and campus safety.


After the reveal of the projected $56 million budget gap last spring, Manuel gave further updates on DePaul’s financial standing, explaining the next steps to bolster the university’s financial health.

“We need money, and the execution of that is a priority,” Manuel said. 

Before the pandemic, Manuel said DePaul had $105 million cash on hand. But, that amount has now been reduced to $27 million for the fiscal year 2023.

This money is used to cover debts, fund necessary renovations and provide $14 million every two weeks in salaries and benefits for faculty, as well as student-employee wages. 

Manuel also pointed to the endowment, explaining the different areas of these funds and the sources from which they can be drawn. 

Manuel explained that many believe the endowment can be used to resolve the university’s financial struggles, but he identified the difference between unrestricted and restricted funds from donors.

The university’s endowment holds $71 million in permanently restricted funds, meaning the body of these funds cannot be used.

However, there are portions of the endowment that are considered unrestricted, but still have provisions.

One portion of these unrestricted funds counts for $420 million, which is considered donor and institutional provisions on how it can be spent.

In this instance, donors decide where the university can spend the money.

“In order to change that money to truly unrestricted, we would have to go to 875 donors and ask them to allow us to use it for a different purpose,” Manuel said.

Manuel said the solution to DePaul’s financial problems does not rest in liquidating the endowment and using it for operating expenses.

“What happens then is people start to question [the university’s financial] health,” he said, noting that this could also prevent donors from continuing to give to the university. 

Manuel emphasized the need to invest in innovation and development to move forward and to continue engagement. 


Manuel pointed to positive enrollment numbers for the fall quarter, with a 2.1% total increase in fall quarter enrollment, which is accredited to transfer students and international enrollment. 

“Enrollment this year is remarkable,” Manuel said. “There aren’t many private institutions that are experiencing these results.”

Manuel also voiced his continued commitment to eradicating the achievement gap for all students.

“We have to prove to the world that higher education is a societal good, not an individual good,” Manuel said. 

But maintaining these high enrollment trends is also important, he said. 

“The good news is that we have increased [enrollment] for fall ‘22 and ‘23, the question is that we have to continue to engage that moving forward,” Manuel said.

Designing DePaul

Manuel announced his Designing DePaul initiatives in August 2023, touching on various aspects of the university’s health and path toward innovation, such as digital presence, safety, security and philanthropy.

“This year, my hope is that each school and college can think about what their aspirations are and connect it to what’s inside Design DePaul,” Manuel said. 

Instead of focusing on progressing specific parts of the university, Manuel pointed to the importance of simultaneously developing “every asset the university has.”

“That’s why we see both an emphasis on athletics and academics at the same time,” Manuel said. 

Manuel sees Designing DePaul as the path forward but calls for active engagement with these initiatives.


After three weekends of increased severity and dangerous crimes on campus, Manuel outlined many new safety initiatives.

These initiatives include an increase in contract DePaul public safety officers, new and brighter lighting in the Sheffield parking garage and ID checkpoints at high visibility points on campus.

DePaul is also working on creating a program with rideshare apps to offer a discount and act as an incentive for students to utilize resources like Uber. 

Manuel acknowledged student concerns surrounding the increased possibility of racial profiling that could arise from certain ID policies. 

“We saw immediately how they impact populations differently,” Manuel said. 

Because of this, the university decided to draw back on its ID checks at the John T. Richardson Library in Lincoln Park.

Manuel said the next steps include working together in a group with leaders and students to understand the impact of policies to “elevate the peace and comfort.”

Current Events

Manuel closed out the town hall by addressing DePaul’s response to the continued war in the Middle East which has sparked discourse across campus.

“Personally, I am heartbroken and devastated by the deaths, the killing, the loss of life that I see every night on the television,” Manuel said. 

Manuel said the next steps in ensuring that the DePaul community feels safe and supported is creating a university-wide task force, which will work collaboratively in creating engagements and programming that “helps us navigate these difficult times.”

Manuel compared the proposition of this task force to the one that was created in response to Covid-19. Manuel called upon those who feel “qualified and hopeful” to participate in this process. 

“We want to make sure that every group here that is represented at this university has the feeling of safety, security and support,” Manuel said. 


Editor’s Note:  This version corrects that $14 million noted in story goes every two weeks for wages — and that donors and the university have say over how the $420 million is spent.


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