Budget Cut Analysis
Early this morning (2:10AM to be exact), President of the College Ron Liebowitz released the lastest in the budget cuts, accepting almost all of the recommendations of the Budget Oversight Committee (BOC). Below is a quick first-brush analysis of selected recommendations:
- Athletics: The big one for Athletics is letting the Crew team drop back down to a level 2 Club sport. Crew made level one several years ago meaning that many costs were paid for by the Athletics department. Now, that burden has been shifted back to the SGA Finance Committee and your own Student Activity Fee (SAF) dollars. Non-essential travel has also been eliminated for all teams, meaning it might be tougher to get to that spring break training trip or that extra scrimmage.
- Arts: The deepest cuts and consolidations this round were made to collective arts. The college museum will take a 10% budget cut, straight out. Well, at least the school didn’t sell off all its art. The biggest direct effect on students is the increase in price for music lessons from the applied music faculty. We’ll see if the Music Dept will continue subsidizing majors and other students who perform in the College Choir or Orchestra. But don’t expect students (who don’t otherwise charge it to their parents) to pick up the slack. Consolidating the box office and tech staff makes sense too.
- New England Review (NER): Not many students know what the NER actually is, but it will be going away entirely unless it can eliminate its current operating deficit by 2011. It’s a point of prestige for Middlebury to have its own journal but it’s for professors, not students.
- SGA: Assuming something came out of the SGA Crisis Contest, the three SGA recommendations ar: 1) reduce lawn care costs by cutting less, planting more natural grass, 2) develop a kitchenware loan program for residences with kitchens around campus, and 3) develop and then implement a flexible dining system. I am wary that the administration will take a SGA “recommendation” to have “flexible” dining as a blank check to implement a non-open dining system. I’ll be more clear: do not get rid of open dining. Even a “eat-as-much-as-you-want” meal plan misses the point. No checks at the door builds the system of trust at this school. And any tiered dining system requires money, time, staff etc. to check for cheaters of the system. Financially, checks may be less than the costs of freeloaders (“riding the panther”) but you must account for the social and community benefits of open dining. The kitchenware loan program is a genuinely good idea but again, requires a check to prevent students from taking dishware out of the dining hall at will, as it happens now.
- President’s House: If you’ve ever been invited to a reception or meal at the President’s house, you know it’s a nice place. But the BOC recommends a 50% cut in couse costs from catering to maintenance. Expect Ron to be doing more of his student gatherings in the new “flexible-mealplan” dining halls.
MiddBlog wants to know: What will affect you? Are these appropriate cuts?