April 15, 2003

Trustees Discuss Salaries, Funding

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The Executive Committee of the Cornell University Board of Trustees met on Friday in the Fall Creek Room at the Cornell Club of New York for their first meeting this year, the third of the academic year. A brief public session was held at the beginning of the meeting during which President Hunter R. Rawlings III gave a report on admissions, faculty salaries, workforce planning, contract college funding and athletics.

Henrik N. Dullea ’61, vice president for University relations, summarized Rawlings’ report. He said that “admissions were strong again this year, although Cornell, like many other schools, saw some declines [in applications].”

The overall admission rate rose to 31 percent from last year’s 28 percent, as reported last week in The Sun. Early-decision applications increased by about 60, while regular-admission applications decreased by 1,000.

“The number of applications from African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American students increased, as did the percentage of admitted students for each category,” Dullea stated.

With respect to salaries, Dullea said that “Cornell made very good progress during the past year on its plan to bring salaries for endowed and contract college faculties to the median of the peer group identified for each category. Endowed colleges have closed the gap considerably.”

Cornell’s contract colleges have risen to sixth place from eighth place in the University’s peer group of eleven institutions. This signifies that Cornell salaries in the contract colleges are now in the median position and only slightly below the peer group’s average.

Dullea also noted that Carolyn Ainslie, vice president for planning and budget “continues to make good progress in the difficult area of workforce planning, especially in the areas of human resources and financial transactions and payroll.”

Rawlings’ report also included some statements concerning Cornell’s “extraordinary winter sports season,” according to Dullea. One success that was noted during the meeting was the men’s hockey team, which attained #1 ranking in the country prior to the NCAA tournament and reached the Frozen Four.

Team members Sam Paolini ’03 and David LeNeveu ’05 were noted for winning the Hockey Humanitarian Award and being named two of three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, which recognizes outstanding college hockey players of the year.

Following Rawlings’ report, a brief update concerning the state budget situation was presented to the Board by Provost Biddy (Carolyn A.) Martin and Ainslie.

The situation concerns New York State’s reduction in funds used to finance state colleges. At Cornell, the budget cuts are expected to have a large impact on the contract colleges. Consequently, the administration has been vigorously searching for a solution.

“[Rawlings] has had members of the Cornell community write the legislators in support of Cornell. [However], the issue hasn’t been resolved,” Dullea said.

Members at the meeting did not intend to investigate solutions to the budget problem.

University Counsel James J. Mingle felt as though “the meeting was productive. Issues were reviewed by the Board and actions were taken on certain issues.”

Though the meeting consisted mostly of status reports, there were certain issues about which the Board was asked to make decisions.

Since those issues were discussed in the portion of the meeting not open to the public, Mingle described the issues as “mostly confidential.”

In the future, the “Executive Committee [is expected] to meet briefly in May,” said Barbara L. Krause, associate University counsel. “They generally meet about six times a year according to a schedule.”

Archived article by David Andrade