February 11, 2009

Administrators Speak Out on Budget Cuts

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The current financial crisis looms large for Cornell as it faces a projected $200 million budget shortfall. Various administrators and deans give a broader perspective on how the necessary budget cuts will affect every college and administrative division of the University.
“While we cannot be certain about the dimensions, depth and duration of the difficulty, we are confident Cornell is in a good position to adjust operations and budget to address a loss in revenue in the wake of the financial crisis, relying on the institutional expertise and commitment of faculty, staff, alumni, students and friends.”
— President David Skorton (in October letter to community)
“Our challenge [for the future] is to focus on a set of realistic parameters — not overly optimistic, not overly pessimistic — that allow us to stay the course and maintain sufficient flexibility such that as the situation changes we can adapt and adjust to it.”
— Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Stephen Golding (to University)
“We’re going to first see any places where there is a duplication of effort. Then we will examine areas of least impact on the experience outside of the classroom, especially for the student … We’ll look to protect our core programs as much as possible — residential experience, first-year experience, student health and well-being, recreational activities, intercollegiate relations, public service students provide, the career center.”
— Vice President for Student & Academic Services Susan Murphy ’73
“I don’t expect we will ever have to make Draconian cuts such as removing faculty tenured positions or layoffs, not while I’m provost. We’ll have to let go of many staff that don’t have tenure, many positions won’t be replaced, but we’ll continue to hire faculty and staff and continue strategic construction. We will focus on managing the budget, while still investing.”
— Provost Kent Fuchs
“I think the most important thing is that we need to evaluate every budget cut for its impact on our core mission, undergraduate and graduate teaching, research, outreach, overall quality of student experience … It’s hard to talk about last resort, because everything is going to be affected when you talk about 10 percent [operating budget cuts] — it’s a question of degree … how much of a loss is it really?”
— Dean and Arts and Sciences G. Peter LePage
“As the state has found itself in increasing difficulty, for better or worse, the situation there is going to be largely transparent to students on campus, delaying faculty hires and various things to consolidate and be more efficient in the education. The unfortunate part is less visible to students — we perform a lot of functions for the state, and those budgets are being reduced significantly.”
— Vice Provost for Land Grant Affairs Ron Seeber