Trustees to discuss cuts, broad academic plans

by Kristin Szostek | 11/7/02 6:00am

The College's Board of Trustees will meet to discuss the hotly-debated budget cuts this weekend while in Hanover for their quarterly meeting.

Vice President of Public Affairs Bill Walker cited new facilities and long-term academic matters as other expected discussion items.

Meetings focusing on academic programs will be "broader in focus" and look at academic departments' growth and direction, Chair of the Board Susan Dentzer said.

The most high-profile discussion this weekend, however, will center on the rash of proposed budget cuts that have concerned Dartmouth employees and students since September.

Board members were noticeably reticent about any possible decisions or discussion items in the days leading up to the weekend. Trustee David Shribman '76 explained that he would not know anything about the discussion topics until arriving in Hanover. Dentzer said that she couldn't tell The Dartmouth what the Board would talk about because they "haven't said it yet."

The most worrisome potential budget cuts made public so far include plans to lay off of about 30 non-faculty employees, to make Sanborn Library a study space and to cut a $1 million chunk from the library system's budget, a change that is slated to affect student work opportunities.

Talk of library cuts have especially angered the faculty, with many professors perceiving an encroachment on the "basic principles of the College" that President James Wright promised to protect at the Oct. 28 faculty meeting.

Trustees will meet this weekend with administrators working on the budgeting plans. The board itself does not design or determine changes, but "oversees" the committee, Walker said.

Despite what is discussed this weekend, Walker emphasized that no cuts have actually been determined, and that they probably would not be set for another two weeks. This echoed a similar statement by Provost Barry Scherr following the announcement of employee layoffs that cited mid-November as when such decisions would be made.

Although a student-trustee dinner or dessert is often scheduled on visiting weekends, there will be no such event this term given the large amount of time being dedicated to the weekend's ceremonies.

The Baker/Berry Library dedication on Friday and the Carson Hall dedication Saturday morning will make the trustees' two days on campus especially busy, Walker said.

According to Walker, other events on the board's agenda this weekend include a Thursday "working lunch" with the arts and sciences deans and a Saturday luncheon following the library dedication.