University News

URC discussing additional funds for S&J Center

At their meeting, UCS members heard updates on strategic planning committees and the URC budget

By
Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, January 24, 2013

The University Resources Committee is considering allocating more funds to the recently formed Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, Provost Mark Schlissel P’15 said at Wednesday night’s Undergraduate Council of Students meeting.

The center was a major initiative under former President Ruth Simmons but struggled to find a director until last spring, when Professor of Africana Studies Anthony Bogues was named its inaugural director.

Preliminary recommendations from the strategic planning committees — which are expected to heavily influence President Christina Paxson’s agenda — will be released to the public soon on the committees’ websites, undergraduate representative for the Committee on Financial Aid Jon Vu ’15 announced after Schlissel’s presentation. The six strategic planning committees met Tuesday to submit initial plans to Paxson and the Corporation, the University’s highest governing body.

In addition to the funds for the slavery and justice center, the URC is also considering hiring more public safety officers and staff members like a CareerLab internship coordinator and information technology consultants, Schlissel said.

The proposal for more public safety officers came from the Department of Public Safety, following an increase in crime on campus, Schlissel said. The request for IT consultants came from Computing and Information Services.

Schlissel said the University’s small endowment compared to its peer institutions represents an obstacle for the URC in deciding the budget. The University receives about 15 percent of its budget from its endowment, whereas Princeton and Yale receive almost half, Schlissel said.

Because of its smaller endowment, the University must get a higher percentage of its revenue from tuition, Schlissel said. About 28 percent of the budget comes from tuition and fees, and “the take-home message is that (the budget) is very heavily driven by tuition,” Schlissel said.

The negative consequences of relying on tuition for the budget are tuition hikes and a subsequent increase in the amount of the budget spent on financial aid, Schlissel said. Tuition increased by about 3.5 percent last year, while spending on undergraduate financial aid between 2007 and 2012 increased by 10.6 percent, Schlissel said.

The URC will meet next week to approve a final budget report, which will include next year’s tuition as well as faculty and staff salary increases, Schlissel said. The Corporation will review and vote on the report in early February, Schlissel said.

Undergraduate Finance Board Vice Chair Daniel Pipkin ’14 also announced that Category III student groups are now entitled to a free website provided by Brown WebServices through CIS. Pipkin said the UFB has already taken advantage of this offer and revamped its website.