Providing a glimpse at preliminary planning for the University's fiscal year 2011 budget, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Beppie Huidekoper emphasized to the Brown University Community Council Tuesday that budget cuts will loom large for planners well into next year.
Earlier in the meeting, the BUCC's last of the year, Chancellor Thomas Tisch '76 told the council that the Corporation will likely include young alums in its membership next year.
The University cut about $35 million from projected budgets this year, leaving an additional $60 million to be cut by June 2014 in order to meet goals set by the Corporation at its meeting in February.
The University is looking to eliminate an additional $30 million from the projected budget for the fiscal year beginning in July 2010, Huidekoper said.
Tightened budgets are a function of both endowment losses and the "flattening of the net tuition line" — the amount the University takes in from tuition less financial aid — Tisch told The Herald after Huidekoper's presentation. This flattening is not just a result of the economic downturn, he said, but a result of the recent increases in undergraduate financial aid offerings, which he called a "paradigm switch."
Though some expenses — such as utilities costs and contract-mandated salary increases — are relatively immutable, Huidekoper said the University needs to be "more aggressive" in managing other areas of the budget.
Revised projections place yearly general revenue growth at about 2 percent per year, resulting in a total revenue increase of only $50 million over the next five years. "Financial aid alone could eat up most of that," Huidekoper said.
The six-member Organizational Review Committee will expand to encompass a larger body of faculty, students and staff, and will work throughout the summer and fall to analyze areas in which the University can cut back, she said. The committee, which Huidekoper said was formed before the depth of the economic downturn became fully clear, is responsible for identifying areas where the University can cut costs.
"We will look for … opportunities for consolidation," Huidekoper said.
A total of 67 staff positions were eliminated this year, saving the University a total of $6 million, according to an e-mail sent to University faculty and staff Tuesday morning by Huidekoper and Provost David Kertzer '69 P'95 P'98.
"A lot of sacrifice has been made," Huidekoper said.
She emphasized that all budget cuts are considered in the context of the University's broader goals and are aimed at maintaining undergraduate academics and a commitment to financial aid.
"We're very lucky to have a clear plan to guide our behavior and priorities," Tisch said. "Not all schools have the same clarity."
Also during the meeting, members of the Student Labor Alliance gave a presentation about possible investments by Brown in HEI Hospitality, LLC, a national chain of hotels and resorts that the group says violates workers' rights.
The group told the BUCC that the University has a moral obligation to divest from HEI because of the union's employment practices. Though the University has not said any such investments exist, the group's representatives said Tuesday that HEI officials have listed Brown among the company's investors.
The SLA has been working with the University's Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies to determine what action, if any, the University should take with regard to HEI.
The group also said Brown's investment portfolio should be more transparent.
Tisch said after the meeting that the larger question raised by the group was an important one. "The bigger issue," he said, "is whether the composition of the University's portfolio should be public."