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The University hopes to identify approximately half of $30 million in necessary budget cuts this fall through the work of 12 recently formed subgroups of the Organizational Review Committee, according to vice president for finance and administration Beppie Huidekoper.

These subgroups, which include faculty, staff and students, each met independently for the first time Oct. 8, and are scheduled to come up with $14 million in recommended cuts, Huidekoper said. The ORC will propose a full $30 million in cuts to the Corporation at the meeting in February, she said, when the University's highest governing body will approve the budget for the 12 months beginning July 2010.

The subcommittees are part of the University's latest efforts to trim down the annual budget after the endowment — a key source of annual revenue — lost nearly $740 million during last year's financial crisis.

"There's pretty much no part of the University that is not addressed," Huidekoper said of the subcommittees' focuses, adding that the current economic situation has necessitated organizational changes that are "deeper" and that more directly address the University's efficiency.

The $14 million figure was chosen to encourage the subgroups to come up with aggressive ideas for deficit reductions, Huidekoper said. Administrators will inform the Corporation about the formation of these review teams when the body convenes this weekend.
"We are asking them to brainstorm and think creatively," she said. "There's no magic and no science."

The 12 subcommittees — among them groups charged with overseeing academic departments, facilities,  athletics, events management, library operations and student services — will develop recommendations for deficit reductions through a combination of savings and strengthening revenue streams, Huidekoper said.

Although the groups consist mostly of faculty, students and staff, Huidekoper said the subcommittee leaders, which include many of the University's top administrators, would be doing most of the work.

It is not uncommon for large universities to convene these kinds of specialized review groups, Huidekoper said. But many tend to employ outside consultants rather than building from within, she said.

"What we did want to do is do our own work," Huidekoper said. "We want the University to be structured in a way that is smart."

The subgroups will submit their recommendations to the ORC and the University Resources Committee, which will then offer proposals to President Ruth Simmons and the Corporation for final decisions regarding budget reductions.

"At this point, they're trying to understand what their scope is," Huidekoper said. "It's going to take a lot of time." It is too soon to speculate on any proposals, she said, adding that the teams are still in a formative position.

"We are still trying to work out how we will carry out the charge we have been given by the committee," wrote Dick Spies, executive vice president for planning and chair of a review group that will focus on fundraising operations, in an e-mail to The Herald.

Marisa Quinn, vice president for public affairs and University relations and one of the chairs of a review team that will focus on the graphics, Web and communications sectors, said her group intends to meet weekly over the course of the next few months to come up with "ways to support the University more efficiently and ensure a greater quality."

During her group's first meeting, she said, the team briefly discussed "what we thought success and failure would look like in the process" to more successfully select "stakeholders" to aid in enacting their proposed deficit-reduction plans.

Though her group does not include student members, she said, she intends to engage with a team of students during future discussions.

But the University was well-equipped to assess efficiency, she said, adding that primary support structures were already in place for self-examination.

"It was important to get a sense of how these different areas we're reviewing affect our students," Quinn said. "We're looking at ways we can really support the mission of the University most efficiently."




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