Faced with the task of further reducing the University's projected budget deficit by $30 million, the Corporation will convene this weekend to finalize plans to balance next fiscal year's operating budget and discuss academic priorities.
The University's highest governing body will receive the University Resources Committee's recommendations — which include the Organizational Review Committee's proposed solutions accounting for $14 million of the total reduction goal — and President Ruth Simmons' recommendations for next fiscal year's budget, tuition and other fees, including increased investment in financial aid, said Russell Carey '91 MA'06, senior vice president for Corporation affairs and governance.
Discussion of significant capital projects is also on the Corporation's weekend agenda, he said.
The goal of this weekend's summit is to "balance the budgets and deal with the deficits," Carey said, adding that the University expects to come away from the weekend with a more solidified plan to further reduce the budget deficit.
Part of the Corporation's decision will involve analysis of the 14 ORC subcommittees' recommendations for reducing the budget and increasing the University's efficiency, Carey said. The ORC recommendations were outlined in a report released Feb. 2 and include streamlining University administration and cutting operating costs from various areas of the University.
This weekend's meeting is the second meeting specifically dedicated to determining the following fiscal year's budget since Simmons announced a $740 million decline in the University's endowment in January 2009. During last February's meeting, the Corporation set a goal to reduce the University's projected operating budget by $95 million over the next four years. The University set a goal of reducing the projected budget by $35 million during the fiscal year beginning last July.
Due to the scope of the proposed reductions for the next fiscal year, the Corporation — which also meets annually in May and October — will spend more time this weekend meeting as a group rather than in individual committees, Carey said.
This weekend's meeting will be a "modified retreat," Carey said, adding that the February meeting is more focused because it includes only current members of the Corporation. Members of the Corporation will convene collectively on Friday morning and split into committees — including those on advancement, academic affairs and budget and finance — in the afternoon before reconvening at a dinner at night. (Committees charged with discussing facilities and design, Alpert Medical School, investment and auditing met on Thursday.) The committees will then come together on Saturday to finalize next year's budget, Carey said.
The dinner on Friday evening will include student leaders, faculty and staff, as well as members of the Brown community who served on the ORC committees and the URC, he said. Though these dinners sometimes are devoted to feting specific projects or donations,
Carey said Friday's dinner will be "more of a social event" to allow members of the Corporation to "interact with members of the community."
Provost David Kertzer '69 P'95 P'98 will also make a presentation on behalf of the Academic Priorities Committee, Carey said.
The Corporation committees may also discuss the proposal for a new school of engineering and possible plans for campus improvements, he said.
Though the general points of discussion for this weekend's meeting are set, the governing body's final decisions relating to the budget and other areas are difficult to anticipate, said Marisa Quinn, vice president for public affairs and University relations.
"People think the Corporation is more predictable than it is," she said. "But they're a really lively, engaged group, and things change."