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The Swearer Center for Public Service will be making a number of budget cuts as part of an overall budgeting policy unveiled by the University in memos released Sept. 29 and Feb. 2.

The exact amount of money to be cut from the Swearer Center's budget has not been decided yet, said Roger Nozaki MAT'89, associate dean of the college and director of the Swearer Center.

"Our budget is part of the overall University budgeting process, so the overall figures are set by the University, and all our decisions are part of the overall University process and timeline," Nozaki wrote in an e-mail to The Herald.

"Unfortunately, the decrease in the University's endowment payout means we must reduce our expenses, both operating expenses and staff positions," Nozaki wrote.

A Swearer Center committee will decide what will eventually be cut. "We're putting together that committee right now," Nozaki said.

The committee will consist of Swearer Center staff, students, community partners and "other folks around campus," he said, adding that the center is currently sending out invitations.

"We don't want this to be a closed process," Nozaki said.

As a part of the budgeting process, all of the student groups that are supported by the Swearer Center have had to submit year-end evaluations.

"All programs are potentially on the chopping block," said Meghna Philip '11, student coordinator of Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere (HOPE).

In addition, each student coordinator received an e-mail from the Swearer Center March 26 stating that the center will be "restructuring some of their programs," said Elizabeth Caldwell '12, another student coordinator of HOPE.

The Swearer Center will be "reviewing the areas where they have clusters of programs" and "assessing if they can still stay," said Matt Grimes '10, who works for the Rhode Island Urban Debate League.

The debate league will be finding "a new home outside of the Swearer Center," Grimes said, and has to fundraise on its own. Members were informed of this in early March, but the Swearer Center will continue to support the program for the next couple of years because it is "still very dependent," Grimes said. But the move is "probably good for us in the long run," he added.

There has also been a "pretty significant reduction in (the center's) overall staffing capacity," Grimes said, adding that the center cannot hire new student coordinators next year because those positions may not still be available.

"Everything is way up in the air," he said.

"I understand that budget cuts have to happen," Caldwell said, but added that she is "definitely concerned about the future of the Swearer Center."

There is a constant struggle in the Providence community and Rhode Island, Philip said, because "the service programs and service sector is often the first place to feel the effects of budget crunches." It is a "tragic thing we always encounter," she added.

It is important that students participate in "community-driven action," Caldwell said. It allows them to develop a "long-term relationship with people in the city," she added.

The Swearer Center is a "very important part of the Brown University community at large," Philip said, because it "encourages connections to the greater Providence community and Rhode Island that can often be forgotten and ignored in the bubble of social and academic life on campus."

It is an important experience and opportunity for students to show that they are not isolated and have an impact on the community, she added.

"We want to make sure that we can do as much as possible for the community," Nozaki said. The Swearer Center supports "a range of efforts" including student research, courses related to community issues, "social entrepreneurship" and the College Advising Corps, which works in state public schools, he wrote in an e-mail to The Herald.

"It is really important to keep as much of the work of the Swearer Center as possible," Grimes said, adding that it makes a difference to the people of the Providence community as well as the students themselves.

During the budgeting process, the Swearer Center will attempt to ensure as much continuity as possible in its programs and students, Nozaki wrote.

"Everyone recognizes that it's a challenging time," Nozaki said, but the Swearer Center plans to "move forward with as much sensitivity as possible" and "keep an eye on the future."

"Throughout this process, two things will remain constant in our work — student leadership and long-term community relationships," he wrote.




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