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Tuition hikes could harm diversity, provost says

The faculty meeting also addressed University childcare and the search for a Med School dean

The current rate of tuition increase is unsustainable and, if unchecked, could limit the demographics of students who could attend Brown, Provost Mark Schlissel P’15 told faculty members Tuesday at this month’s faculty meeting.

The budget for fiscal year 2014, approved by the Corporation, sets undergraduate tuition at $44,608 — 4.2 percent higher than the previous year. This increase, which will accompany an equivalent hike in tuition for graduate students, follows a 3.5 percent rise in tuition and fees for fiscal year 2012 and a 3.6 percent increase for fiscal year 2013.

Tuition and fees are the University’s most significant source of income, making up 38 percent of total revenue for the current year. But Schlissel said an increase as high as 4.2 percent “compounds more quickly than society will eventually be able to pay for” and cannot continue in the long run.

Schlissel also reported on the progress of the search committees seeking replacements for Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences Ed Wing, Vice President for Research Clyde Briant and Vice President for Computing and Information Services Michael Pickett.

The committee to select a new dean of medicine and biological sciences has chosen 15 finalists for the position after reviewing more than 60 candidates.

As chair of the committee, Schlissel said he was “surprised” at the “remarkably and gratifyingly long list of incredibly qualified candidates” who expressed interest in the position. He did not say when a new dean will be named.

President Christina Paxson presented the results of the Advisory Committee on Childcare’s report, which was released Feb. 26, and gave her response. The report’s most immediate recommendations included setting aside $250,000 “to assist community members with child-care costs” and dedicating another $100,000 to child-care subsidies for graduate students. The committee also proposed that Brown either continue to affiliate itself with local child-care centers or build one on-site.

Paxson expressed her support for the former.

“If I thought we could afford to do everything in this report, I would do everything in this report,” she said, adding that she considered adequate child care fundamental to the productivity of faculty and staff members.

Memorial minutes were read for Dwight Sweigart, professor of chemistry, and Leon Goldstein, professor emeritus of medical science.

In keeping with the Advisory Committee on Childcare’s recommendation that faculty meetings extend no later than 5:30 p.m., the meeting was concluded half an hour earlier than past meetings. The change left no time for a report from Dean of the Faculty Kevin McLaughlin P’12, who was scheduled to speak about the recent forum on the strategic planning interim report by the Committee for Faculty Recruitment, Career Development and Retention.


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