The University's Priorities Committee met Monday night to discuss shortfalls in the University's operating budget during what Provost Christopher Eisgruber '83 called "constrained times."
Due in part to high energy prices, Eisgruber said "the news on the budget front is a little gloomier" this year than it has been in past years.
He specified that the committee, which makes recommendations to distribute discretionary funding, is looking at a $4 million dollar deficit in its operating budget.
And because the administration is concerned about deficits in next year's budget as well, University community members will notice increased discipline on the "consumption side of the budget," Eisgruber said.
If the University can't slow spending, it will have to decrease its renovation budget, Eisgruber said, adding that a 10 percent cut in renovation spending would "pull the budget back into balance." He noted that such cuts in renovation would be "hard, but easier than administrative cost cuts."
"When times are good, the amount of money available can be a couple of million dollars," Eisgruber said. Grants made by the committee are not simply onetime allocations, but annual commitments in the University's budget. But Eisgruber warned that this year, "the committee will have no money" unless it makes the necessary cuts.
However, Eisgruber said he is optimistic that the trustees will be willing to hear requests for the next fiscal year, so the committee entertained proposals from community members as usual at Monday's meeting.
A significant portion of the open discussion was devoted to graduate housing.
The Lawrence Apartments for graduate students have been shut down for renovations, forcing the inhabitants to move to the more expensive New Lawrence high-rises. The graduate students asked the committee to maintain rent levels in New Lawrence at the same rate as the old Lawrence apartments.
Additionally, a graduate student in the ecology and evolutionary biology department who is a member of Greening Princeton requested that the University create a "Sustainability Coordinator" position.
Greening Princeton works to improve the University's environmental policies through the use of organic food in the dining halls, water and energy conservation and increased recycling on campus.
The group member claimed that the savings incurred on behalf of the University by the group would pay for the $100,000 annual salary of the new coordinator.
Others lobbied for increases in graduate student stipends in the humanities and social sciences as well as assistant instructor funding for graduate students in engineering and the sciences.
The Priorities Committee is part of the Council of the Princeton University Community, which reviews the University's plans for allocations after consideration of the operating budget.
Committee members include Eisgruber, Dean of the Faculty David Dobkin, Treasurer Christopher McCrudden, six faculty members, two graduate students and four undergraduates.
Generally, the heads of various administrative departments such as the University Library or OIT come before the assembled members and talk about their most urgent needs. The committee then deliberates in December and early January about how to distribute available money.
Reader Comments (0)
No comments yet. Be the first to post your opinion on this article.