Brattleboro Reformer (Vermont)
January 15, 2010 Friday
Dartmouth president discusses budget woes
HANOVER, N.H. -- The president of Dartmouth College said Friday that more workers will be laid off next month to help cut the school s budget by $100 million over two years, but some could eventually be hired back.
Like other Ivy League schools, Dartmouth has seen a sharp drop in the value of its endowment brought on by the recession. In the last fiscal year, the endowment s value fell 23 percent to $2.8 billion, prompting the board of trustees to demand $50 million cuts for fiscal year 2011 and another $50 million for 2012.
Sixty administrative workers were laid off last year, and another 60 have taken early retirement packages. More layoffs will come after a trustees meeting next month, and Kim said other rounds are likely after that.
But Kim said he was confident once the budget gap is resolved, the school can embark on new initiatives that will attract new revenue and allow some laid-off workers to be rehired.
For example, he has proposed a new institute focused on health care delivery that he envisions becoming a key resource if national health care reform is enacted.
"It's the hottest issue right now in the United States, and the kind of thinking and research and teaching that the world needs, that the U.S. government needs, is precisely what we can offer," he said.
Kim, who took over as president six months ago, emphasized that spending on any of his pet projects would come only after the school s financial picture has stabilized.
And he addressed criticisms and rumors about the house he and his family will move into next month. Renovations are being paid for with private donations and largely consist of performing 83 years of deferred maintenance, he said. There will be no pool or putting green.
Before Kim spoke, members of the union that represents service workers gathered outside in protest. He said he was sensitive to concerns that layoffs will harm the surrounding communities given that the college is considered its main economic engine.
"Let's fix it. Let's not bemoan the brokenness of our engine."