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An Accounting for the Faculty: Kim/Folt Spin Continues Unabated

The administration wrote to the College’s professors today in response to the faculty’s slap-in-the-face resolutions of May 8 and May 23 regarding the incomplete and irregular manner in which President Kim and Provost Folt have explained the College’s budget cuts. Once again, the Kim/Folt penchant for PR is in evidence. The memo includes the following paragraph:

At the May 23, 2011 meeting, we presented an accounting and description of new revenues, and of budget cuts that exceeded $1 million. However, it became clear following our presentation at the meeting that additional detail, including information on items less than $1 million, was desired. We are quite willing to expand our report, and are currently at work compiling this information.[Emphasis added]


The bolded sentences above — the heart of the text — are a willful distortion of the faculty’s near-unanimously-voted resolution of May 23. At that time, the faculty’s request was not simply for a greater level of detail; the assembled professors rigorously criticized Kim/Folt’s information for including many items that were irregular, no more than accounting tricks, imprudent in their forecasting, and inaccurate.

At some point the administration is going to realize that Dartmouth’s faculty wants a professionally prepared comparison of the College’s budget forecasts before and after the cuts. There is an accepted, real-world fashion for presenting such numbers. Hint: That fashion includes many dollar figures assembled in a large spreadsheet and a great deal fewer soft-headed, verbose explanations like the following:

ï‚· Surplus repays deficit: Utilization of FY10 operating surplus to repay FY09 operating deficit more quickly than projected, $14.6 million


As we have detailed in the past, the bizarreness of the above $14.6 million item can lead to only two possible conclusions: 1) Kim/Folt believe that they can snow the faculty with condescending nonsense; 2) It really is amateur hour in Parkhurst.

We look forward to seeing if the administration gets serious over the next few months and offers the College’s faculty the information that they have now twice requested.

The full text of today’s memo is in the extended.

June 8, 2011

Dear Colleagues,

Before the end of the academic year, we would like to let you know our plans to respond to the resolution approved at the Arts and Sciences faculty meeting on May 23, 2011, requesting additional information about the means used to close the structural budgetary gap.

We appreciate the open discussion, questions and comments raised at the meeting, following the report we presented to the faculty. (The report and accompanying notes may be found at: http://budget.dartmouth.edu/) Our intent has always been—and continues to be—providing you with the information you have requested. We believe that we all agree that the decisions and actions we have taken and the financial outcomes that have resulted from the Strategic Budget Reduction and Investment (SBRI) process must be open and understandable to the entire College community.

At the May 23, 2011 meeting, we presented an accounting and description of new revenues, and of budget cuts that exceeded $1 million. However, it became clear following our presentation at the meeting that additional detail, including information on items less than $1 million, was desired. We are quite willing to expand our report, and are currently at work compiling this information.

We also have met individually with many faculty members, including some of you who spoke at the May 23 meeting, and with the Dean of the Faculty, and members of the Committee on Priorities. We want to make certain that we have a full sense of the additional material that you have requested. Additionally, we encourage you to ask questions, and to provide comment and information at any time in this process
(provost@dartmouth.edu).

Our plan is to present several updates over the summer, each with details on specific issues including expense reductions and new revenues in A&S. This information will also be posted on the SBRI website.

Because we understand that many of you are away over the summer, we also plan to schedule meetings in the fall with opportunities for questions and discussion. These sessions, which will complement regular consultations with the CPr, will be held well in advance of the A&S faculty meeting (as yet unscheduled) at which this topic will once again be on the agenda.

Best regards,

President Jim Yong Kim
Provost Carol Folt
Executive Vice President and CFO Steve Kadish

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