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Phil’s Budget Crisis. What Crisis?

As we saw last week, fundraising is in the doldrums — putting it charitably — and Phil’s phailure to bring in the bucks has had immediate consequences for spending all over Dartmouth:

  • The Athletics Department is looking at an 8% cut to its budget. This is an area of the College that is tightly run. For example, many assistant coaches make less money that scruffy dining hall dishwashers, and yet they are on the road for months at a time. Already some teams are only able to compete effectively because of the assistance of generous donations from “Friends of …” groups. Perhaps the Hanlon administration is banking on disaffected alumni riding to the rescue.
  • Seeing the golf course get the ax is hard to fathom when losses are in the area of $600,000/year in the context of a overall Dartmouth budget that had total expenses of $973,123,000 in 2017. Recall that Phil has added 243 people to the staff ranks since he arrived in town in 2013; that works out to well over $20,000,000 in extra payroll alone.
  • Although College spokesman Diana Lawrence denies that there is a hiring freeze in place for either undergraduate faculty or staff, members of the faculty that I talk to seem to think that there is a moratorium on hiring. Now I am all for controlling costs, but that means cutting fat, not eschewing the hiring of high-quality professors.
  • Finally, there is a looming scandal that is the talk of the professoriate: a top-ranked professor from another school was offered a position in Hanover, had her moving expenses from Europe paid for by the College, put a down payment on an Upper Valley house, and then was denied tenure as a full professor at the last minute in a move that smacks of cost-saving rather than a decision on the merits. This mess is going to hurt recruiting at the College for years, if details are released to the public.

How can Phil dream of expanding the College when in these flush times, with the stock market soaring, he can’t make ends meet without cuts that hurt the quality of a Dartmouth education?

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