Financial Difficulties Prompt Columbia Report on Merger

A proposal to merge Columbia College with Barnard College is one of several alternatives being considered to alleviate Columbia's steadily worsening financial problems, officials of Columbia College said yesterday.

Columbia University is suffering from a projected deficit of almost $6 million for the academic year beginning this fall.

The dean of Columbia College, Peter Pouncey, will propose that the two schools merge in a report being distributed to the faculties of the schools this week.

The report recommends total unification of the two colleges as an effective way of upgrading and "preserving the quality" of Columbia College.

Barnard and Columbia have separate corporations but are closely affiliated with each other.

The trustees of the two schools voted in 1973 to provide open access to courses at both schools for all students--graduate and undergraduate. There are some provisions for financial exchange and coed residence living.

The report also requires a cut in the size of the graduate school of arts and sciences so the faculty could spend more time teaching at the undergraduate level.

Pouncy said, he believes the report faces major opposition from faculty and administrators at Columbia and Barnard.

William T. DeBary, executive vice president for academic affairs at Columbia, said yesterday, "There's a very real question as to how practicable it is

Year's Notice

Leroy C. Breunig, acting president of Barnard, said yesterday that at least a year's notice was needed before any change could be made in the college's present relationship.

He said "the virtues of smallness and an autonomous women's institution" stand in the way of any merger.

Pouncey's proposal has been discussed in small faculty committees and will go before the whole faculty around the third week of October.