$1.7 Million, Please
When a child approaches his father to ask for an advance on his allowance, he usually receives a dollar or two and a stern lecture on the fundamentals of good money management.
But when the Faculty knocked on the Corporation's door and asked to be bailed out of a deficit until more money from the Harvard Campaign begins to roll in, they were greeted with open arms. And $1.7 million.
If the Faculty had received the $3.7 million it expected from the first-year yield of the $250-million Harvard Campaign, it would have run a surplus of more than $700,000.
But things didn't work out as expected, so the Corporation lent the Faculty enough to put it in the black by $167,000, thereby making the 1979-1980 academic year the fourth showing a Faculty budget surplus.
Since the books could have shown anything from a $1.6-million deficit to a $750,000 surplus, this year's result is a "contrived figure," Melissa D. Gerrity, assistant dean of the Faculty for financial affairs, said last week.
Budget manipulations using Corporation money are not unprecedented-deficits of $1-million plus plagued the Faculty yearly during the early 1970s, Jane E. Barry, a budget analyst in the office of budgets, said last week.
In fact, there is a formal agreement governing Faculty-Corporation financial relations; each year the Faculty may borrow the difference between what it needs and what it actually takes in, she added.
The Corporation comes to the aid of ailing University budgets because all University departments function as financially separate units-one may do very well while others may flounder, Barry said.
"The outsider looks at Harvard as a wealthy institution, but we don't dole out money from the center-we have 55 different tubs on their own bottoms," she said.
But despite the comforting knowledge that the Corporation can see the Faculty through a tight year, budget planners said they don't manipulate surpluses and deficits carelessly or simply to influence potential donors.
The projected $785,000 in next year's budget reflects rapidly rising energy costs, Dean Rosovsky said last week, adding that an unavoidable 52.6-per-cent increase in the energy budget will make the 1980-81 year "very difficult."
The future remains out of the reach of Faculty administrators, Rosovsky says: "The key issue from our point of view is inflation-if it were brought under control I think we'd be in reasonable condition. Until that happens, I think we will have great difficulties."