FAS To Lift Salary Freeze

In what may be an early sign that the budget is recovering, Faculty of Arts and Science Dean Michael D. Smith announced yesterday that he would end the salary freezes placed on faculty and staff last December.

In an update on FAS finances, he also guaranteed a 3 percent increase in graduate students’ stipends and assured concerned professors that funding for Harvard College Libraries would not be further reduced.

These increases in spending come despite a $110 million FAS deficit—a budget estimate that has not been updated since Smith announced it on September 15.

According to Smith’s e-mail yesterday afternoon, faculty and staff members will be eligible to receive a 2 percent “merit-based salary increase.”

Whether a faculty or staff member receives a “merit-based salary increase” depends on the feedback an individual receives in departmental evaluations.

Salary increases of up to five percent were common during the flush years that predated the economic crisis, according to Bill Jaeger, director of the Harvard Union for Clerical and Technical Workers. But last year, faculty and nonunion staff members did not receive a salary increase due to the freeze.

Though the additional two percent is less than salary increases before the financial crisis, Classics Professor Richard F. Thomas said he thinks it may be “intended to send out a message,” indicating that “economic recovery is something that seems at least to be a possibility.”

NO FURTHER LIBRARY LIMITS

In the past few years, Harvard College Library has been forced to lay off staff members and limit growth in collections, as it seeks to reduce its budget for 2010 by $12 million in spite of increasing costs.

Last month, the report from the Task Force on University Libraries recommended that the university restructure its “labyrinthine” library system and suggested that it could no longer hope to retain a fully comprehensive collection.

But yesterday’s letter reassured faculty that the implementation of task force recommendations would not be associated with continuing cuts to library funding.

“The hemorrhaging will at least stop, and we can be very grateful for that,” said Thomas, who last week co-authored a letter with over 100 other faculty members to Smith and other University administrators calling for greater library support.

Smith told The Crimson that the decision not to cut the library budget further was not a direct response to his colleagues’ appeal.

Nancy M. Cline, the head librarian of HCL, sent a message out to library staff acknowledging that the library will continue to face financial pressures that prevent the refilling of positions left open in the wake of cost-reducing measures.

“While it affords the Library some relief...it does not remove the careful constraints under which we are working,” Cline wrote in the e-mail.

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