THE HISTORY Department this week announced that in order to meet Dean Rosovsky's new budget, it will hire about three fewer graduate students and two fewer assistant professors next year. The History Department will probably not be the only department to be forced to cut back on its teaching staff; Rosovsky has asked every department to maintain its teaching staff costs at the same level as last year's, and to absorb the inflation however it can.
The loss of five teachers in a department as large as History may seem insignificant. The attitudes towards educational priorities that are reflected in this choice, however, are not insignificant. Even though faced with a very grim financial picture, the University's first slice of the axe should not be off teachers' budgets. Budget priorities that allow for a cutback in teaching staff at the same time as a projected increase in the size of undergraduate classes are irresponsible.
In addition, the loss of teaching fellow positions, coming on the heels of the recent tightening of funds for graduate students, can only make the next year for some third and fourth year graduate students a little more financially insecure.
This cutback in teachers would be acceptable only if it were definitely a last resort. And this could only be ascertained if the University did as graduate students have been asking for several years now, and opened up its books to public scrutiny. The university has recently found money for such necessities as flower boxes for the Yard, the refurbishment of Robinson Hall and seemingly innumerable glasses of sherry for seemingly innumerable gatherings. Harvard's earmaking of funds for special purposes, not a real shortage, is apparently the problem.