Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Jeremy R. Knowles urged professors and administrators yesterday to lend their support to unpleasant belt-tightening measures in the face of FAS budget deficits.
Faculty members went over the details of last week's budget letter, in which Knowles outlined the components of the faculty's income and expenses and predicted an $11.7 million deficit for the academic year 1991-92.
Although he suggested that the deficit's scope might require such cost-reducing measures as a limit in size of salary increases, the dean told faculty members that his letter was informational and was not intended to prescribe a definitive course of action.
Knowles so far has shied away from imposing specific requirements on the faculty. Instead, he has said he prefers to discuss the budget with individual colleagues, gathering their input and garnering their assistance in keeping costs down.
President Neil L. Rudenstine endorsed Knowles' approach yesterday, telling faculty members that he prefers to assess alternatives "in a consultative way."
Rudenstine explained that Harvard, unlike other major universities, will not appoint a committee to impose specific financial measures. He said he feels the budget problem is manageable and that faculty members are disciplined enough to take the necessary actions.
"The way we are choosing to go is a deliberate choice, and to some extent, a calculated risk," Rudenstine told faculty members.
"The risk is that we won't manage," he said. "If we don't have a very developed and fierce process, we may kind of slide along thinking that somebody else will take care of it."
In contrast to Harvard, Yale University appointed a committee to review its budget. The committee recently recommended sweeping measures, including the elimination of departments, programs and over 100 faculty positions.
Potential to Grow
Knowles told faculty members yesterday that the most alarming aspect of the $11.7 million FAS deficit is its potential to grow in the future.
Currently, FAS's expenses are increasing faster than its income by more than one half of one percent per year, and that trend is expected to continue, Knowles said.
In the question-and-answer period, some faculty members questioned the wisdom of certain FAS policies given the University's present financial constraints.
Professor of English and American Literature Elaine Scarry asked if fundraising efforts should be continued in light of the resources required to raise money, and the time delay before gifts become available for faculty use.
"I have to question whether we should be trying to raise money," she said.
But Knowles and Rudenstine said it is feasible to devote continued energy to actively raising funds.