Dartmouth Gives Details Of Budget Cuts

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(Host) Dartmouth College has announced a series of cuts to close a budget gap of $100 million over the next two years. 

In making the announcement Monday Dartmouth’s President said trustees and administrators have worked to minimize the impact of the cuts on the community. 

VPR’s Steve Zind has more.

(Zind)  As Dartmouth trustees met over the weekend to decide which cuts to make, the  question on everyone’s mind was how many non-faculty staff at the college would be laid off to make up for the budget shortfall. 

Monday, the college announced that 38 people would be laid off this week, and a similar number in April.  Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim said while the cuts are difficult, they represent the smallest number of layoffs possible while still meeting the budget goals. 

(Kim) "We didn’t want to have to solve our problem just by cutting people.  That’s the easy way to do it, frankly the lazy way to do it. We chose not to do it in that way."

(Zind)  Kim says the rest of the shortfall will be made up in several ways:

Dartmouth will increase room, board and tuition for undergraduates by 4.6 percent and by 6 percent for the medical school and the Tuck School of Business.

The college also says it can save $25 million through reorganizing and efficiencies. 

It’s also looking at the benefits package for employees, and expects to announce changes in April.

Kim says despite the tuition increase, the college remains committed to providing free tuition for students from families with incomes below 75 thousand dollars a year.  However, the college is re-instituting a requirement that families with incomes higher than that pay for some tuition in the form of loans.

Kim says while there will be some yet-to-be-determined program cuts, no academic or sports programs will be eliminated. 

He says the college wants to act quickly and make all the cuts by the end of April. 

(Kim) "What we want to do is to get to a point where instead of having to think year after year about more layoffs, about more cuts, we want to get this done so that we can turn our attention to the academic mission and we feel that what we’ve done here will allow us to do just that."

(Zind)  Kim says the layoffs will amount to two percent of the college’s 3400 non-faculty employees. 

In a statement released after the college’s announcement, the union representing some of those workers said the layoffs were ‘preordained’ and part of a hidden agenda to take advantage of the economic crisis. 

Earl Sweet, the president of the union local says when combined with layoffs last year, early retirements and unfilled positions that have been cut, the total number of jobs Dartmouth has eliminated is far higher and will have a serious impact on the economy of the Upper Valley.   

For VPR news, I’m Steve Zind.

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