President Randel and the University administration met with the Board of Trustees over the past two days in a series of committee meetings, discussing various issues ranging from the state of facilities to student healthcare. After the final meeting of the full board, Randel and chairman Jim Crown met with members of the student government and press to discuss the topics addressed at the various committee meetings. Listed below are some of the major developments that were disclosed.
The cost of attending the University will likely increase 5.1 percent next year, which the board approved as the upper level the administration could increase tuition, room and board, healthcare, etc. Although no decision will officially be made until June, Randel implied the administration would ask for the full amount, saying that the actual costs of running the University next year will increase by six percent. "We always hold tuition increases to less than the rate of our costs. The rest is made up through philanthropy and the help of some very generous people," Randel said.
The policy regarding the amount that the endowment pays out to the University budget each year was changed from a fixed 5 percent to a more flexible strategy, allowing the board to adjust the number at its meetings to between 4.5 and 5.5 percent. The new policy accounts for the recent volatility of markets and is designed to foster sustained long-term growth of the endowment. While no decision has been reached regarding the new percentage for this year, administrators speculated that it would likely fall above the current five percent.
As previously reported in the Maroon, the University's capital campaign has reached its halfway point of $1 billion. Randel stressed the importance of continuing this success, but insisted that fundraisers needed to bolster their energy during the second half of the campaign, especially in areas that have not reached their halfway point. The campaign is not one large fund of collective money but rather a series of sub-goals in certain fields such as biological sciences and endowed professorships. Randel said that some of these goalssuch as $150 million for undergraduate financial aidhave not been as successful as others, and therefore need particular attention.
At the facilities committee, administrators discussed both short-term and long-term projects regarding the buildings and property of the University. Parking, a commodity consistently diminishing in Hyde Park, was a major topic of discussion. Also, administrators are considering building a new children's emergency facility next to the nearly complete Children's Hospital, and have even begun to consider replacing the University Hospital proper. Randel said that hospitals have a life of about 30 years, and therefore "we will need a new hospital in our lifetimes, not just [the students'], but, god willing, mine."
-The University has hired 17 new tenured faculty members and promoted an additional 27 current faculty members to tenured status. Steve Klass, vice president and dean of students in the University, said that the numbers were typical and reflect roughly the same amount as last year. The appointments are spread fairly evenly over a wide range of fields, including economics, geophysical sciences, and modern Jewish history.