October 15, 2015

Just a trim

The closing of the Reynold’s Club barbershop raises questions about the University cost-cutting initiative

On April 20 Provost Eric D. Isaacs announced an upcoming set of budget cuts at the University, aimed primarily at administrative services and non-academic departments. In a second announcement on July 26, Isaacs announced that academic units reduced their administrative budgets by an average of two percent and administrative units reduced their budgets by an average of six percent for fiscal year 2016.

“The vast majority of budget cuts related to staff will be accomplished through attrition and elimination of vacant administrative positions, and units are working to limit any layoffs that may be necessary in particular circumstances,” Isaacs wrote in an e-mailing, adding, “We will also communicate to staff in a transparent manner as cost containment initiatives proceed.”

In light of these announcements, the Maroon Editorial Board is troubled by the handling of the closing of the barbershop in the Reynolds Club. When the University announced its budget cuts, it emphasized reviewing administrative costs and positions. These jobs likely cost the University much more than two barbers in the basement of Reynolds club, and the Editorial Board questions the necessity of cuts like these when the University has recently invested $1.5 billion in campus construction and is in the middle of a $4.5 billion capital campaign.

Furthermore, the lack of communication to the staff employed there belies the “transparent manner” Isaacs promised in July. While budget cuts may be necessary, there is no excuse for not communicating the cuts to the people affected by them. 

If the University is serious about the need for large cuts, it should consider the structural organization of administration rather than slashing small programs. In the midst of student concerns surrounding the cutting of low-wage workers along with the University’s budget, the closure of the barbershop certainly doesn’t help.

—The Maroon Editorial Board

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