Last week, the Trenton Times published an article describing budget cuts at Princeton, where the endowment dropped 24% in fiscal year 2009—a significant loss, especially since 48% of Princeton’s operating budget comes from the endowment.
The piece makes a couple of interesting points. For one, while the budget cuts that Princeton has made thus far—closing a dining hall, imposing print quotas on college printers—haven’t significantly affected the student experience there, the cuts are not simply short-term measures. According to Princeton’s provost, they are meant to be permanent. That is, they are signs of the “new normal.”
The article also suggests that students are not following these budget conversations very closely. For instance, only a handful of students showed up at a town meeting that the Princeton administration sponsored to discuss the budget-cutting process. A similar situation has unfolded here. While President Liebowitz has hosted several meetings for students to discuss the economic crisis, few have shown up.
Any thoughts as to why? Or have I already answered my own question by implying—via the Princeton article—that the reductions we have made so far really aren’t worth discussing? Or are we going about this conversation the wrong way?