Budget Cuts and The New England Review

After announcing the third round of budget cuts a few weeks ago, I received more than 50 e-mails protesting my decision to accept the Budget Oversight Committee’s (BOC) recommendation, slightly amended, that the College reduce support for The New England Review.  Although the BOC proposed that the College cease all financial support of The Review, I elected to give The Review until December 31, 2011 to eliminate its deficit.
I am writing this post to acknowledge the many people who have written to me, and to respond to the concerns they raised in their individual letters.

The message common to virtually every e-mail is not surprising: all who have written point to the great value of The New England Review; the loss of intellectual life that would be felt by its going away; the frailty of literary magazines in general and how none can exist without external support; and how places like Middlebury have some kind of obligation, moral and otherwise, to continue their support of such publications in the name of supporting the arts and intellectual discourse.
I agree fully with the first three items above, but not necessarily the last.  That is why I decided to give The Review an additional two-plus years to consider how it might garner greater financial support beyond the subsidy it now receives from Middlebury College.  Given current financial circumstances, which none of the e-mailers seemed willing to confront, I find asking families who are paying $50,000/year in comprehensive fees to, in effect, subsidize a literary magazine that serves a very small slice of the general population and is known only to a handful of Middlebury students, a very hard sell.  That some e-mails mention how several universities, with far deeper pockets than Middlebury, have closed down literary magazines in better economic times should mean something to those who insist that Middlebury continue to subsidize The New England Review.

I am a fan of The Review, and have been for many years.  But as president of this liberal arts college, I also have a responsibility to the students, faculty, staff, and the generous supporters of the College.  In contrast to the small number of people who have published in the NER or read it regularly, I must consider how our institution will weather the current financial challenges and, first and foremost, preserve what is most central to our students’ education.  Perhaps it is normal to pronounce that “no literary magazine breaks even; all require subsidies,” as many e-mailers claimed.  However, it seems unreasonable, indeed illogical, to expect an undergraduate liberal arts college to provide those subsidies when there is little direct benefit to the students who are covering the costs of operation.  This is not to say The Review is not excellent, valuable, or worth preserving.  It surely is.  It simply cannot continue operating as it has, and my hope is that by increasing subscriptions and sponsorships (gifts), plus exploring whether there are alternatives to the current (and expensive) method of production, it will be able to operate without such a significant subsidy.  I should add that, to my knowledge, not a single individual who has written in protest of the College’s decision has contributed financially to help subsidize The Review.
We are committed to assisting editor and colleague Stephen Donadio find ways to increase revenues and reduce costs so The Review can continue to publish the high quality writing it has for the past thirty years.  And, of course, I am interested in any suggestions you may have for bolstering The Review’s revenues or reducing its operating costs.

I close by providing a link to an article that appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education, just as I was completing this post.  An interesting read, and certainly germane to the issue we are facing with The Review.

UPDATE: I have received e-mails letting me know that at least two individuals have made contributions on behalf of the NER since information about the financial situation became public.  We thank those who have made contributions and hope others will do the same and also become subscribers to the magazine.


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Agreed! Few students aside from mail center employees know what the New England Review is.
On the other hand, we know what NER is because they get like 30 packages a day–supposed contenders for publication. I don’t even read the NER and can already feel its loss.

Deirdre Henderson, parent

Deirdre Henderson, parent’s avatar

As you know, I am in favor of fiercely protecting Midd’s core, which I think is faculty quality, small class size, and stellar individual attention to students. After that, I think everything should be considered to get the college through this difficult financial time. If a crisis is a terrible thing to waste, perhaps being forced to think especially carefully about committing resources is an opportunity. Having said that, I do hope that the NER will find a way to survive. I cannot say that I read it regularly, but like The New Yorker or The New York Review of Books, which I also cannot read all the time, I am awfully glad to know it’s there.

Even before my son enrolled at Midd, the school always seemed to have a unique identity that set it apart: a little gem of a liberal arts college in a serene and beautiful New England location that provides inspiration for areas of special excellence– like writing and environmental studies. At the same time, in the way that rural New England so often supports iconoclasm, Midd has some of the most sophisticated global programs– foreign languages and study abroad–to be found in any American college. The NER has always seemed to me to be a piece of this identity, an important part of Midd’s commitment to supporting writing and literature, and a source of pride.

Having said this, the NER has not done much outreach to the wider Midd community for support. As a parent, I get an envelope once or twice a year stuffed with offers to support one activity or another by purchasing birthday cakes, pumpkins, maybe even laundry service (I can’t remember), but I have never been offered the opportunity to subscribe to or support the NER. The NER is nowhere in evidence at Family Weekend. Nobody has communicated to me (or any other parent) the NER’s importance to Midd’s reputation or Midd’s claim to being a center of excellence in writing. Better marketing may not carry the day for the NER, and I imagine a lot of other measures will be in order, but I hope the NER will consider making its case to the wider community because it is an institution worth saving.

Thank you for responding and sharing your perspective. Definitely institutions — and individuals — across the board are having to tighten their belts. One small point your post makes me wonder about, though…

Many schools do involve their English and/or creative writing students in the process of editing and producing a literary journal, which can be valuable experience for students planning to pursue all kinds of careers — from publishing and journalism to marketing and corporate communications. Since there is currently “little direct benefit to the students who are covering the costs of operation,” why not involve those students and make the journal a learning experience for them — and thereby increase awareness of the journal on your campus as well?

As an English major who now works in marketing (and enjoyed several such journal staff experiences during my school years), I think that would be a nice add to the benefits of a Middlebury education you can market to prospective students.

Best regards,

Matthew Thorburn

Peter Campion

Peter Campion’s avatar

This statement, from the President of one of the best liberal arts colleges in the nation, borders on shocking. The humanities are in peril everywhere in this country. Liberal Arts colleges should be their most vital defenders. At Middlebury you have one of the pre-eminent journals in America, one which routinely publishes Pulitzer Prize Winners and their peers.

For President Liebowitz to mention the cost of tuition (“I find asking families who are paying $50,000/year in comprehensive fees to, in effect, subsidize a literary magazine that serves a very small slice of the general population and is known only to a handful of Middlebury students, a very hard sell.”) is disingenuous at best.

I mean, what if you replaced “literary magazine” with “Division III men and women’s golf and squash teams” or “Rikert Skiing Center.” Surely the literary magazine is much closer to the mission of a liberal arts college. That it may have less day to day involvement with the Middlebury experience is not the fault of the magazine or its editors but rather of the administration, which has evidently failed to incorporate it into curriculum and extra-curricular activites.

That President Liebowitz uses language like “hard sell” is very telling: the skiing center and the squash team are of course not “hard sells.” But you are the President of an academic institution and not the mayor of a resort town.


Peter Campion
Literary Imagination
Oxford University Press

Thank you for responding and sharing your perspective. Definitely institutions — and individuals — across the board are having to tighten their belts. One small point your post makes me wonder about, though…

Many schools do involve their English and/or creative writing students in the process of editing and producing a literary journal, which can be valuable experience for students planning to pursue all kinds of careers — from publishing and journalism to marketing and corporate communications. Since there is currently “little direct benefit to the students who are covering the costs of operation,” why not involve those students and make the journal a learning experience for them — and thereby increase awareness of the journal on your campus as well?

As an English major who now works in marketing (and enjoyed several such journal staff experiences during my school years), I think that would be a nice add to the benefits of a Middlebury education you can market to prospective students.

The New England Review has helped to shape my development as a poet. It has been there to shape influence and style over two generations of writer’s and readers in New England and beyond, and its literary thinking was essential in the development of The Robert Frost Place and many other literary centers. It certainly was at the core of my own development of The Poets’ House in Ireland and its poets at the heart of my own work.

Janice Fitzpatrick Simmons

I second Matthew Thorburn’s suggestion. I propose that literary magazines are of value to a college institution with creative writing students – especially if those students are allowed to volunteer, intern, work with the physical printing or distribution of the magazine, or otherwise be involved with the making of a literary magazine. Allowing creative writing students to participate in this way with the larger literary culture is an absolute benefit and exposes them to the world of literary publishing.
It’s disappointing to see a university that will not support its own literary journal, which not only has the practical advantage of being of use to its students but also brings a certain amount of prestige to the college and the department it belongs to.

Jeneva Burroughs Stone

Jeneva Burroughs Stone’s avatar

Dear President Liebowitz,

I’ve read your post with great respect and interest, and have been following the debate over NER as closely as I can.

As an alum (class of ’86), a decade-long subscriber to NER, and someone who has tried to give as regularly to the College’s general fund as I can, I do take offense and issue with some of your remarks.

First of all, NER is a part of the history of the College. My mentor at Midd, Sydney Lea, was one of the founders of what was, at that time, NER/BLQ (Bread Loaf Quarterly). As such, the journal has been linked to the Writers’ Conference, which, I would argue, is part of the College’s identity and contribution to American literature.

I sense that there is some resentment among the current student and parent community toward what is perceived as NER’s isolation or standoffishness. As an alum who feels deeply connected to the literary community now and for whom Midd’s literary community was the most significant part of my undergraduate experience, that causes me a great deal of concern.

When a College is the effective trustee of a literary community, shouldn’t the College take an active role in shaping and nurturing that community? Apparently, a rift among the partners in this community has emerged, which is very sad.

Second, I don’t find your comparison with LSU’s decision to be all that germane to the discussion. LSU is a public university and, as such, is subject to different budgetary constraints, as much of its operating budget is drawn from state funds. All states have had difficulty with higher ed funding over the last 20 years, due to fluctuating and/or declining tax revenue, and states are facing even more difficult decisions now.

Middlebury is a private college, and it has been participating in what higher ed analysts refer to as the admissions arms race for quite some time. This arms race has caused private colleges and universities to sink extraordinary sums of money into student amenities and new construction. These are the sorts of things that drive up the cost of higher education for everyone. The College provides aid to subsidize the net price for those who can’t afford it and covers much of its cost by billing those who can. I work as an editor for a prominent higher education organization, and I’ve been following these issues for a decade.

While current students may see these amenities as justifying a high price tag, a case can certainly be made that the amenities and fixed costs of buildings have actually made the price tag higher than necessary (and there have been Chronicle and Inside Higher Ed articles about that, too). When I entered Midd in the fall of 1983, the comprehensive fee was about $11,000. I had to share a room, we didn’t have a gourmet chef for the dining halls, and the buildings were in excellent condition but not all new. The education I received was outstanding.

I don’t want to get too far off topic–as an alum, I’ve been greatly concerned over the last few years that Midd’s over-investment in fixed costs would result in a situation in which the teaching, humanitarian, and arts missions of the College might be jeopardized. I see that that moment has now arrived.

I am very grateful that you are doing what you can to give NER a chance to regroup and think through the problem. I wish that you would do more to engage the current student and alumni bodies in the reasons for NER’s importance. NER should probably serve as a student resource of some sort–it offers fantastic internship opportunities in editing and other literary professions. At the national level, publishing and creative communities are undergoing significant and irreversible change, but this should not mean that we should turn our backs on them. Isn’t there some way to engage the human resources of the College (if not the financial) in figuring out the paradigm shift necessary for NER to survive in some form?

I would be more than happy to donate my time to such an effort, if alumni input is wanted and needed. I feel a real commitment to both NER and to the College. I am always proud to introduce myself as a Midd graduate, anywhere, at any time.

I appreciate your taking the time to respond to the concern, and I would appreciate your taking the time to consider and — if possible — to respond to three further inquiries suggested by this line of explanation.

(1) Is “direct benefit to students” defined solely by what students consume or might choose to consume? I thought part of a university’s or college’s mission was to maintain and proffer ideas and experiences that, without the educational framework of the institution, students probably wouldn’t choose to consume. I worry that if we adopt a consumer model for everything an institution of learning does, we’ll end up only offering students what they already know.

(2) If “benefit” can be understood a bit more broadly, and we can say that, to the extent students benefit from having excellent teachers, and to the extent that excellence in academia is determined (in part) through a record of publication, doesn’t ever institution of higher learning have a responsibility to maintain the health of the publishing venues and avenues it requires to credential its own faculty. This, I believe, is what’s suggested by a “moral” obligation. As much as I’d like to say that literature is “good” in some fundamental way, this seems to me much more of an ecological issue.

(3) Finally, if Middlebury does cease support for NER, will Middlebury revise its standards for reappointment, tenure, and merit review to reflect a reduced requirement for publication, given the college’s reduction in support for the system of outlets publishing quota require, perforce?

I graduated this May from Middlebury, and as a recent student and participant in the New England Review, it seems there are a few matters that ought to be cleared up in this discussion.

NER has interns, and has had them since 2006. It offers two internships per semester, two for-credit internships in the winter term and, currently, a summer intern.

I interned for the NER this past semester. My internship was an incredibly valuable and utterly unique experience. I read actual batches of submissions and participated in the selection process with Managing Editor Carolyn Kuebler; I copyedited pieces that have since been published; Carolyn taught me the basics of InDesign, which I have already put to use. I am in the process of starting a short fiction quarterly, a project I worked on this semester in Middlebury’s Old Stone Mill student workspace. I don’t know where I would be without the help, advice, and expertise of Carolyn Kuebler and Professor Donadio, who both worked with me toward fulfilling my publishing ambitions.

I am certainly not the only student at Middlebury with a profound and vested interest in publishing. For two years Managing Editor Carolyn Kuebler taught a class on “Literary Magazine Publishing” during the winter term, a popular class among students who want to publish but, like me, have no idea where to start.

The New England Review’s value as a literary institution cannot be understated. However, in this case, its value for students lies in its capacity to teach. NER has opened up the world of publishing and continues to provide hands-on editing, design, and reading experience to undergraduate students who believe that print media has a future–and that Middlebury graduates might just be it.

Thanks very much for your time.

Jennifer Shapland
Class of 2009

I appreciate you taking the time to respond to the pleas for reconsideration.
Obviously, there are financial pressures that Middlebury is experiencing. I recognize that fact. But I also recognize that in moments of crisis, the least protected are the most vulnerable. Perhaps, Middlebury can see themselves as a protector as opposed to an inquisitor that asks every unit to justify its existence. Your institution is not alone in this matter, but that doesn’t mean Midd should follow the example of others.

Some points.

1. I’ll send a check to NER in the fall. We who make very little tend to write a lot of small checks that don’t add up. If they did, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

2. A lack of direct benefit to current students? Well, that defies most fundraising practices, curriculum changes and strategic planning. Still, is this true?

There seems to be an opportunity for imaginative programming. Besides the editing opportunities, perhaps first year seminars or introductory literature courses can use NER as a text. More rolls for Midd students in the marketing and designing of NER. Can’t a Business class and Development take NER as a case study or project for non-profit fundraising? Shouldn’t copies of NER be sent to prospective Creative Writing students, generous givers, alumni?

These are some thoughts. For Middlebury’s sake, I hope that this issue resolves itself. NER helps Middlebury distinguish itself from other institutions of similar kind and caliber.


James Hoch

It is good to see this support for the NER, but the comments here do not sufficiently acknowledge the economic conditions that brought us to this state, or the responsibility that an institution, public or private, has towards its core enterprise and supporters. Middlebury’s endowment and gift income are down significantly and, like all other colleges and universities, we have been pushed to review and prioritize our programs, and then make significant cuts according to what, first and foremost, best serves our students. And we are not alone. Colleges and universities across the country are making similarly hard choices as they struggle with these new fiscal realities. Take a look at Harvard’s situation. The wealthiest university in the world had committed to an extensive building project in Alston, and in fact had begun construction, and now has pulled back from that work. Half-built facilities remain unfinished, and local residents and business owners—hoping for an economic resurgence in Alston—feel betrayed. But Harvard, like so many other colleges and universities, is protecting its core. This is why the Chronicle story about the LSU Press is germane. Although LSU Press is an important and valued outlet for scholarly work, the university’s primary mission—as the chancellor notes—is to educate students. Therefore the university cannot guarantee future support for the Press.

The same could be said about the NER. For all its strengths, and apart from internships it offers a tiny portion of Middlebury undergraduates, the journal does not directly serve the educational needs of students. One comment above implies that support for the NER should trump support for the College’s ski center. For the literary world, that might make sense, but keep in mind that more than half the students at Middlebury ski. It’s also worth noting that the greatest pressure to maintain our ski facilities would likely come from faculty and staff, who see these resources as a critical part of the larger Middlebury community—town and gown—as well as an important outlet for students. After all, the College is located in rural Vermont, not metropolitan New York or Boston, and so the off-campus extracurricular activities are more limited. I also should note that our ski facilities, like the Review, have been given a timeline to reduce the institution’s subsidy to them.

Nor does the NER provide the vehicle for career advancement that Mr. York suggests it does. The journal is not peer reviewed—the gold standard in scholarly publishing—which limits the value that tenure committees place on the articles published there. Of the 25-30 Middlebury associated faculty who have written for the NER, few, if any, were untenured at the time they published in the journal, and few view the magazine as a vehicle for advancing their tenure cases.

In times like this, when universities and colleges are being forced to examine their own business models, it is not enough to assert the cultural value of entities like NER and assume that they should get the same institutional support they’ve received in the past. During the last eight months those assumptions have been turned upside down, and the NER, with help from the Middlebury administration, must now look for creative ways to fund the journal’s operation. Supporters of the journal would be smart to help in this effort, rather than simply protesting its possible demise.

Tim Spears
Acting Provost

Mr. Spears,

Let me first thank you for responding to some of the discussion here.

Let me, second, acknowledge the difficult economic situation we’re all in. In Colorado, where I teach, we’re facing a historical and potentially devastating budget shortfall, and it’s possible that state support of higher education will fall to zero in the coming fiscal year, at a time when our own endowments, small as they were, have fallen off the same cliff as Middlebury’s — and we are prevented by state law from raising tuition. So, you’re not alone in this.

Third, let me state that “protesting [NER’s] possible demise” and “help[ing] in this effort” are not mutually exclusive. I have made a financial contribution to NER to help mitigate, in my own small way, the burden on Middelbury. This should neither preclude my engaging in discussion about the framework of the decision or the ongoing discussion nor be the condition of entering into this dialogue.

Given financial exigency, it’s still surprising to me to read so many administrators actively reducing the circle of a university of college’s mission. A university’s core mission is the preservation, refinement, extension, and transmission of knowledge. Enrolled students are one of the populations the university or college serves in this right. Universities and colleges also have profound impacts — social, intellectual, and economic — on their surrounding local, metro, state, regional, and national communities. We foster discussion, and we shepherd it, and not only in a one-to-one exchange. We protect and clean the lines of transmission, as well, whether in a peer-reviewed enterprise or in the literary journal, like NER.

While it is technically accurate to say that NER is not peer-reviewed, it shows, I believe, a misunderstanding of the position NER holds in the United States and of how it is edited. While the poetry editor, for example, may not find another set of poets to review a submission, that editor is, in the case of NER, one of the foremost poets in the United States and, if not a peer, only because he’s better than most of us. What NER doesn’t do, as far as I know, is a blind peer review. In that, NER follows a long editorial tradition that is respected by a good many people in this country.

And while Middlebury’s faculty may not “view the magazine as a vehicle for advancing their tenure cases,” I would hope this is due to potential conflicts of interest and not because MC faculty view the journal as insignificant. A publication in NER played a significant role in a tenure case at my own institution — and while that may signal that the University of Colorado at Denver is somehow less discerning than Middlebury, I believe instead it reflects the excellence of NER.

Even so, I understand a university has to make some tough decisions, and it is a testament to your reasonableness that you’ve given NER some time to create a new foundation.

And even so, I find the notion that a university’s core mission should not include contributing to the flow of information and creative endeavor as frightening as it is historically unjustified.

Mr. York,

You express concern that Middlebury, along with other colleges and universities, may be reducing its core commitment in order to navigate this economic downturn. But let’s be specific about Middlebury’s support of literary studies, or more specifically creative writing, since that is what is at issue here. We have a thriving creative writing program in our English and American Literatures dept, to which we have added a Robert Frost fellow (in poetry) this year (hiring, when other colleges chose not to). For six weeks during the summer, we operate the Bread Loaf English program up on the mountain in Ripton and at satellite campuses in other parts of the world. Then later in the summer, we hold the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, a program completely dedicated to creative writing. We have no plans to cut back on these programs, all of which foster literary culture on both local and national levels. This is a significant institutional commitment, and to suggest that we have pulled back on our support of literary culture, or the transmission of knowledge related to literature, is to ignore the larger picture.

Historically speaking, the role of the NER as a publishing outlet for poets and fiction writers also merits some consideration. It wasn’t that long ago–let’s say 75 years–that writers found their audiences through literary journals that had nothing to do with colleges and universities. After WWII, however, that began to change, as colleges and universities became the center of literary culture, novelists and poets made their living as professors, and the teaching of creative became a professional endeavor. Whether good or bad, this shift was symptomatic of the changing role of literature in American culture. And I would say that the concerns raised here about the fate of the NER are related to this shift. If Middlebury does not support the NER, and the journal falls by the wayside, then where will serious writers publish? This is an important question, and forms the backdrop for most of the letters of concern that we have received about the NER, almost all of them, by the way, from writers and contributors to the journal. But as important as this question is, the answer cannot be that Middlebury College is obliged to support the NER in perpetuity. Ultimately, the problem requires a discussion and solution that extend well beyond the boundaries of Middlebury College.

Mr. Spears,

I appreciate your specifying Middlebury’s commitment support of literary studies, and, in particular, creative writing. Your college has long led the way in both areas, through the Bread Loaf program, and through other vehicles, which is what makes the specter of cuts to the New England Review [NER] so troubling: such cuts are out of sync with Middlebury’s other commitments, as they are visible from the outside.

I appreciate, too, your willingness to articulate your thinking, and MC’s thinking in the present concern.

But I think, even in your present argument, you fail to acknowledge two crucial factors.

First, NER creates a tangible and indexible record of the transmission of literary and cultural knowledge. Bread Loaf is indeed a singular contribution to the literary culture of the United States, but without a written or printed auxiliary, its benefits obtain to those in attendance: the literary journal transmits these benefits beyond the ken of a geography.

Second, while you may circumscribe the university-affiliated literary journal to post-WWII radius, you fail to acknowledge that (1), in the United States, the literary journal is the first form of BOUND and SOCIAL publication, after the sermon, the legal proclamation, and the newspaper, to circulate in this country — a form I believe we all must support. You are correct that “the problem requires a discussion and solution that extend well beyond the boundaries of Middelbury College,” but this shouldn’t mea that the discussion and solution should arrive beyond the boundaries of MC: you, too, are implicated in the solution, and what is unclear to those on the outside is what, beyond the envelope of opportunity, is MC’s commitment to a historically significant form of publication.

It has become fashionable to tie the literary journal to the rise of formalized Creative Writing programs, but this association ignores the longer ground and practice in American culture, stretching back to the Federal period, with the “United States Magazine and Democratic Review,” where the political future of the United States was considered part and parcel of its literary future.

While it is true that the literary review, successor to the Democratic Review, has become a creature of the university in the twentieth century (interestingly, almost coincidental with the rise of the American university), and while a historical framing of this situation may make university support context-specific and open for review, I and many others believe that the definition of the contextual boundaries must be carefully made, and so far, no statement I’ve seen from MC recognizes the real history of the literary journal in America. Sure, this predates MC’s involvement, and perhaps that offers a pass, but if, in the broader public dialogue—which you invite in comparing your situation to that of other colleges, universities, and communities—you wish others to follow your argument and logic, you must also parse this broader history.

This broader history does indeed include the more recent revelations that “literature” as defined by various surveys, may be the interest of a rather small percentage of the population, and if this is where you wish to make your decision, one can understand, but a re-reading of American literary history must not be endorsed here, either as an apologia for MC’s actions or for those of any other institution.

This is what concerns me more broadly: while the circumstance of one journal might seem clear in an institutional context, the reduction of support, fiscal or rhetorical, immediately offers the terms of a reduction of support in another quarter. While your terms may seem reasonable for MC, in the broader, national context, and the even broader historical context, these terms are not justified.

Even if you can cut away literature — which will survive, by the way — the reduced definition of the university’s work will ultimately result in the university’s irrelevance, whereby a more powerful strata can cut away higher education even as your arguments seem to assume the ultimate dissociation of NER.

Maybe you can take this ongoing dialogue as unique and worthy as I am not a contributing writer to NER but, rather, someone who would enjoy the opportunity to continue reading NER and other similar journals, and as one who would like to continue looking up to Middlebury College for reasons that may escape him from time to time.

“This is what concerns me more broadly: while the circumstance of one journal might seem clear in an institutional context, the reduction of support, fiscal or rhetorical, immediately offers the terms of a reduction of support in another quarter. While your terms may seem reasonable for MC, in the broader, national context, and the even broader historical context, these terms are not justified.”

Mr. York: your definition of what is reasonable or justified makes no sense in a world where resources are limited. The world and institutions of higher education do not function on fiction (or poetry), unfortunately, but require funding, and that funding must first and foremost support students.

In short, Middlebury’s support of the New England Review must be relative. It cannot be absolute.

Peter Campion

Peter Campion’s avatar

The last time Middlebury was in the news was also in relation to its neglect of literary monuments. I mean the incident at the Frost House in Ripton, where the great poet’s house, left vacant (and ramshackle) by the college was put to questionable, as well as scatalogical, use by some local teens.

So it seems that Middlebury has not only a financial problem but also a p.r. problem when it comes to stewardship of the arts.

Your response to the comparison between the literary and the lesisurely activities at a college sounds silly to me: “You can pry our skis and golf-clubs from our cold, preppy hands.” Some, if not all, of your mission is not only to cater to the activities of your community but to instruct them in what those might be. You’re a liberal arts college, for goodness’ sake.

A friend of mine who graduated from Middlebury in the early nineties once told me, with some sheepishness, that the main activity he enjoyed at that college was freebasing coke and then roller-blading around the hills. As someone who attended a northeastern private college himself, and who has taught at a couple of them, I wasn’t at all surprised: liberal arts colleges are often at risk of seeming big crash pads for a leisure class gone rancid.

Certainly, that must sound hyperbolic, and I’m sure that student was not wholly representative. But we’re talking about p.r. here, and in this economy when parents are warming to state schools it’s important for liberal arts colleges to be able to sell themselves as something more than extensions of prep schools.

And in fact, don’t you indeed have a p.r. opportunity here? Surely someone must have thought of what a p.r. boon it would be simply to change the journal’s name to the Middlebury Review. It’s no accident that Kenyon College has long been known as a mecca for literature, and has graduated so many fine authors: they came for the Kenyon Review. People (including donors) who know little else about the college make that connection.

Peter Campion

Mr. Liebowitz, you write that “to my knowledge, not a single individual who has written in protest of the College’s decision has contributed financially to help subsidize The Review.” I wrote you to protest the College’s decision, and at the same time I sent a check to NER for a subscription. A friend of mine did the same. I’m not sure it’s reasonable for you to expect poets and fiction writers to be writing deal-changing checks to save NER. We do what we can, and I hope in fact to do more for NER. Most writers are happy if they just can make enough to afford health insurance. That’s exactly why institutions willing to support the literary arts are so important.

Pamela Erens

Mr. Campion: what a non-productive post. Can’t you do better as a distinguished poet?

Middlebury contributes more to the arts and culture of this country than any school of its size. Are you that irgnorant? The Bread Loaf School of English alone, the largest graduate literature program in the country, educates more secondary school literature and creative writing teachers than any other. Those graduates’ impact across the country has been spectacular. The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the first of its kind and oldest, has been the crucible for great and developing writers for 9 decades. You should know this, or at least recognize this. These contributions can’t be denied or cheapened with ill-informed commentary.

I suppose the friend you mention (who recalled free-basing as the most enjoyable aspect of his undergraduate experience at Middlebury) speaks more about you and who your friends are than about Middlebury: should we all extrapolate from the steroid-popping “student athletes” at your institution to declare all Auburn students act the same? Good grief.

Take the issues as they have been presented by the provost of Middlebury: unfortunately this is about dollars and how to spend them to support the students at the College to which they pay tuition dollars.

As for P.R. — the overwhelming response from the Frost cabin, which was hardly left “ramshackle,” was supportive and positive. What press do you read? The College has preserved that cabing and used it every summer for a distinguished poet (from Princeton) to use as his residence while teaching at Bread Loaf.

Nobody is arguing about the value of the NER; you, however, have blabbered on about P.R. and the need for liberal arts colleges to “sell themselves.” With 7000 applications two years running, and accpetance rates of 20% or less, that does not seem to be Middlebury’s problem. How about addressing the arguments surrounding the justification for a liberal arts college to subsidize a magazine that has no connection to the curriculum or institution? Changing the name does not alter that.

Let’s get beyond your own special interests and place the students at the center as the provost (and the president) must. Keep the NER, but reduce the large subsidy it represents, which takes away from financial aid, faculty positions, and all other general and more crucial operating needs of a liberal arts college, especially in these times.

I’ve done my best to stay out of the fray here, but I can’t hold my tongue any longer. These abstract arguments about the relative place of journals and academic courses and skiing programs and the Frost cabin and rollerblading after freebasing are well and good, but we’re dealing with a specific situation here. And it’s been forgotten.

Yes, after long-time office manager Toni Best retires, NER will still employ Stephen Donadio as its editor and Carolyn Kuebler as its managing editor. That’s two staff members. Staffing those positions has been presented as a drag on the university, because (as Lloyd above states) it “takes away from… faculty positions.” In point of fact, Stephen Donadio directs the literary studies program at Middlebury. In a typical semester, he teaches a literature course, guides an independent study course or two, and directs honors theses. This fall he will be teaching the epic tradition, in which students will read Homer, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Proust, Mann, and Joyce. (That’s right—THE ODYSSEY to ULYSSES in one term.) By contrast, American Studies professors Tim Spears (above, provost and a member of the budget committee) and Jason Mittell, one of the more vocal advocates for eliminating NER, will be teaching courses on the history of college football and HBO’s TV show THE WIRE. Spears is writing a book about football, and Mittell has published a book about THE WIRE and THE SIMPSONS (among other TV shows). I love college football and THE WIRE and THE SIMPSONS more than anyone—believe me, I do—but if we’re going to talk about making tough choices, let’s know what we’re talking about. Are we talking about a literary journal versus classroom instruction? Or are we really talking about Homer versus Homer Simpson?

Also, Carolyn Kuebler teaches a winter term course in Literary Magazine Publishing and directs the student interns. Last winter, the classroom course had fourteen students enrolled (two over limit) and the internship program offered instruction to six students—two per term. That’s twenty students under Kuebler’s instruction in a year. Donadio in an average year teaches twice that number. So the editors of NER can hardly be said to be operating outside the education of Middlebury’s students. In fact, in an average year they directly instruct 60 students—exactly 2.5% of the college’s study body. The combined rosters of Middlebury’s basketball team, to take just one example, is only 28 students. Yet, the college employees a combined seven coaches for the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

The only remaining objection to NER, then, must be the actual cost of operating the journal—the author payments, design, printing, and distribution. As editor of the VIRGINIA QUARTERLY REVIEW, I know a little something about these costs. I don’t know the specifics of NER budget, but I can estimate that printing and shipping a press run of 2000 copies and making author payments (at NER’s $20 per page rate) would tally to somewhere between $75,000 and $100,000 per year. For the sake of argument, let’s estimate on the high side. A subscription to NER is $30 for one year, $50 for two—an average of $27.50. Let’s suppose that a high percentage of NER’s subscriptions are actually giveaways—past contributors, exchanges with other journals. Even if only 1500 subscriptions are paid, that’s still more than $40,000 in generated income.

So what are we really talking about here—maybe $60,000 per year? Again, what’s the annual overhead for the basketball team (remembering that it serves half as many students as NER’s editors and demands more than three times as many employees)? This isn’t a decision based on the number of students served or maximizing scant resources. So what is it really about?

Ryan Tauriainen

Ryan Tauriainen’s avatar

President Liebowitz,

You once told me that the hardest thing about being president of a college is you have eight different groups of people who continuously want to be pleased, but never can be all at once: students, faculty, staff, parents, alums, trustees, prospective students, and community members. You can’t please all of them at once, and sometimes you have to make tough decisions in order to do what is best for most of them in the long run.

Personally, I think you made a compromise that was in the best interest of the college on the whole. We simply must be thoughtful with the budget and the spending. I currently work at an under resourced (Title 1) school in Hawaii through the Teach For America organization. My school’s principal constantly has to make cuts (as Hawaii continues to cut the Department of Education’s funding). Sometimes this means having to cut activities or programs that are rewarding, artistic, and completely valid…just not of the most importance in the long run. They are important, but nevertheless, expendable. I am a huge proponent for the Arts and even this literary magazine. Nevertheless, I agree with your decision.

You did not make the cut immediately take effect; you awarded time. I think there is some solace in that fact. As a 2008 alum, I agree with this decision.

Ryan Tauriainen, 2008

Mr. Genoways: where do you get your data? Professor Donadio does not teach 40 students/year, and has not taught the load you describe for years — maybe 10 years, going back to before he was part of the College’s commons system.

But that is not the point, really, as Professor Donadio would be contributing MORE than he is no, in all the good ways you suggest, if he did not have the Review to manage, right? But that is not the point, either, for the president (and many others) seem to want to keep the Review, but simply find ways to have it pay more for itself.

The “deficit” or “subsidy” as reported on other blogs and venues is around $250,000 when you consider the cost of Professor Donadio’s release time and staff salaries. I don’t believe that number includes other overhead costs to the institution (space, etc.). May not seem like much, but it is around 8 average financial aid grants (avg grant is around $33,000)/year, or 3 faculty positions (starting asst professors)/year.

Nobody is arguing, I think, that the NER is not good. Most believe it is in fact excellent. It is about what is most directly supporting students, not whether the subsidy is this large or that. It is a subsidy at a time when resources are far more scant. And, as an alum, I must say, Mr. Genoways is going down the wrong by suggesting the basketball team is a better “cut” than the NER. Perhaps other alums or current Middlebury students might offer their perspectives.

Lloyd, ’99.

Peter Campion

Peter Campion’s avatar

I’m sorry, Lloyd, if my cyber-hemming hath offended. I hope that all is mended. And am glad for your school spirit.

I like to talk about drugs and extreme sports and women giving birth to snakes and stuff, because that’s just my nature. I try to be outrageous in argument, because my life is pious and chaste.

But I think I’ll bow out now. When it comes to retailing people’s budgets and work loads and course releases, and ideological battles within departments, I don’t think the argument is a healthy one. (Though the argument seems in the end to be same as mine, except with basketball replacing skiing and golf… and rollerblading nowhere to be found!)

Anyhow, I hope the best for NER and have just gotten another subscription as a gift. Having made that small investment, I hope it pays off.


While I do not want to get into a fight with Ted Genoways, who twice now has decided to attack me and my discipline for no apparent reason than belittling that which he doesn’t respect, I want to correct his characterization of me as a “vocal advocate for eliminating NER.” I have said to anyone who asked and written in online threads that I hope NER finds a way to adapt to the dual crises of finances and academic publishing and survive. But I am an advocate for the college finding ways to reduce funding to auxiliary projects and programs that will allow the core academic mission of educating undergraduates to be sustained. I hope he can dedicate some of the energy he has expended on attacking me and defending a publishing/funding model that is no longer tenable, toward generating innovative solutions to the complicated problems facing NER and other journals.

And I’m sorry, I do not believe that he loves The Wire and The Simpsons more than anyone…

First, a few facts. In another venue, Jason Mittell described NER as “a niche journal” that “draw[s] away resources from undergraduate education.” I’m simply pointing out that NER’s subscriber base of 2,000 is greater than any academic journal that Professor Mittell has ever published in and that, in fact, the editors of NER contribute to the education of Middlebury undergraduates. Furthermore, NER’s editor Stephen Donadio offers courses in which students read Homer and Tolstoy and Proust; Jason Mittell offers courses in which the students watch TV shows. I’ve said before and will say again: I think it is ill considered for a professor who teaches courses on television to be too vocal in calls for tight adherence to “the core academic mission of educating undergraduates.” American studies programs–and countless other relatively new academic disciplines–are a product of the same mid-century movement that produced university presses and academic journals. This is not an attack; it’s a statement of facts.

Second, I regularly consult, free of charge, with journals and magazines that are looking for ways to cut costs, improve circulation, broaden their web presence, streamline their office procedures, etc. I’ve always regarded my place at a public university as one that demands collegiality and a spirit of cooperation. I don’t consider NER a competitor with VQR. I consider it a partner in the effort to develop a literate and informed readership. I come to Middlebury every August to meet individually with students at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and teach courses in magazine writing. (I come in exchange for my travel expenses.) I try to time my visit each year in order to join a panel presentation with the editors of NER and to coincide with NER’s annual dinner for past contributors–as I’ve published three times in the journal. I’m glad to meet for any length of time to discuss literary journal publication with anyone who cares to listen. But, for all the rhetoric about seeking the best advice for buoying NER, I have not heard from anyone at Middlebury College–not President Liebowitz, not Dean Spears, not Professor Mittell–and neither have any of my fellow editors with whom I’m in regular contact.

To say publicly that you want to save NER, without making a good faith effort, is dishonest. You make it look like you’re doing one thing, when you’re really doing another. It’s called juking the stats. Making cuts into reductions, making layoffs into consolidations. You juke the stats, and deans become presidents. I’ve been here before, Professor Mittell. Wherever you go, there you are.

As founder and for thirteen years editor of the magazine in question, I am of course crestfallen to think of its extinction (because, make no mistake, that’s what the elimination of subsidy will mean, as it would to any arts organization of comparable value). I should point out, however, that that extinction is not a slam dunk, however Mr. Leibowitz and his cronies may behave. The incumbent president may not know as much, but the contract his predecessor signed with me when I brought NER to the college stipulates that in the event of Middlebury’s cessation of support, the magazine, complete with archive, reverts to me. (Trust me, pres, my wife teaches contract law.) And I will indeed take the magazine back if it comes to that; I will not edit it myself (too much work for a fellow pushing seventy) but have already made inquiries into other staff and other support. It will surely be Middlebury’s loss, and I say so not to pat myself on the back as originator but to vouch for Steve Donadio’s able stewardship.

current student

current student’s avatar

Mr. Lea: I have worked two work-study jobs at Middlebury during the past two academic years, and heard about your rather infantile behavior at the time you moved on from the NER. Perhaps the chief crony, as you call him, President Liebowitz (that is Liebowitz, by the way) knows of this as well and will choose to make that public along with the agreement you allude to and which your wife will defend to the end!

Few who have commented on this blog have done much to help the magazine, or to recognize that “free rides” are a thing of the past. In case you have limited yourself to the arts sections of the NYT, there is a “new normal” out there, and places like Middlebury need to pare down what they are doing — be it subsidizing magazines or fielding varsity sports teams. Harvard has stopped the development of an entire new multi-billion dollar campus. Those cronies in Cambridge! How could they? But that is reality. You, Mr. Lea, fail to see that, and resort to calling a person names who must deal with real deficits while, at the same time, crying out for the continued subsidies you call essential for survival. Time to think about the new normal. Time to grow up.

Ronald Liebowitz

Ronald Liebowitz’s avatar

Mr. Genoways: I thank you for coming each year to NER’s annual dinner and doing all you do for the Writers’ Conference and its students, but I must respond to two parts of your last post:

“To say publicly that you want to save NER, without making a good faith effort, is dishonest. You make it look like you’re doing one thing, when you’re really doing another.”

And: “But, for all the rhetoric about seeking the best advice for buoying NER, I have not heard from anyone at Middlebury College–not President Liebowitz, not Dean Spears, not Professor Mittell–and neither have any of my fellow editors with whom I’m in regular contact.”

First, your accusation that we are being dishonest—that we are doing nothing but claiming otherwise—is quite a charge when you base this observation, it seems, solely on whether or not you and those with whom you are in regular contact have been approached for advice. Others in the field have indeed been asked to share their expertise, and the College is devoting a significant article in our alumni magazine (a publication run of 45,000) to publicize and elicit financial and other support for the NER.

And second: I assume, based on your offer to assist the NER, that your journal (VQR) is self-supporting, even though I have received many letters saying it was “illogical” and “unfair” to believe a literary journal could survive without a subsidy these days (implied, most recently, in Mr. Lea’s post). If that is the case—that the VQR operates without a subsidy—I am sure our NER staff will benefit greatly from your advice. But please don’t stand on ceremony: send your advice to Stephen Donadio or provost Tim Spears as soon as you can. You surely don’t need to a call from a senior administrator to provide your assistance to help a magazine you so admire.


President Liebowitz,

It’s an honor to hear from you. I didn’t try to contact you directly, because you never responded to the scores of NER contributors who wrote to you with their concerns—apart from the above blog post. But, now that we’re in contact, let me answer your queries.

It’s not just literary journals that are unprofitable. There’s not a publication in the country operating in the black right now—not PLAYBOY, not PEOPLE. Intellectual magazines like HARPER’S or THE ATLANTIC lose millions of dollars per year. And don’t be taken in by discussion of the brave new world of online publishing. The web is a remarkable and vital tool, but web publications are currently losing money at a far faster rate than print publications—that is, if you want anyone to read them, which I assume you do.

So, no, I don’t have any magical solutions, but I do have some ideas—and when I say that I would gladly offer advice, I do mean it. If you’ll authorize opening NER’s books, I may be able to suggest ways to cut costs, without compromising quality or eliminating staff. This advice, by the way, is a result of the luxury VQR enjoys at the University of Virginia; we’ve had the resources to be able to develop streamlined office methods and refine direct mail marketing, and so on. This knowledge was costly to acquire, but we would share it freely. Even so, it’s unlikely these cost savings will bring the publication into the black, but every dollar saved is as good as a dollar earned.

I’m glad, too, to hear that you’re in touch with the editors of other university-based literary journals. I’d be curious, of course, to know who you’ve spoken to. If you haven’t already talked to the editors of KENYON REVIEW and the senior administration of Kenyon College, I would strongly suggest that you do so. It was not so many years ago that Kenyon was at a similar crossroads. Rather than choosing to shudder KR, the college instead made it a fund-raising priority and has since built an endowment in excess of $2 million dollars. David Lynn would be in a better position to explain that process.

But I mean what I say: If you’re serious about trying to save NER—and not just letting it die a slow death—then I’m eager to do anything I can to help.

You’ve got my e-mail address. Drop me a note with a good time to call. Or, better yet, call me at 434-924-3124.

Ted Genoways

I want to ask exactly what Ted Genoways asked: How much are we talking about here?

If the sum is small, then it doesn’t save much for the college, and perhaps Middlebury ought to look at aspects of the college that demand more significant resources. Stop avoiding the sacred cows because they are not sacred. They are just political and professional suicide.

If the sum is great, then perhaps there is a way for re-organizing. You are doing something wrong.

Either way, I think that there are solutions and creative ways to keep NER and address the criticisms.

The sadness here is the lack of sincerity. When someone says “I hope they can find a way to survive” I think what they are really saying is: Jeez, too bad NER is lost in the wilderness.

Should NER be immune from these financially stressing times? No, but casting NER as some sort of burden that is dragging on Middlebury seems ridiculous. And PLEASE, the notion that one budget line item is equivalent to faculty lines is condescending. I think we know better than to offer such gestures.

Now that Ted Genoways and others (including myself) have offered Middlebury help on ways of expanding NER’s contribution to the college community, it is in the President’s and Provost’s hands to accept this help.
As someone who has helped create two creative writing communities from scratch, I am more than willing to come to Middlebury and consult with the administration and residential life in finding ways to incorporate NER into the the community. But I am guessing that you don’t need our advice or our imagination. Rather, I am guessing you need our will.

James Hoch

Not sure whom I called a name, though I do regret the misspelling, the sort of thing an ex-editor ought to be careful about. But that’s my last comment on this issue for now. As for “limiting myself to the arts section of the NYT,” that’s a paper I don’t see. I spend a lot more time managing woodlands (sistainably, I should add) than I do riffling through artsy articles, and to that extent think I may know more about the “normal” world than some I might think of.

I am a longtime friend of Middlebury. I have been watching the college handle the current economic crisis and have slowly come to the conclusion that the college may have another agenda beyond balancing the budget. It looks as if it intends to do deep restructuring because now it can–as the Obama administration has said, “Never allow a crisis go to waste.”

Sadly, Middlebury’s message–that it is a family stretching around the world–does not ring true any more. The actions currently underway are NOT how family acts.

The campus community has been encouraged to submit budget-cutting ideas to the administration. I know of a number of suggestions that fall into the “caring for each other” category. However, these have not even been given public hearing. For example: Allow individual departments to reduce staff hours so that fewer jobs might need to be cut or reassigned. For every 12 people who would go to 5/6ths time, the salary of 2 staff members would be saved, excluding benefits. If 20% of the workforce did this, it would approximate 30 salaries. Or the idea of asking for volunteers to take two weeks of unpaid vacation. One hundred volunteers would net nearly 4 peoples’ pay.

Admittedly, these two suggestions aren’t as straightforward as they sound, but they, and others, could be openly debated, and if adopted, implemented with an esprit de corps that builds morale and builds community and helps balance the budget. Imagine what else the Middlebury community might envision and implement if it were working together, as a family in tough times.

Instead, worksheets and staffing assessment tools are being used to realign and reduce jobs. Of course, it’s always beneficial to take a hard look at how one does business, find improvements and ways to tighten the belt. Those are important steps, but I believe the current plans will not accomplish this–in part because the college is a complex, dynamic system that will not function predictably when the changes are enacted.

Rather, the current methodology seems to use a hatchet disguised as a scalpel, a closed loop masquerading as an open process, a predetermined end pretending to be debatable.

But community, family, and caring for one another could be used instead as the motivating forces to carry Middlebury through the turbulence and safely into the future.

Surely NER has student interns? What about broadening that program? Not just English majors to come in and read submissions, but graphic arts students to help with typesetting and cover material? Marketing students to come in and help with the renewal series and other PR materials. Web design students to work on garnering more online attention. Business students to help deal with vendors, etc.

Just seems like having more undergrads involved could both give the students more investment in NER and potentially reduce its production costs.

I’m a former poetry editor from The Missouri Review where they’ve been doing all of the above for years. Pleased to say it works.

@L. Davids — an interesting post, but somewhat light on specifics.

What process would you suggest a college that needs to cut as much as $30M total over 3-4 years take? Please suggest to readers who are at Middlebury, and perhaps even the Middlebury administration, what process corresponds to “community, family, and caring for one another” beyond your two examples of furloughs and part-time appointments. Harvard, Wellesley, UVM, Yale, and some other institutions far wealthier than Middlebury has laid off staff early in the processes, while Middlebury has not and seems to be living up to doing all it can to avoid layoffs. Not filling positions is not laying folks off, and it seems that is a smart route but, unfortunately, requires all the paperwork and process you are criticizing to ensure staffing resources are put to the greatest use if positions are not being filled to save jobs elsewhere.

What exactly leads you to accuse the College of disingenuous dealing? Every cut so far has come through the recommendation of a committee comprised of faculty, students, and staff, and even the rec that generated the original post here (the NER cut) was amended…softened…by the president: the representative committee argued for immediate elimination of the magazine, but perhaps because of concern over “community, family, and caring…” the recommendation was amended.

Are you suggesting, then, some grand conspiracy carried out by a representative committee in the name of the College administration? Not many college committees with faculty and staff, let alone students, do an administration’s bidding, so please provide more information to suggest a better process to the one that has been described by other outsiders as more transparent than any other found at colleges and universities to date. The understanding on campus is that literally hundreds of recommendations have been received and considered, and so the fact that your few, or the few you advocate, have not been given airtime (along with hundreds others), does not mean they are not being read or considered. How would you know anyway?

Or are you suggesting that losing $10M to $15M n revenue a year over the next several years can be addressed by asking people to work 5/6 time? If so, you need to become better versed in the economics of higher education in general and at Middlebury and other schools that have relied on their endowments to provide >20% of their funds for the operating budget, in particular. With the size of the cuts that seem necessary if the long-term being of any of these (once) endowment-pumped institutions is to be preserved beyond the current generation of faculty and staff, deep cuts are necessary. Though your point about the fragility of community is crucial, an institution could also veer too much to protecting the here and now and place the institution’s long-term survival in jeopardy.

Check out the College’s website (front page) and learn more about the process, bureaucratic and cold as you claim it seems (there is a new video that lays out what you believe is a disingenuous process). And study what is happening at other institutions of higher education. You might amend your opinion, though of course, time will tell if Middlebury adheres to its rhetoric and goals (which, because of the size of the cuts necessary, will require more than a scapel) of reducing its cost structure signficantly, but doing as much as possible without layoffs, while retaining the excellence of its academic programs. Tough task.

Quote:”Perhaps it is normal to pronounce that “no literary magazine breaks even; all require subsidies,” as many e-mailers claimed. However, it seems unreasonable, indeed illogical, to expect an undergraduate liberal arts college to provide those subsidies when there is little direct benefit to the students who are covering the costs of operation. This is not to say The Review is not excellent, valuable, or worth preserving. It surely is. It simply cannot continue operating as it has, and my hope is that by increasing subscriptions and sponsorships (gifts), plus exploring whether there are alternatives to the current (and expensive) method of production, it will be able to operate without such a significant subsidy. I should add that, to my knowledge, not a single individual who has written in protest of the College’s decision has contributed financially to help subsidize The Review.” What more needs to be said? Typical protestors, all talk and no action. It seems a reasonable business decision to make as
this appears to be a typical scenario that continues to occur on what seems to be a more consistent basis.

Sites DOT Middlebury: the Middlebury site network.