Professor Rothschild presents on Budget Committee
Professor Casey Rothschild of the economics department gave a presentation on the activities of the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC), a body composed of faculty, staff and students that offers recommendations to the Board of Trustees about tuition costs and faculty and staff compensation. He discussed how Wellesley currently runs at a budget deficit of several million dollars, a situation that will be exacerbated by a new tax bill taxing college endowments. This deficit is a result of the College ignoring maintenance and renovation of buildings in favor of expanding faculty in the past couple of years. As a result, the College is now facing the problems of crumbling infrastructure and increased faculty costs while also having a tuition lower than its peer institutions. The cost per student at Wellesley in 2017 was $97,954, while tuition was only about $63,000, meaning that the College is running at about a $34,000 deficit per student, without taking financial aid into account. In order to counteract this situation, BAC has recommended increases in tuition by 4.9 percent following last year’s increase.
Rothschild also addressed student questions about where their tuition goes and the breakdown of the budget. About 60 percent of the budget goes to personnel costs, with half of that sum being faculty members and the other half being staff, about 20 percent of the budget goes to maintenance costs and the other 20 percent goes to administrative costs.
Senate Discusses College Government Elections
The recent College Government (CG) elections took center stage at Senate. The discussion had been tabled before spring break with a promise that the subject will be discussed after the break. Both the College Government President (CGP) Maryam Khan ’18 and Dean of Students Sheilah Horton expressed dismay at the mean spirited tone of the public debate.
One issue that was central to the discussion was constitutional eligibility, especially as it concerns the office of CGP. The error occured due to some issues with the CG constitution. CG had been considering changing eligibility policy to allow rising juniors to run for CGP, and the new policy had been added to the constitution as a suggestion on Google Docs and had accidentally been made permanent. This oversight was not caught, a fact for which the CGP apologized.
Another issue that was discussed was the current state of the Elections Committee (EC), with some criticizing the fact that EC is largely made up of current cabinet members. This means that candidates cannot talk to current cabinet members about their positions without committing a campaign violation. Another student expressed her support for the continued membership of cabinet members on the committee, saying that they provided valuable knowledge.
Several students also proposed better publicity for the conflict resolution workshops being hosted by Sherman Cowan throughout the semester, which were suggested as a way to mitigate vitriol during the campaign cycle.