I was not surprised to receive some push back on my last blog. I have also had a chance to revisit some of the issues I raised and the way they sounded. They are important, and it is certainly my responsibility as a member of the university community to bring them to the fore.
In my previous blog, I had reflected from a document prepared by Ms. Eleanor M. Joy of Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP, who is assisting the Faculty Association in preparing its case to the arbitrator. Here is the administration’s clarification about the facts underlying capital funding.
- “over 90% of total funding for capital projects is not supported by the operating fund, but rather is fully funded from sources such as government, fundraising, land development taxes, or, in the case of student housing projects, is supported by the income generated by the project itself.” I am perfectly willing to vouch for that. I am also awed by the huge effort and financial “wizardry” it took to achieve this incredible burst of construction on campus. I did not always agree with the priorities put forward by the administration, but I did respect their prerogative to push their vision forward as long as they are in charge. History will look favorably at their incredible achievement in transforming both campuses during challenging times, but I will stick to my guns as to the need to be conservative vis-a-vis future commitments now that we are in a transitory period.
- “the $610.5 million transfer is a cumulative amount that actually represents $90m of annual allocations. It covers much more than capital servicing costs, and includes core academic funding ranging from library collections to student awards.” I have no reason or any ground to question the veracity of this information.
- “the interest on long-term debt has in fact decreased from $33 million in 2006 to less than $24 million this year.” Here, I am simply flabbergasted by the discrepancy between these numbers and those of the PcW report.
Oh, and there is that spontaneous aspect of blogging, where it is fun to get a little carried away by a finely constructed sentence or a seemingly clever simile. How can you resist referring to Baron de Haussmann, when you are thinking about your home institution while walking down Boulevard Haussmann in Paris? And let’s keep in mind that History has also been more than kind to the extravagant Baron.
This member of the Board believes in the importance of debating fully, difficult and complex questions that face the university community. I also believe in recognizing facts, setting the record straight and being fair.