Corporation to focus on budget in next meeting

After a harsh welcome yesterday, the Yale Corporation will work to determine the University’s 2005-2006 budget and discuss current and future construction projects when it convenes this weekend for its fourth and final meeting of the academic year, Yale officials said.

The University’s highest decision-making body will meet on the heels of a week-long teaching assistant strike by the Graduate Employees and Students Organization, but Yale officials said they do not expect the strike to impact the Corporation’s agenda. On Thursday afternoon, GESO members protested a meeting of Yale President Richard Levin, Corporation Senior Fellow Roland Betts ’68 and some other Corporation members inside Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall. GESO spokeswoman Rachel Sulkes GRD ’01 said the group’s leaders are hoping to meet with Betts on Monday.

Betts was not available for comment Thursday.

Although the Corporation traditionally keeps its agenda secret, administrators said it will discuss appropriations for on-campus construction projects and Yale’s continued efforts to tighten its budget. Yale officials were expecting a sizeable budget deficit for next year, but substantial cost reductions this year have allowed the University to close the gap, Levin said.

“We were projecting a big deficit this year, but we managed to cut it,” Levin said.

Although the University ran a $30 million budget deficit this year, it had consistently balanced its budget in previous years, Levin said. Vice President for Finance and Administration John Pepper said he expects to lower the deficit for next year due to more efficient business practices by the University.

“It’s a long road we’re traveling, and we’re in some respects closer to the beginning than the end, but I’m encouraged by our progress,” Pepper said.

Corporation members will likely discuss some of the newer initiatives the University has adopted this year to cut the budget, such as reducing travel expenses and running a more efficient procurement department. Levin said the University is now funding more general operations from restricted endowment funds rather than from the general operating budget.

While Yale’s efforts to conserve energy have cut costs, the savings by Yale’s altered procurement department has saved the University the most money, Pepper said.

“Savings in procurement remain the largest single source of savings, even more than energy, although energy is a very big one,” Pepper said. “I’m very encouraged by the way this whole campus is coming together to get a better deal.”

As Yale prepares to enter its most intensive construction phase in recent history, the Corporation is expected to give the go-ahead to several architects and work teams that the University has assembled to head a dozen or more building projects throughout campus, Pepper said.

The Corporation will review a status report on one of the bigger construction projects, the new molecular, cellular and developmental biology building to be built on Science Hill, but is not expected to authorize funding for the building until the Corporation’s next meeting in June, Pepper said.

Although Corporation fellows often meet with students during their visits to campus, representatives from the Graduate and Professional Student Senate and the Yale College Council said they do not have any events scheduled this weekend.

GESO member protest outside SSS as Yale President Richard Levin and several members of the Yale Corporation enter to hold a meeting. The Corporation will meet this weekend to discuss the budget.
Betny Townsend
GESO member protest outside SSS as Yale President Richard Levin and several members of the Yale Corporation enter to hold a meeting. The Corporation will meet this weekend to discuss the budget.

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