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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

An open letter from President Rob Oden

< the Carletonian:

Continuing our many and lengthy budget conversations as we are, I want today to pause to acknowledge with signal gratitude the way the Carleton community has responded to the difficult, perhaps uniquely difficult, set of financial challenges the College faces today. The steps we have taken and those we will need to take have required us to come together with a renewed sense of purpose, and I have rarely, in twenty years of leading educational institutions, seen joint resolve and commitment like that offered by so many in the Carleton community of late.

Carleton’s budget process is much in the spirit of Carleton and hence is a thoughtful, deliberative, and engaged process, and a process which we have made the more consultative over recent years. The Budget Committee, a standing sub-committee of College Council, begins to deliberate on the following year’s budget only days after the Trustees have approved the current budget in early February, so that the Budget Committee’s deliberations and consultations with many others lasts a full year. This lengthy and thorough procedure we put in place four years ago to ensure that many in our community can advise College Council, the Administrative Council, and our Trustees in allocating the resources necessary to sustain the high quality of a Carleton education. This year, we monitored financial markets with special vigilance in the hope that conditions might improve sufficiently such that dramatic measures would be unnecessary, while at the same time we also formulated and discussed widely contingency plans in the event that financial conditions failed markedly to improve. Beyond the standing committees which routinely engage in budgetary deliberations, we consulted with additional groups representative of faculty, staff, and students, and with individual community members, all of whom contributed ideas incorporated into the revised budget which the Budget Committee recommended to College Council on April 27 and which College Council in turn voted to recommend to our Trustees. Everyone involved has worked diligently and creatively to shape and re-shape the College’s budget during one of the most volatile economic environments on record. I need and want especially to thank the Budget Committee, a group representing Carleton’s faculty, staff, and students, for their commitment to the process and for shaping a plan that maintains Carleton’s strengths.

Our work is far from over. The newly revised budget for fiscal year 2010, which the Budget Committee and College Council have just approved as noted above, achieves our goals of balancing the FY 2010 budget and of reducing ongoing College expenses by $5 million beginning in 2012. The revised budget includes the painful cost-cutting measures outlined in my April 17 budget update to the campus – measures that are necessary for us to reduce expenses while maintaining Carleton’s academic excellence and our continuing commitment to financial aid, which will increase by nearly 7% for the coming year. The recommended measures include sacrifices for both faculty and staff consistent with the guiding principle of shared sacrifice which we have kept before us throughout the budget process . For more details about these measures, please see my recent budget memo to the campus on our Keeping Carleton Strong website: We will convey further information on our budgets and plans for 2010 and beyond after the Board of Trustees considers them in May.

On behalf of my College Council colleagues, thank you for all you do for Carleton. My colleagues and I are uncommonly grateful to everyone in the community. The spirit of Carleton, the recognition that we’re all in this together, has rarely been as evident as it has been over recent months. Together we will work to keep Carleton strong.

– President Rob Oden

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