The Wheel has obtained the following letter, which is from College Dean Robin Forman addressed to the College faculty.
I write to add to the thoughtful and respectful conversation we had at the faculty meeting yesterday. To be clear, my goal here is not to offer any opinions on the variety of issues discussed, but rather to offer some information that I think may be relevant to this deliberation.
Two speakers offered their assessments of how forcefully President Wagner has supported the College relative to the other schools. It is my experience – admittedly limited to the last two and a half years – that he has been a very strong supporter of the College. I have on several occasions heard him talk to the Board of Trustees about the centrality of the liberal arts, and the necessity of a strong College. I have heard him remind members of the Board of Trustees that there is no such thing as a great university without a great college – and that, in fact, one can make the more precise statement that with very few exceptions, every great school of medicine (and great law school, and …) is affiliated with a great college – and hence they should all focus attention and energy on the College.
As evidence of significant action I can point to two items. As you all may know, over the previous two academic years, the college spent a total of $22 million more that it took in, leaving us – after spending down our reserves and other undesignated funds – $13 million in debt. We started this year with no debt only because of the additional financial commitments from the central administration. Perhaps more significantly, as I have told the chairs and directors as well as other groups, in this interregnum between the recently completed development campaign, and the campaign to follow in a few years, the university will carry out a focused initiative to raise money to support financial aid. I think it is fair to say both that most in the professional schools would not list financial aid as among their highest priorities for such an initiative and that nonetheless President Wagner selected this as the focus precisely because it is one of the College’s greatest needs.