Chronicle says spend, spend, spend. But tells us nothing about where the money is coming from.

✔ Fact Checker here

OK we follow the Chronicle's advice. The research expense goody bag -- and that's what is under discussion, not core grants -- for Arts and Sciences faculty is restored.

Moreover, we will keep the same number of professors.

✔ ✔ Now, tell me where the money is coming from. This editorial would have had some validity if it explored:

A) alternative cuts that can be made.

B) how to increase the university's income. Which is another way of saying, would you pay higher tuition?

C) how much deeper we can eat into our endowment -- that is, spending money now that we should be leaving for future generations. In the last academic year, the Trustees spent 7.2 percent of the endowment reserved for financial aid, and 5.8 percent of the rest of the endowment. (We have no idea what this year's rate is, since these people operate in secret) The Trustees traditional spending formula looks like 5.5 percent at first blush, but when you factor in an average value of the endowment over three years, the real spending rate has only been 4.8 percent. Our generation is being a parasite.

D) And if our regular endowment spending were not enough, there's three years of special appropriations easing the way to "a smaller Duke" so the financial meltdown did not hit this campus with a sudden thud. The special appropriations are covering $72 million in red ink this year. And scheduled to cover $40 million next year -- assuming employees are put into the third year of a wage freeze. With a modest hike, we're looking at a $70-75 million special appropriation to cover red ink in the next budget.

And my fellow Dukies, don't count on the administration's three year timetable scheduled to end with next year's budget.

✔ ✔ ✔ Chronicle editors, you did not read last week's Fact Checker, quoting Peter the Provost:

"... we have people who still believe that someday in the not too distant future, things will just go back to the way they were. I don't think that's going to happen. We're now in the new normal. We will need to continue to operate in much the same way as we have the last couple years. There are lots of places where we've made changes, and that will be the new normal."

✔ And finally I want to get to the student-faculty ratio. This newspaper has never given us the number of freshmen this year -- so here it is. 1,748. We got some vague explanation from the Dean of Admissions as to how we ended up with extra people. And never a clear explanation if this were an aberration or if he has a new target number.

Without knowing where we are headed with admissions -- if we are going to get back to our authorized level of 1675 to 1700 each year -- FC cannot calculate the future ratio.

But I can tell you the growth in faculty has far exceeded the growth in students in the past decade. We have gone from 2,243 regular faculty in 2000-01, to 3,019 last year, and more at the moment. While students on all levels have moved from 11,000 to 13,000.

In other words, Loyal readers, 1 faculty for 4.9 students a decade ago, to approximately 4.3 at the moment.

✔ ✔ The Fact Checker solution: First, no more surprises. After two years of cuts, finally on a November afternoon we find out about the decimation of the A and S research slush fund. That's got to stop. We need all information now.

If the faculty does not want to be cut, then they should give up a round of sabbaticals. Right now, after working 12 semesters, you can get one off. In other words, sabbaticals add 8 percent to salary costs. The suspension of sabbaticals occurred at the City U of NY without disaster in the 1970's financial pinch.

Also on sabbaticals, we can tighten the rules. Sorry Larry Moneta, but your sabbatical last year going to Serbia to study how universities there deliver services like dining and housing for students does not make the cut. (Moreover, he had federal money! A Fulbright.)

Sorry Dean Crumbliss. You seem to be at retirement age and no more sabbaticals as a final going away present. Moreover, you, a chemist, were going to Genoa Italy; under the FC rules, there would have to be a clear showing of the benefit to Duke and the ties to one's discipline.

And when we are done with sabbaticals, we need to address the number of hours each professor has to put into the classroom each academic year. Work load! We shall start by examining the load elsewhere including U of Texas where state statute specifies double what Duke professors experience. And we shall read together Former Provost Taylor Cole's biography where he slams his fellow professors for their slack.

I have more ideas, but it is late. And I want to give you reason to return to read FC!!

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