UR is learning to cope with a severely weakened U.S. economy. The University has already suffered a $425 million blow to its endowment and the impact will be immediately noticeable. UR President Joel Seligman is taking the right steps to ensure UR’s survival of the recession.
Seligman’s commitment to the University is admirable, as he is both foregoing a pay increase and contributing 10 percent of his salary to UR. Students and their families should feel confident in a president who is willing to sacrifice for the school. Additionally, Seligman’s sacrifice will have a much greater impact if other top administrators and faculty follow his example.
It is imperative that Seligman stay true to his promise to find and distribute more financial aid to the students. Future students will have even more trouble paying for their college education; UR should be careful that the school doesn’t become an elitist institution open only to those who are fortunate enough to withstand the upcoming hardships. For the same reasons, the tuition increases that plague student mailboxes once a year must be kept noticeably lower, as Seligman has promised.
It is especially important to keep in mind UR’s place as a Rochester institution. UR recently passed Kodak as the number one employer in Rochester, symbolizing the University’s importance to the community. Rather than cutting back on jobs as a reaction to the recession, it must do all it can to preserve these jobs that help the community thrive.
Expansion of the University, a prime goal of the new Strategic Plan, should not be a high priority until UR is safely out of the water, just as Seligman has said. This recession has undoubtedly affected all universities Harvard University, for instance, is reported to have lost about $8 billion and now is not the time to concentrate on surpassing peer institutions. Students and the Rochester community come first and should remain so during the recession.