Re: Budget Priorities

While Mr. Horowitz’s point about spending is well taken, he’s incorrect that it explains the budget cuts. The reality is that Dartmouth can spend money where it wants to spend money without making budget cuts, precisely because the endowment is there to tap into, about 4 times as large as it was a decade ago. That it isn’t willing to do so suggests that preserving the endowment is a priority in and of itself.

Personally, I think one of the more plausible explanations is that the reason for the cuts is so the endowment remains large enough to finance major capital expansion in the face of declining alumni support. Which is in line with Mr. Horowitz’s thoughts. It’s also possible the Trustees, by nature of their positions more fiscally than educationally focused, have succumbed to the notion that a large endowment is good in and of itself. This would reflect a certain amount of current thinking in academia, where, as a single example, university rankings usually include a variable for endowment size.

Either way, regardless of the long-term strategy, the short term purpose seems quite clearly to be conserving the endowment.