Most depressing comment on EphBlog this month? This one from Jeff.

In his Record farewell article, Morty mentions — and this shocked me — that a few varsity sports may have to be cut if the economy fails to improve in a few years.

You were “shocked” by this? Don’t you read EphBlog? Williams is in huge, huge trouble. How many times do I need to say that? Here is the quote from Morty.

He predicted that if the recession continues for several years, the College will reduce its budget in ways similar to other colleges, perhaps by eliminating a couple of the 32 varsity sports teams, forcing staff to take unpaid furloughs and reducing the amount of financial aid offered to international students. “If the recession ends, we’ll never see these things,” Schapiro said. “But if things don’t recover, there will be years of financial difficulty. We’re going to hold to our principles, but we’re going to sacrifice.”

Although I do not think that the Trustees are doing enough, they still plan on spending $8.5 million less from the endowment in 2010-2011 then they will this coming year. Look around at the Williams budget. Think it is easy to find $8 million to cut, especially after all the cuts that have already been made? It isn’t.

One of the reasons that I have been so adamant about cutting the budget now is because, once you have spent money this year, it isn’t coming back. That money is gone forever.

Middlebury just cut spending on crew. Williams is a richer school than Middlebury but not that much richer.

The trade-offs are fairly obvious. Williams spends about $200,000 per year on the Bolin Fellowships. I think that this money is pretty much wasted. (During flush times, I would have preferred to spend that money on Williams professors.) But, even if you think that the spending is valuable, you need to compare it to other things that the College provides, because the recession means that something is being cut.

Once you add in coaching salaries and other expenses, crew probably costs somewhere around $200,000 per year. By keeping Bolin for at least one or two more years, we are jeopardizing a year of crew.

You can have Bolin or you can have crew. You can’t have both. Choose.

UPDATE: Further discussion here

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