As previously discussed, Williams has made public an impressive collection of financial information. President Bill Wagner writes:

January 21, 2010

To the Williams Community,

As background to the ongoing campus discussions of the College’s next steps in responding to the new economic realities, the Provost’s Office and the Office of Public Affairs have developed the following Web site.

provost.williams.edu/?page_id=182

It shows trends in the College’s revenue and spending over two time periods: the decade before the global crisis began and the year plus since then.

The more we all understand the factors that led to the current situation the better decisions about the future we are likely to make.

This site makes that information widely available.

Kudos all around. The more transparent Williams is, the more likely the College is to be successful. So, in the spirit of open discussion and debate, I will post a selection of the Report every weekday at noon for the next two and a half weeks. There is much interesting material to discuss.

Do any of our trustee/administration readers know how much of an overlap there is between this material and the documents used by the Trustees during their January meeting? It sure seems like these are exactly the sort of reports that the Trustees would have been looking at . . .

From the main page of the Report:

Background Information on College Finances, Jan. 2010

As background to the College’s financial situation, the documents on this site show changes in revenue and spending, in some cases since the beginning of the global financial crisis and in some cases over the past decade or more.

They show that we headed into the crisis with considerable financial strength, reacted quickly to changed circumstances, and need to adapt further to the changed environment. Our growth in spending over the past decade was fueled in large part by a surge in resources of a kind unlikely to recur anytime soon.

Understanding our recent history can help inform our decisions on next steps.

Exactly right. One minor suggestion: It would be nice if all this material were gathered into a pdf (or some other kind of) document.

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