Meredith faces cuts

November 11, 2009 3:46:09 PM PST
Meredith College students and faculty who met administrators behind closed doors Wednesday had lots of questions about budget cuts. "Why did they cut Western Civilization and Women's History from the spring catalog? And I was told those were departmental cuts, and my department had actually fought to keep those classes," questioned college junior Millie Griffith.

But with an endowment that's lost nearly a quarter of its value, college leaders are faced with tough choices.

"We're making about a two and a half percent reduction in the operating budget this year, and it's difficult to go through," explained Meredith President Maureen Hartford.

But some students aren't happy with where the cuts are being made.

"President Hartford makes $313,000 a year, plus benefits, and that's a $100,000 increase over 10 years. I think that's a little exorbitant when our professors don't make that much money," offered Griffith.

Wednesday afternoon, Meredith College told ABC11 Eyewitness News that Griffith overstated Hartford's salary and said it did not increase $100,000 in 10 years.

Speaking with ABC 11 Eyetwitness News earlier in the day, Hartford said she - and other top level administrators - will feel the budget knife as well.

"All of the people who make salaries of $90,000 and above are being asked to make voluntary cuts in their salaries, and I am the first to sign up for that," she told ABC11.

Hartford said she's taking a 5 percent cut.

Other students point out that Meredith is hardly alone. Colleges across the country - especially smaller schools - are feeling the tough economic times.

"I understand student concerns, but at the same time this is something all colleges are facing and it's important to remember that Meredith College is not unique," said Student Government President Amy Damone.

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