That’s the news from today’s issue of the Justice, in which Miranda Neubauer reports on Board of Trustees member Meyer Koplow ’72 and Dean of Art and Sciences Adam Jaffe’s recent address to the faculty. Koplow (a New York lawyer whose biggest gig was as lead negotiator for cigarette-maker Phillip Morris in a 1997 national $350 billion tobacco settlement) isn’t just any board member – he’s chair of the Board’s budget and finance committee, a member of the executive committee, and a big Brandeis donor who helped finance the Village dorm. Until today, he was also the chair of the presidential search committee, but stepped down after “learning that a faculty member had nominated him for president.” Koplow seems to be the prime determiner of Brandeis’ budget cut strategies, and may well be the next president of the University (having been chair of the search committee one day can’t hurt when you apply for the job on the next).
In case you had forgotten about the steps University officials are quietly making in preparation to sell art from the Rose,Koplow told the faculty that “some of the solution will come from realizing value ultimately from some of the art at the Rose [Art Museum].” No whitewashing there.
In regards to academic cuts, Jaffe explained: “the board has essentially told us that we need to make reductions in our academic commitments;” to achieve these reductions, Jaffe has suggested that the University “eliminate the Music Composition graduate program, the Linguistics major and the teaching of ancient Greek, as well as [make] a reduction in the number of faculty in the Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Physics departments.” Koplow expressed the same sentiment: “if that means we can’t spend money on programs where we don’t do as well, that’s what it means.”
Just be sure not to forget – the Administration and Board still have every intention of cutting some departments entirely, and selling art from the Rose’s collection. As an alternative solution, Brandeis could draw from its endowment principle to make up shortcomings over the next few years (admittedly somewhat slowing our recovery) due to UPMIFA, a recent revision to MA law designed to help non-profit institutions deal with the recession. Last year, I wrote about this possibility of drawing down the endowment as an alternative to faculty cuts or art sales. The argument still applies.
On a more hopeful front, or perhaps to assuage the discontent of any Art-worshipping, Linguistics-studying activists listening, Koplow has also said that “a major pillar of this university is the mission of social justice, and this could be pushed more to the forefront and integrated into many of the programs.” I’d like to see some specifics on that.