Board of Trustees approves University budget, new housing

June 13, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

The Stanford Board of Trustees heard a report from new School of Medicine Dean Lloyd Minor and approved the University’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year at its June meeting.

Board Chair Steven Denning MBA ’78 framed the University’s fiscal status in positive terms, noting a projected growth of 7 percent in revenues over this year’s total.

“The good news is we’re running a surplus both at the aggregate level and at the general funds level,” Denning said.

Denning singled out an increase in the amount allocated for undergraduate financial aid as particularly significant.

“This University has a strong commitment to financial aid and maintaining that financial aid so that we can keep net tuition increases basically flat,” Denning said.

Direct financial aid for students will total $254 million next year.

Turning to the capital budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year, which will total $658 million, Denning drew attention to the planned renovation of the historic Old Chemistry Building, which will incorporate seismic safety and other structural improvements.

“It’s really [a renovation] that is oriented towards adding classrooms and teaching facilities…for a number of the sciences [and] not just chemistry,” Denning emphasized.

Planned construction will also include the expansion of undergraduate housing through new facilities in Manzanita Park, which will add 128 beds, and Lagunita Court, which will add 216 beds. Denning described the developments, which are scheduled for completion in 2015, as intended to address recent “packing” of undergraduate residences rather than accommodate any planned expansion of the undergraduate population.

“That’s the first time we’ve really addressed undergraduate housing in some significant period of time,” Denning said. “It’s a significant increase.”

“[The population increase] is something the administration is seriously exploring,” he added later. “It’s something the Board endorses.”

Other planned or ongoing construction projects include the construction of 180 housing units on Mayfield Avenue and the addition of a contemplation center and the McMurtry Building for the Department of Art and Art History to campus.

“I’m looking forward to going up there [to the contemplation center],” Denning said.

Turning to Minor’s presentation, Denning framed it as intended to offer a contextualized sense of Minor’s vision and priorities, especially given the financial importance of University hospitals and the School of Medicine to Stanford as a whole, and to inform the Board.

“You’re dealing with two hospitals that are very significant in terms of their revenue,” Denning emphasized. “They operate on clearly a different business model…than the University does.”

“It’s the beginning of a dialogue [and] not the end of one with regards to discussing those kind of issues,” Denning added.

Revisiting a report from Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Harry Elam to the Faculty Senate earlier in the day, Denning remarked on the scale of the reforms made to the undergraduate experience.

“I commend…the innovation and forward-thinking thought to implement the elements of the [Study of Undergraduate Education at Stanford report] in an extremely creative way,” he said. “I thought what they were doing, frankly, is fantastic and really quite expansionary.”

“It was surprising to me in terms of the breadth of the activities that we’re forging ahead on,” Denning added. “It’s one [area] where the planning that has gone into redesigning what we’re offering our students is really conceptually very strong and something that as an institution we should be extremely proud of.”

Denning also noted the interest in the University’s judicial process after the emergence of a critical case study, but downplayed the Board’s involvement in rectifying issues raised therein.

“We’ve been apprised, but it’s not one we’re getting into in any specific way other than endorsing the actions that are moving forward today with the Office of Community Standards,” Denning said.

Marshall Watkins is a senior staff writer at The Stanford Daily, having previously worked as the paper's executive editor and as the managing editor of news. Marshall is a junior from London majoring in Economics, and can be reached at mtwatkins "at" stanford "dot" edu.

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