Provost Persis Drell announced an $8.9 billion budget for the 2023-2024 academic year at the Faculty Senate meeting Thursday.
The senate also established a committee for the Stanford University Press, the University’s publishing house, and debated a resolution to remove Fox News co-founder Rupert Murdoch and Parler founding investor Rebekah Mercer from the Hoover Board of Overseers.
Before each of these discussions, President Marc Tessier-Lavigne opened his remarks with a tribute to Drell, who recently announced she will step down from her role as provost after serving for six years. Tessier-Lavigne noted Drell’s contributions to the University, including her work for the Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in a Learning Environment initiative and leadership during the pandemic.
“I couldn’t have wished for a better partner than Persis,” Tessier-Lavigne said. “It’s clear she’s leaving very big shoes to fill.”
In the coming weeks, a faculty-led advisory committee will be assembled to search for a new provost. Tessier-Lavigne noted that the last provost search committee did have student representation, but when asked whether that representation would have any decision-making power, he said the “committee functioned through consensus” and the “inner workings of the committee were not clear.”
Deborah Hensler, vice chair of the senate and professor of dispute resolution at the law school, provided an update from the Committee of 12, saying that the committee is planning to meet with students about concerns.
Annual Budget Report
Drell, who serves as the University’s chief budget officer, presented next year’s $8.9 billion consolidated budget for operations, which includes the University’s operating revenues and expenses. The plan also includes a $1.9 billion general funds budget for academic operations and an $800 million capital budget as part of the multi-year capital plan.
“The consolidated budget was a mere $6.3 billion in 2017,” Drell said, “so this university truly continues to grow.”
When setting the consolidated budget, the plan accounted for “inflation, minimal endowment payout increase in 2023-2024, constrained available incremental general funds and operational shortfall for auxiliary units.” Drell said academic missions and maintaining a general fund surplus were her top priorities.
Under the consolidated budget, the University will see the allocated budget for tuition offset for graduate research assistants increase from 40% to 55%. The budget will also see continued growth for healthcare services.
Judith Goldstein, chair of the political science department, expressed concerns that the allocated budget for the medical school has increased so significantly.
“Integration with [School of Medicine faculty] enhances every part of this university,” Drell replied. “And the growth of faculty and students at the School of Medicine is actually tightly controlled.” She also said that the current dean at the medical school is an “incredible University citizen” who prioritizes University interests.
When asked by Graduate Student Council representatives about the unaffordability of postdoc housing, Drell responded there was a “mismatch between the housing [income] requirement and what the salary is.”
“We do believe we have a solution in place,” she said, though she did not offer further details.
The budget will be sent to the Board of Trustees for approval in June.
Stanford University Press
By a unanimous vote, the senate established a permanent committee on the Stanford University Press to ensure faculty input.
The senate’s ad hoc committee on the Stanford University Press was originally established three years ago after a controversy when the annual subsidy for the press decreased in 2019. The temporary committee was then created to facilitate faculty visibility and engagement with the press.
Gabriella Safran, professor of Jewish studies and Slavic languages and literature, presented the final annual report from the committee as its chair.
“Many of our faculty don’t think about books or university presses because they don’t necessarily exist in book-centered fields,” Safran said. “Our job is to help faculty in non-book-centered fields understand the university press landscape.”
Since the establishment of the ad hoc committee, sales for the press have gone up 16%, which is uncommonly high among university presses, according to Safran.
The Stanford University Press consists of 36 staff and put out close to 120 books last year. Of those, 67 titles received 77 awards, said Ali Yaycioglu, associate professor of history.
“The Stanford University Press is one of the best university publishers, particularly in the disciplines of history, anthropology, sociology and law,” he said. “It is probably the best university publisher in the fields of Middle East, South Asian and Jewish studies.”
The ad hoc committee officially recommended the establishment of a permanent Stanford University Press committee, but recommended that it should meet less frequently.
“We believe a strong Stanford University Press strengthens Stanford,” Safran said.