University President Morton Schapiro discussed the budget deficit and controversial guest evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa during a question-and-answer session on Wednesday.
Schapiro’s “Southwest Neighborhood Q&A,” held in the Great Hall of Willard Hall, drew a crowd of about 40 people and gave students the opportunity to ask him questions about funding for mental health programs, non-tenured faculty and the effects of the government shutdown.
Schapiro said board members, tenured faculty and students all have competing “agendas” regarding Kanazawa’s presence at Northwestern. The issue is further complicated by various considerations around academic values, he added, but did not take a specific position on it.
“You find yourself in these impossible situations all the time and you have good people who really want to do the right thing, and it’s not easy…you wish you had more wisdom,” he said. he declares. “It’s sending the wrong message that we’re not giving out to people. It’s really important for the college and its priorities.
Schapiro also addressed the $94 million budget shortfall, which has resulted in cuts to student services as well as layoffs and the elimination of funded positions.
Asked specifically about funding for student services provided by the Division of Student Affairs, Schapiro said the safety and well-being of students is his first priority and that he places “no constraints” on funding for the division. . He acknowledged students criticizing the lack of funding and long wait times for counseling and psychology services.
“The first thing you do on the budget is take care of people, and that’s what we try to do,” Schapiro said. “I’m still frustrated that it’s not more advanced, and I feel guilty and embarrassed about it.”
Schapiro said he wanted to improve the conditions and remuneration of teaching professors, especially for non-tenured professors. He noted that hiring approaches can differ between departments and disciplines.
Schapiro said the budget deficit should be over “within a year”, although Craig Johnson, the vice president for business and finance, told the Daily last week that the University would not register a deficit. surplus before 2021. Once out of a deficit, Schapiro said his first priority was to improve conditions for nontenured faculty.
“We need to treat these teachers with more respect,” Schapiro said. “We need to give them sabbaticals and we need to give them money to go to conferences, so they can continue to be great teachers.”
McCormick’s first-year Grace Wainaina said the discussion was remarkably “open” and she was glad to hear that Schapiro was “genuinely” looking for ways to improve the school. As someone who “values teachers,” she stressed the importance of her comments about non-tenured professors.
Weinberg junior Bernard Caillouet said he had hoped to learn more about how Schapiro would improve the undergraduate experience both academically and in terms of support programs.
“What is he going to do to improve our experience overall?” he said. “I feel like there was no in-depth response, just some vague ideas.”
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