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Institute Should Trim Administrative Fat First

Institute Should Trim Administrative Fat First

Last month, some MIT workers demonstrated at 77 Massachusetts Ave. about measures aimed at reducing the budget of the Institute. Flyers they distributed mentioned various incidences of loyal employees who have given 15, 30, or 40 years of their lives to the school who are now being callously dismissed. I felt sad upon reading these accounts, but soon put them aside as I rarely come into contact with these people anyway.

However, I tried to go to Hayden Library the other day at 11 a.m. on a weekend, and found that the library is no longer open 24 hours, due to budgetary constraints ["Hayden Now Closes at Midnight," Oct. 6]. I had always felt comfort in the knowledge that Hayden would be open at all hours, and that its stacks were always accessible to me. Alas, no more.

By this time, I was ready to put two and two together. The Department of Anthropology and Archaeology lost a great administrator recently, Priscilla Cobb, who was the nicest, most helpful, and accommodating resource I'd ever encountered at MIT. She had worked there forever, it seemed, but was dismissed because there were no longer the funds to support her position. She had been very sad when she related the situation to me; she had no idea where she was going to go, now that MIT's restructuring schemes didn't include her.

My grievance is this: I am extremely disturbed to finally recognize the nature of MIT's priorities when it comes to budget manipulation. I worked at Rebecca's Cafe this summer, as a caterer, and delivered thousands of dollars a week of food to offices at MIT, our "best customer."

We loved MIT as a customer because they had even bagels and coffee catered, which could easily have been provided by some office lackey. Instead, meetings such as the Committee on Academic Performance sessions in June had six or eight bagels, cream cheese, jam, and coffee sent in for prices which were far from thrifty. Most orders, though, were for fancy sandwiches and cookies which we delivered to, besides MIT, fat-cat corporate executives who were billing it to their customers anyway. But in the case of the Institute, who pays the price for this prodigality and reckless squandering?

I don't begrudge MIT big-wigs and professors their bagels and coffee cake, but why is it that we have to slash people's pay, or put long-time workers out to pasture, or downgrade resources for students, rather than downgrade the perks that go along with a seat on the Committee on Academic Performance?

Why do we keep getting propaganda stuffed in our faces about this huge deficit under which the Institute is straining ["Deficit Higher Due to Re-engineering," Oct. 20], when a ponderous burden seems to be coming from wasteful practices like the ones I've described? When the accountants and financial wizards meet next about "trimming the fat," I suggest they start with the fat-cats in our corporation.

Elizabeth Tang '96