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Provost Brown: MIT Finances Improving

By Pon-Pon Yeh

Provost Robert A. Brown addressed the Undergraduate Association Senate last night at its first meeting of the semester, saying he has an optimistic view of MIT's financial state.

“Everything is fine,” Brown said.

Following his talk, Brown took questions from the audience. Discussion topics included the future of fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups, plans for Course XIII, and Biological Engineering’s potential status as a new major.

Brown says worst times are over

Provost Brown addressed the fall budget reductions, which totaled 70 million dollars. Brown said that the most difficult financial times were “behind us.”

He then went on to discuss the budget cuts, and said that they were made with the primary intent of preserving academic quality.

In addition, Brown assured the senators that the decline in MIT’s endowment was nothing to worry about, stating that he trusted it enough to place his retirement fund in it.

Further FSILG support unknown

Brown was unable to answer questions about the future of funding for the FSILG system.

A three-year financial transition plan approved in 2001 gave money to FSILGs to assuage the losses incurred from the lack of a freshman class.

Even though the plan is only in place for one more year, Brown was not certain whether MIT would continue supporting FSILGs in years to come, or whether MIT would use that money to build new dormitories.

Course reorganization discussed

However, Brown did answer questions about changes in majors at MIT. He estimated that Biological Engineering would become a major by Fall 2005 and that Course XIII would merge with another course. However, Brown said that this new course would retain an Ocean Engineering option.

In addition, the UA spring 2004 budget and three bills were presented to be voted on at a later meeting.