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Provost L. Rafael Reif, left, explains the process used to pre-select questions the administrators answer at Wednesday’s State of the Institute forum in Kresge Auditorium. Executive Vice President Theresa M. Stone SM ’76 is to the right.
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Same Answers at State of Institute

MIT President Susan J. Hockfield delivered a 20-minute overview of the Institute’s financial climate in front of several hundred staff and a few students at the State of the Institute forum on Wednesday. Hockfield noted an intent to finish MIT’s $150 million in budget cuts in two years, rather than the three years initially proposed by the administration in 2008. Following this speech, administrators answered both pre-submitted and impromptu questions from the audience (select questions, p.13).

Hockfield’s remarks, though targeted at staff rather than students or faculty, were similar to those provided to the Faculty at the Sept. 16 Faculty meeting, as well as the opening remarks at the two open forums last month on budget cuts.

A webcast of the forum is available at http://web.mit.edu/events/stateoftheinstitute.

No central layoff planning

Asked publicly how many layoffs were planned for fiscal year 2011, which begins next summer, Executive Vice President Theresa M. Stone SM ’76 said she could not cite a specific number because there is no central plan for layoffs at MIT, and that those decisions were going to be left up to individual units. “The answer is we don’t know,” she said.

Another audience member asked whether those parts of MIT that reduced their budget by 15 percent in one year rather than three would see some sort of benefit for doing so, since the timeline for cuts has been accelerated from three years to two. Provost L. Rafael Reif took the question, but again indicated that it was up to individual units, and declined to articulate a policy for MIT centrally.

Support staff on task force?

Another questioner asked why there were no support staff on the planning task force. The administrators did not have a ready answer, however the Institute Planning Task Force website lists 90 staff members on the task force, as well as 87 faculty and 23 students.

John A. Hawkinson