President Schapiro’s Jan. 26 letter to the Williams community is meant to allay our concerns about the financial crisis. Instead, it alarmed me. The College’s net financial wealth (endowment minus debt) is, at most, $1 billion. A reasonable assumption for a long-term real growth rate would be 3 percent. That would suggest annual spending from the endowment of about $30 million. In the 2008 fiscal year, Williams spent $79 million. President Schapiro’s proposed budgets cuts of $10 million are nowhere near large enough to bring the College back to a sustainable level of spending. Williams is no longer as wealthy as it (thought it) once was. The sooner the College’s leadership acts on that reality, the better.
David Kane ’88