Northwestern University’s president says the school is “in relatively good shape financially” but faces a variety of key issues.

In an open letter to the campus community, Morton Schapiro says the school is in a tight financial position that he expects will continue for the next two years, but he doesn’t foresee a need for the wide-scale layoffs, furloughs, salary reductions or deep operating budget cuts being suffered by some other colleges.

Schapiro, who announced a series of “Conversations with the President” meetings Monday, said the financial difficulties elsewhere may create opportunities for NU to hire top faculty and staff for key programs.

He said demand for admission to the university remains very strong, but the need for financial aid for students is likely to increase as a result of the economy.

He also said, “I think we’ve made progress in warming the relations between the University and the City of Evanston. There’s a new city council and new mayor, Elizabeth Tisdahl, with whom I’ve developed a very good working relationship. While there undoubtedly will be occasional friction points between Northwestern and Evanston, I think we are on the way to improved relations.”

And he said he hopes to develop “specific action steps” to increase the number of students, faculty and staff members from underrepresented groups.

Related link

Text of Schapiro’s letter

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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