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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Letter to the Editor: Endowment Correction


letter to the editor graphic

Last week, March 4, 2016, the S&B ran a lengthy feature story seeking to explain the College’s finances to students “What You Might Not Know about How the College Spends Its Money.” As Vice President for Communications, I’m grateful to authors Kelly Pyzik ’16 and Eva Lilienfeld ’17 for taking on such a complex and important topic.

Much of the reporting in the story was accurate and helpful. However, there were also some consequential errors and points of confusion. For example, the article reported the College’s annual operating expenditures as $243 million, which is more than twice the actual figure of $117 million reported in our audited financials. This error is not only problematic in itself; it also suggests that Grinnell is running a 126 million dollar annual deficit, whereas in reality we balance our budget every year.

Mistakes happen, especially when reporting on a topic as complicated as this one. But a number of readers have told President Kington, me and other college leaders that they felt confused or uncertain about our financial status after reading the article. My colleagues and I have reached out to the S&B with the goal of working together to publish a detailed correction after spring break. I hope readers will return to the paper later this semester for the corrected information.

I also want to take this opportunity to mention that Treasurer and Vice President for Finance Kate Walker will host her annual Inside Grinnell session on the College’s operating budget in May. Look for an announcement once the date is set, and attend if you want to understand Grinnell’s finances in detail.

Again, my administration colleagues and I are grateful to Kelly, Eva and the S&B for caring enough to want to educate students about this issue. We hope the forthcoming corrections will further foster that understanding.

Jim Reische, Vice President of Communications

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