University Presidents Warn Against 'Imprudent' Cuts to Higher Education

Brodhead joins others in signing message to members of Congressional 'Super Committee'

Duke President Richard H. Brodhead joined the leaders of more
than 130 U.S. universities Wednesday in calling for a federal budget agreement
that focuses on entitlement and tax reforms instead of making further cuts to
domestic spending -- including higher education.

The chancellors and presidents sent the letter to members of
the Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. The six
Democratic and six Republican on the "Super Committee" are currently working
to reach a deal by Thanksgiving that produces up to $1.5 trillion in
federal savings over the next decade.

The university leaders called
on the committee to pursue "a big agreement -- not incremental steps."
Noting that "our nation's past focus on education and research
has paid extraordinary dividends" and that "investments in student
aid have made it possible for generations of young Americans to obtain a
college education," they cautioned against "imprudent"
budget cuts.

"As national leaders in higher education, we urge the
Committee and the Congress to move past contention and to reach a bipartisan
compromise to bring the national debt under control and create a pathway for
long-term economic growth," their letter concludes. "The Joint Select
Committee has a historic opportunity to craft a balanced proposal that is at
once bold, sensible, and forward-thinking."

The letter was organized by
the Association of American Universities and the Association of Public and
Land-grant Universities, whose presidents also signed it. The letter's full
text and list of signatories is available here. (PDF file)