In a New York Times article today called "Leaner Times at Harvard," it was reported that due to the critical hit to the university's endowment, the school is making serious cuts: no more bacon will be served at weekday breakfasts for undergraduates, and no more cookies provided at faculty meetings.
I know things are actually much tougher, and the newspaper even admits as much. For example, a significant number of students live in the old Radcliffe dormitories--at the Quad, where I chose to live in the late 1980s. It is a bit of a walk to the main campus. The beautiful library there where I spent most of my evenings studying has been closed. Many staff members have lost their jobs, there is a hiring freeze, and salaries have been frozen as well.
At the same time, Harvard has prioritized their cuts to ensure students have $9 million more in financial aid than they did last year. This move has allowed some students to remain enrolled who otherwise would have been unable to afford it in these difficult times.
I'm feeling awfully torn: really wanting to put Harvard's financial situation into the context of a world hit by true suffering, yes--but also really irritated that the New York Times would not only trivialize the cuts necessary but treat undergrads as if they are all smug rich kids who feel entitled to the best all the time. While I am sure there are students who fit that profile that are enrolled at Harvard, I met precious few of them while I was there.
And yet--here I am, typing into my laptop, uploading pictures from my new camera, and eating a hot breakfast. Maybe we are too educated, too privileged, and too entitled to even notice how overfed our culture is.