Lau saw its 2016 fiscal year budget cut by six percent or $1 million, resulting in a 17.5 percent decrease in the library’s budget for principal collections of books, as the Hoya reported.
While this editorial board commends the university for its commitment to preserving jobs within the library by not cutting from its budget for staff spending, we believe the cuts represent a step away from Georgetown’s values, and will make it harder for members of the university community to realize their academic goals.
Georgetown, at its core, is an academic institution. The library, with all of the resources and opportunities it offers, is central to this basic institutional goal. In taking from the library nearly 20 percent of its budget for collections, the university risks endangering one of its fundamental aims.
These cuts have been made despite consecutive years of tuition increases. They are unlikely to be reversed, meaning that in future years available research tools will only be more limited. Our concern lies in the future, and what continual slashes to this budget will mean for students and professors in upcoming years. In the future, there must be greater transparency in how these cuts affect Lau. There also must be a contingency plan in place to ensure the quality of resources is not affected by consecutive years of budget cuts.
Georgetown prides itself on being a research institution that attracts minds from all over the globe. To maintain the level of scholarship and rigor Georgetown boasts and encourages, a library with expansive research opportunities is a necessity. Students and professors are expected to compete with and contribute to a nation-wide academic community based on scholarship and research. While Georgetown is following a trend seen in other national peer universities, these cuts to the library’s budget could potentially harm the university’s ability to provide premier resources to faculty, staff, and students.