With Harvard's endowment having taken an $8.2 billion hit over the past four months, Harvard President Drew Faust has ordered a salary freeze for all faculty and elimination of tenure-track and tenured faculty searches.
Well placed Pillage Idiot sources report that Faust has met privately with Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) and Senator John Kerry (D-MA) to negotiate a federal bailout of Harvard. Our sources indicate that the three were in agreement that Harvard is too self-important to fail. Under the agreed plan, an outline of which was provided to Pillage Idiot, the Treasury would offer Harvard a bridge loan of $7.5 billion, but as part of the deal a federal "Liberal Arts Czar" would be appointed. The Czar would have authority to make decisions on curriculum, prohibit preppy attire, and renegotiate faculty contracts, with a particular focus on the women's and ethnic studies departments, which have been the worst performers over the past year.
Neither Frank nor Kerry would respond to a request for comment. Faust remarked that this was the kind of bargain one sometimes has to make.
UPDATE (12/15): We have learned that Yale wants "in" on the bailout.
It is important to recognize that $17 billion is still a very large endowment. This was where the endowment stood as recently as January 2006. Still, the 25% decline we have experienced has a very significant impact on our operations because income from the endowment supports 44% of the University’s annual expense base of $2.7 billion.And Yale is asking you alumni for suggestions on what to do: "officers would also welcome any suggestions you would wish to make by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org."