If other state officials were as aggressive as Towson State's President Hoke L. Smith in coming to grips with Maryland's pending budget deficit (which could run as high as $400 million), the Schaefer administration would have a far easier time reducing government spending. Dr. Smith is taking the prudent and conservative view that times are bound to get tougher and that the sooner budgetary reductions are made at Towson State, the easier it will be over the long haul.
That's why Dr. Smith not only embraced the governor's order to curb expenses by 6 percent but went one step beyond, lopping off 12 percent. This is wise preventive medicine. These cuts may be inconvenient for students and faculty to adjust to, but they could well avoid painful layoffs later.
Towson State has reduced hours at its library computer room and has stopped buying new books. Other state colleges are freezing all purchases, delaying faculty hires and increasing the teaching load for full-time faculty as the number of part-timers is cut. This could translate into larger class sizes, reduced on-campus services and a more limited course selection. It isn't ideal, but it is a rational approach to an economic downturn.