Stephen Wood in McSweeney’s:
I know what you’re thinking: “Sir, we dip into 5 percent of the endowment per year to cover operating costs, so why don’t we just go up to, like, 7 or 8 percent instead of leaving our employees to twist in the wind?” Let me personally assure you that I hear what you’re saying, and it’s horseshit. Under no circumstances may we touch the endowment. We would sooner take Henry Kissinger’s name off our Center for the Study of Human Rights than take another penny out of the endowment.
To be frank, I don’t even know how to dip into the endowment. Just after I was appointed president, in one of the most memorable luncheons of my academic career, the Board of Governors sat me down and forced me to sign a document promising to never ask them about the endowment.