U.Va. board stands
by admission policy, vows to defend consideration of race
Board of Visitors
voted unanimously Oct. 16 to support the University's admission
policy -- which allows race to be a consideration -- and said
it is prepared to go to court to defend that decision.
Board of Visitors unanimously endorses the University's continuing
commitment to recruiting and enrolling students of diverse talents
and backgrounds," said U.Va. Rector John P. Ackerly III in
a statement approved by the board at the close of its quarterly
two-day meeting. "The academic successes of its African-American
and other minority students are the envy of every major university.
The system works. We are prepared to defend it."
statement of support followed a month-long public debate about
whether U.Va. was considering dropping race as a factor in admission
decisions. Several weeks ago, President John T. Casteen III acknowledged
that the University had last spring dropped a scoring system that
could give academically qualified minorities an advantage in the
initial admission sorting process. The University did not, however,
abandon its commitment to maintaining diversity and will continue
to consider race as one of many factors in the admission process,
groups -- including faculty, students, members of the Charlottesville
City Council, members of the General Assembly, and the local and
state chapters of the National Association for the Advancement
of Colored People (NAACP) -- had voiced their support of the University's
admission policy, and pledged their support of Casteen, who in
an earlier letter to the University community had reaffirmed his
commitment to diversity.
of those supporters praised the board's action.
applauds the Board of Visitors' statement on the validity of U.Va.'s
admissions policies,˛ said David T. Gies, Faculty Senate chair.
"We believe that the review of those policies has been an
excellent way for us to confirm their value and to articulate
our commitment to diversity and equal opportunity. We agree with
Mr. Ackerly's statement that the system works' and enthusiastically
endorse the board's belief that it should be defended."
Julian Bond, University professor of history and national chair
of the NAACP, called the board's statement welcome news. "We
are pleased to have the University's commitment to a diverse student
body reinforced, and look forward to Virginia's continued placement
at the top rank of American schools."
going over the progress of the Scott Stadium expansion project,
which is on schedule, Casteen asked the board to approve an extension
of the two upper decks at the north end. Although the addition
will cost $7 million and only result in a net gain of 1,500 seats,
it will include needed restrooms, as well as about 200 more club
seats or eight to 10 more luxury suites. If the University waited
five years to finish these sections, the projected cost would
be $30 million, Casteen said.
Before passing the measure, several board members said they wanted
more information on the added value of club seats vs. suites and
requested a market study be done and reported to the board. Depending
on what is built, it may take a little longer to finish the expansion,
which is slated for completion by the Fall 2000 football season,
according to Mark E. Fletcher, associate director of athletics.
University won't pursue a downtown sports arena proposal and is
beginning fundraising to build its own facility, probably on a
site near University Hall, Casteen said.
summer, Charlottesville developer Lee Danielson proposed building
a multipurpose arena on a site between West Main Street and Preston
Avenue, just west of Ridge Street, to be shared by U.Va., the
city and perhaps a minor-league hockey team.
the University would prefer to erect a multipurpose facility accessible
to the student body on a daily basis, Casteen said. The downtown
site would be too far removed from Grounds for such use, and no
other tenants were lining up, he said.
believe those discussions have gone about as far as they ought
to at this point," he said, adding that he thinks a conference
center may still be a viable option for the downtown site.
The arena would likely be financed with a combination of private
donations, corporate support and bonds supported by student activity
fees and revenues, he said.
believe the opportunity exists to move forward with this facility
in the next couple of years," he said.
new arena will likely be built in a parking lot on Massie Road
across from University Hall. U-Hall, built more than 30 years
ago, will likely remain, but needs some structural work, Casteen
suffered a $200,000 operating shortfall in 1998-99, down from
mid-year projections of $500,000 but still "not acceptable,"
Director of Athletics Terry Holland said later in the Student
Affairs and Athletics meeting.
budgets have essentially been frozen this year, he said.
Part of the blame lies in complying with Title IX gender equity
requirements, which mandate increased spending on women's sports,
Holland said. Both women's and men's sports operate at a loss,
except for men's football and basketball.
financial situation is far from unique, Holland said. The University
of Michigan's athletic program lost $2 million last year, while
the University of North Carolina cut its spending across the board
and saw its Sears Cup ranking fall from among the top five in
the country to 17th. The Cup measures athletic programs' overall
success in NCAA championships.
for athletics needs will be one focus of a soon-to-be-formed fifth
Virginia 2020 planning commission, Casteen said. That commission
will also likely be charged with implementing many of the plans
to be proposed by the first four, which focus on the fine and
performing arts, international programs, science and technology,
and public service and outreach.
fifth commission, frankly, is where the rubber meets the road,"
he said. "Whether we succeed will depend largely on the fifth
2020 commission chairs give reports
its Educational Policy Committee meeting, the board heard reports
from the chairs of U.Va.'s four Virginia
2020 Planning Commissions.
and performing arts commission chair Robert Chapel said he had
three words for the board -- "buildings, buildings, buildings.˛
Without them, "U.Va. doesn't have a prayer of becoming a
major force in the arts world."
board took the first step toward improving the disparaging situation
of U.Va.'s arts facilities -- which include a "crumbling"
Hall, inadequate space at the Bayly
Art Museum, and the lack of a dance studio -- by approving
architectural design guidelines for renovating Fayerweather Hall.
project will convert the building from studio art space to art
history space, a move that will allow the art history program
to consolidate most of its offices, labs and exhibit spaces into
one building. The studio art program will move into temporary
space until a new building is built. The Fayerweather Hall project
includes the complete renovation of the space, the demolition
of its annex and construction of a small addition on the west
side of the building. The University has submitted a $4.6 million
general fund construction authorization request to the Governor
for the 2000-02 biennium.
also said he's learned from talking with other institutions strong
in the arts that "cultural life is as important as academic
Reporting on the work of the international commission's initiatives,
Brantly Womack said the commission plans to develop four areas:
opportunities for students and faculty abroad; an international
curriculum; assessment of "how we treat international students
and scholars" at U.Va.; and international institutional relationships.
In addition, the commission will create an appropriate organizational
vehicle to coordinate or guide the four areas of international
activities being developed.
Womack said the commission hopes to establish an international
living and learning center and language precinct near the French
and Spanish houses. He noted, too, that the commission's conference
on "Universalizing the University: New Challenges & Best
Practices," held on Grounds Oct. 14-15, will be available
soon online at http://faculty.virginia.edu/unitheuni/plen.html.
The web site will contain transcripts and streaming video from
each of the conference's plenary sessions.
professor Rebecca Kneedler, who chairs the Commission on Public
Service and Outreach, recounted five major points on which her
group is focusing. It is developing the first comprehensive, web-based
searchable databases of public service activities in which U.Va.
is involved. The commission is also assessing what benchmarks
other institutions use; defining the terms and scope of public
service; comparing U.Va.'s public service offerings with that
of other institutions; and deploying a strategic communications
are many definitions of public service vs. outreach," Kneedler
said. "We see public service as an application of scholarly
knowledge and professional expertise. ...Volunteer service does
not fall into this definition, but we are looking at it [too]
because our staff and students do a remarkable job of this, and
the lines do blur occasionally."
also said the University needs to develop local partnerships;
build an academic-based service program into its curriculum, complete
with awards and endowed chairs; devise a method "to evaluate
our public service˛; and "do a better job of listening to
her report, Anita Jones, chair of the science and technology commission,
said it was important for the University to focus on these initiatives
because "technology is the single greatest force of change
in society and wherever there's change, there's opportunity."
U.Va. must adapt to the new research landscape, where information
is being discovered and gathered, not by department, but across
disciplines, she said.
Systems Project approved
Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Leonard W. Sandridge
reported on the status of the Integrated Systems Project, calling
it "big and complicated, but crucial to the University."
The board approved the $58.2 million project, to be phased in
over the next 10 years. It will include the replacement of the
more than two dozen different technology and business systems
-- some of which Sandridge described as "30 years old ...
terribly inadequate ... and homegrown" -- with a group of
modern integrated software that will provide the infrastructure
necessary to support the University.
Sandridge reviewed in detail the 18-month study process that preceded
Saturday's proposal to the board. He then ticked off a number
of long-term intangible benefits to the University: increased
efficiency, accuracy and effectiveness of operations; improved
customer service; and better ability to adapt to growth and change.
Over time and across departments, the tangible benefit -- of savings
-- should amount to approximately $41 million.
Medical Center still tightening budget
Lawrence Fitzgerald, the U.Va.
Health System's new chief financial officer, reported to the
board for the first time, saying that although the Medical Center
had not been able to reach the desired 4 percent operating margin
(the difference between revenues and expenses) last year, it is
in a better position so far this year.
Expenses that were higher than last year's budget allotted for,
combined with greater-than-expected revenues that offset some
of the higher costs, resulted in a 2.3 percent operating margin.
For other hospitals in the national University Hospital Consortium,
the average operating margin was 1.5 percent, Fitzgerald said.
Medical Center continues to struggle with paying the high cost
of pharmaceuticals, and faces decreasing Medicaid support for
indigent care, resulting from the Federal Balanced Budget Act.
realize we can't do much with only a 2.3 percent operating margin,"
to enhance or develop new programs that might bring in future
revenues, Fitzgerald acknowledged. For the first two months of
the current fiscal year, however, the margin was up to 3.6 percent,
he said. To make 4 percent, the Medical Center will have to spend
$9 million less than last year.
the first quarter, $1.7 million has already been cut from this
year's budget, William "Nick" E. Carter Jr., senior
associate vice president for operations, told the board. The center's
managers, with the help of an outside consulting firm, continue
to look for cost reductions, while maintaining high-quality patient
The board approved the creation of three new professorships --
in nursing, law and commerce. The action increases the total number
of endowed chairs to 421.
first professorship at U.Va. to honor a female dean, the Jeanette
Lancaster Alumni Professorship in Nursing was established with
support from the Nursing Alumni Association and other donors.
the Law School the
Joseph C. Carter Jr. Research Professorship in Law was created
with support from more than 90 donors. Carter, a '51 alumnus,
is senior counsel at Hunton & Williams in Richmond.
C. Walker, who graduated from the McIntire
School of Commerce in 1977, has pledged $3 million to establish
a professorship for a faculty member in finance or management
who has a strong interest in growth enterprises.
Alice Handy, University treasurer,
reported that the value of the endowment as of Sept. 30 stood
at $1.217 billion. The fund returned 18.4 percent for the fiscal
year ending June 30, placing it in the top quartile among its
endowment peers of some 30 institutions.
Post-Campaign plans discussed
"Fiscal year '99 has been the best year ever for the campaign"
-- $197 million in new commitments, $30 million more than in other
years, Robert Sweeney, vice president for development,
told the board at its External Affairs Committee meeting. Sweeney
said he expects U.Va. to reach its $1 billion goal by Feb. 2000,
a full year ahead of schedule.
the end in sight, Sweeney asked, what do we do next? "The
$1 billion campaign has given us the ability to move this institution
to a position of preeminence, public or private, in the coming
Fitzgerald, associate vice president and director of development,
and David Ibbeken, professor and executive director of the Law
School Foundation, are heading up a post-campaign planning group
that is developing a 25-year fund-raising plan for the University.
stage is set. Don't draw the curtains. The encore promises to
be a great performance," Sweeney told the board.
Rebecca Arrington, Anne Bromley, Dan Heuchert and Carol Wood
of Visitors resolution on admissions