Casteen discusses employee
issues, academic mission
by Andrew Shurtleff
John T. Casteen III
By Anne Bromley
University will weather the states financial woes and emerge
stronger, as it did in the 90s during the states last
budget crisis, said President
John T. Casteen III in his annual address April 24. Speaking to
faculty, staff, administrators and students in Old Cabell Auditorium,
Casteen discussed several topics that have interested the
University community in recent times and that seem to me to be
serious matters for the present and the future salary
issues, budget cuts and future plans.
values that were part of Thomas Jeffersons dream in founding
the University have enabled it to evolve as times have changed,
he reminded members of the University community. U.Va. will continue
to offer an education to talented students against the backdrop
of human freedom because todays knowledgeable students become
founder believed that free minds are the seed bed of free nations,
Therefore, students and their experience remain the primary commitment
of all who work at U.Va. Besides conducting curriculum and other
reviews of the student experience, the University is expanding
research and international opportunities for students, reflecting
U.Va.s place in the global community, he said.
the General Assembly just adjourned, Casteen said all of
the pieces are finally on the table and we can assess the damage
done and the remedies available. I am convinced that the crisis
state cuts from general funds of $25 million in the next fiscal
year, which begins July 1, and $33 million the following year,
U.Va. will set aside money to give an average 5 percent raise
to faculty who have been promoted or received tenure. This will
aid in retaining faculty whom U.Va. may be at risk of losing to
hard to identify where we might be at risk. We must ask deans
and department heads to tell us, Casteen said.
faculty teaching and administrative will be eligible
for an average 2.5 percent bonus payment based on merit.
the state freeze lifted, increasing tuition by 9 percent will
replace about half of the appropriation cuts coming in the next
biennium. Casteen acknowledged, however, that for the students
these increases are real, and they matter to those who must
budget the dollars to pay for them.
a result of the budget cuts, vacancies in 26 faculty and 20 graduate
teaching assistant positions will not be filled. That will put
pressure on class size and availability, Casteen said. As the
University seeks ways to increase graduate student support, it
will also be one of the top features in the next fund-raising
has sought to protect classified employees from layoffs, but 35
positions will be eliminated through attrition, he said. In lieu
of salary increases, classified staff will get a 2.5 percent bonus
or 10 additional days of paid leave, or a combination of the two
options, in August. The Medical Center has also made the commitment
to give the same bonus to its employees.
also addressed the call for increasing wages of contracted workers,
saying the situation is more complicated than has been portrayed
and the University cannot require companies to pay their employees
a certain wage.
factors, including the cost passed on to the students and patients
who ultimately pay most of the bills for contractors services,
figure in contracting out work. We look for fair prices, high
quality and certainly for contractors with a track record of fair
treatment of employees, he said. While the University will
continue to monitor these factors, Casteen suggested that organizers
try other avenues, such as going to the General Assembly, the
state attorney generals office or directly to the contracted
mentioned that the controversial planned parking garage between
Emmet Street and Ivy Road is an essential adjunct to some of the
key capital projects, such as a new basketball arena and a performing
arts center. Although he sympathized with Lewis Mountain Road
neighborhood residents, he said he didnt know of a better
choice and that the University will do all that it can to alleviate
positive aspects of the current financial scenario, he said, include
the capital bond referendum the legislature approved, as well
as continued high levels of private support. The $1.2 billion
bond package addresses critical infrastructure needs that
will support key academic projects.
saving grace now, as in the last state crisis, is private fund-raising,
Casteen said. Philanthropy is not a panacea, and all but about
3 percent of donations come with strings attached, he explained.
plans and aspirations for the future: to expand interdisciplinary
and study-abroad programs, to develop efforts that support and
promote diversity; to advance in the sciences and technology and
to become a center for the arts.
made a point of thanking the University community alumni,
students, faculty, staff, employee councils, neighbors, the Board
of Visitors and members of the advisory groups for their
suggestions and comments that have been remarkably useful
and often simply brilliant.
am grateful to you and awed by your determination and courage
and aspirations. Each of us counts, each member of the University
has a role in building for today and tomorrow.