Oct. 11-24, 2002
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IN THIS ISSUE

NEWS BRIEFS
‘Genius Grant’ winner to speak at Convocation
Family Weekend packed with activities
If you “cannot live without books”
U.Va. changes banks
Town-gown solutions forum
Faculty invited to minority career day talk
Board establishes professorships
Board names buildings
G’day, art lovers
Virginia gets ‘B’ in nat’l report
See with a writer’s eye
For he’s a jolly good fellow
Benefits open enrollment
Another bridge over technology divide
Back to his roots
‘Brain Food:’ Students serve up a most excellent lunch
Who’s minding grandma?
Your right to safety
Hot Link: Faculty experts guide
Exhibits highlight Chinese, European art
College goes to ‘Net for advising, registration processes
New INS rules snare international students
‘The Secret Museum’ to explore pornography
Non-profit fair set for Nov. 13
Student-faculty dinners begin Oct. 17
Michelango‘s art explored on Oct. 24
In Memoriam

Budget cuts implemented
Biggest gift ever
Digest/Daily news about U.Va.
Headlines @ U.Va.

Making every drop count

LBT group offers compromise
15th annual Virginia Festival of Film
A voice for Africa
To our readers -- redesign of IUVA print version
Wylie’s ‘Stillwater’ runs through Oct. 27
Basketball ticket lottery
‘Waltzing the Reaper’
Infrastructure not glamorous but a vital part of bond package

Budget cuts implemented
Casteen’s action reduces budget by 15 percent immediately

By Dan Heuchert

With a two-year state budget gap last officially pegged at $3 billion and expected to grow, U.Va. President John T. Casteen III announced earlier this month that the University would go ahead and implement most elements of a worst-case budget-cutting plan submitted to Gov. Mark Warner.

Warner required state agencies to submit contingency plans reflecting 7, 11 and 15 percent cuts in state funding, and is to announce Oct. 15 his deficit-reduction plan. Casteen’s action implements the 15 percent plan immediately.

Midyear tuition: Board approves surcharge

Faculty view: Michael Smith, Faculty Senate chairman, urges increase

“It would be unwise and imprudent to delay taking inevitable steps to meet the level of these further eductions,” Casteen wrote in a memo to University faculty and staff.

He blamed years of short-sighted budgeting in Richmond for the current predicament. “By and large, the political values that gave rise to this scandal are now history,” Casteen wrote. “Yet the damage remains and must be acknowledged as a fundamental and untenable failure of political leadership.”

Whatever the cause, the effects upon the University have been striking. The new cuts in state funding, combined with the reductions already mandated by the General Assembly in the original two-year budget, approach nearly $100 million — “a historic level of insufficiency in state support,” Casteen wrote.

A hiring freeze has been imposed and is being strengthened. Students are finding fewer course offerings, larger classes and more temporary instructors. Libraries have shorter hours, computer printing is curtailed, and cleaning and maintenance have been reduced.

Thus far, the University has sought to avoid layoffs, furloughs or forced early retirements, and will continue to do so, Casteen said. But Leonard W. Sandridge, executive vice president and chief operating officer, warned in an e-mail to his managers following Casteen’s announcement, “It may become necessary to take those steps also.”

Faculty action thus far has been muted, but signs of discontent are growing. The faculty of the College of Arts & Sciences has called for a rare convening of the Assembly of Professors on Oct. 14 — an event that last occurred in 1990, at the height of the last state budget crisis.

In a memo calling for the assembly, Arts & Sciences faculty offered a litany of complaints: elimination of funds to travel to academic conferences, the use of temporary faculty, large classes, insufficient support for graduate students, and salary freezes. “We fear that once the University emerges from this crisis, it will take us years to regain our current standing,” they wrote. “In short, if these severe conditions persist, U.Va. could easily and quickly sink into mediocrity.”

While lauding the administration’s plans to raise private funds and dip into the endowment — and its efforts to support the proposed $900 million higher education bonds and push through a mid-year tuition surcharge — Arts & Sciences faculty argued that further steps are needed.

Among the options they put forward: dipping further into the University’s unrestricted endowment; pushing the state to pass an increase in the so-called “sin taxes” on alcohol and tobacco products, and perhaps other state taxes; and diverting fund-raising efforts away from the planned $128 million basketball arena and toward the “central educational mission of the University.”


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