Budget cuts implemented
Casteens action reduces budget by 15 percent
By Dan Heuchert
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.
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. Casteens action implements
the 15 percent plan immediately.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Casteens announcement, It may become necessary to
take those steps also.
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.
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.
lauding the administrations 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.
the options they put forward: dipping further into the Universitys
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.