by Andrew Shurtleff
jobs at the University is a No. 1 priority, President Casteen
State budget in crisis
By Lee Graves
rankings are usually a cause for kudos at the University, but
the latest round of state budget cuts has put U.Va. in a spot
no one envies.
University is near the top of the budget hit list both
in terms of total dollars and percentages among public
colleges and universities in the state. Only the Eastern Virginia
Medical School must deal with larger percentage cuts.
officials at U.Va. have been anticipating the cuts with plans
for a mid-year tuition increase, department-by-department reduction
strategies and use of private funds to support core programs.
Gov. Mark R. Warner said last week that 1,837 full- and part-time
state employees would be laid off to reach his initial goal of
$858 million in reductions, U. Va. President
John T. Casteen III has made it clear that protecting jobs at
the University is a No. 1 priority. Earlier this month he authorized
implementing15 percent reduction plans prepared by University
departments with the exception of any proposal that may
involve layoffs, furloughs or some program of enforced early retirements.
call for tuition increase
By Carol Wood
than 400 University professors answered the call to gather
as a group for only the third time in the last half-century.
The topic: the state budget crisis.
came on Monday, Oct. 14, to send a strong message to state
legislators that higher education in Virginia is under attack
and that the University of Virginia could be in
danger of slipping into mediocrity.
are convinced that it is vital that we, the faculty, have
a forum to voice our concerns, frustration and hopes,
said politics department chair Robert Fatton Jr., setting
the tone for the evening.
We will voice some
criticisms, but we aim to be constructive. Tonight we will
speak plainly, but in a spirit of cooperation and collaboration.
were remarks by several faculty members who balanced reason
with despair over the current budget situation and how it
might harm the Universitys core academic mission.
This was not a new problem to many in the Chemistry Building
lecture hall who had weathered a similar storm.
Ramazani, University elder statesman and professor emeritus
of politics, pointed out that 10 years ago when an earlier
budget crisis struck, President Casteen called for
creative solutions from all members of the University
community, working together in the spirit of change and
innovation. That is what we are doing.
hammered home the harmful effects budget cuts already have
had on U.Va., specifically the almost year-long hiring freeze
in the College of Arts & Sciences.
offering some words of encouragement, said the University
is in a better position than many other institutions, partly
because of the way we are managed. But no matter how you
cut it, there will be a certain amount of difficulty for
the next three to four years.
He pointed to the newly created $6 million fund $4
million of which is from the unrestricted endowment
and the as-yet-undetermined tuition surcharge to be levied
at mid-year. Our plan is to put that money into a
central account to be used where we need it most
for University-wide academic needs. The most critical being
to protect jobs.
focus of the nights discussion shifted to two resolutions.
The first called for support of a tuition increase, the
second for suspension of planning for the proposed $128
million basketball arena.
Michael Smith, Faculty Senate chair and professor of government,
led the charge on the tuition resolution. Our goal
with this resolution is to start making the case for an
increased level of tuition, but it is only the beginning
of what we must do, he said. We have to persuade
the citizens of the state that the University is worth the
the popularity for the resolution was never in doubt, there
was loud support for the Assembly of Professors to be the
sponsoring entity, not the Faculty Senate. The resolution,
overwhelmingly approved by a show of hands, would come directly
from the assembly.
fell to religious studies chair Harry Gamble to make a case
for the second resolution asking the president and
the board to put the arena project on hold until academic
needs can be met.
the symbolic nature of the resolution, he said, While
many of us would be delighted to have top-10 athletics programs,
they are worth little until we have top-10 academic programs.
Maybe, someday, we can have both, but academics must come
triggered a lively, but civil, discussion as faculty alternately
supported and opposed the resolution. Some repeated the
mantras: We need our core mission to be academic.
If we stop raising money for athletics, maybe we
more to academics.
advised caution. Biology professor Robert Grainger, a former
Faculty Senate chair, said he believed taking on two resolutions
might be a mistake. We have set academics as a goal
and putting athletics into the mix confuses the issue,
he said. We came here tonight to make a point, and
we have a chance to make one point. Well discount
what we do if we focus on athletics.
was a palpable shifting of opinion in the ranks and a stalemate
appeared imminent when Casteen offered some background on
explained that he had laid several obstacles in the path
of the athletics department, first by delaying its last
campaign by five years so that the academic campaign could
get a head start, and second, by delaying an earlier promise
to build the arena. In addition, he limited the athletics
campaign to no more than 10 percent of the overall campaign
Casteen also explained that it was true some donors preferred
to give to athletics while others preferred academics, but
a large number split their gifts between the two. He said
a number of gifts could be jeopardized by the faculty action.
I ask is that you think seriously about this, Casteen
I am concerned about breaking faith with
donors who already have committed to this project and who
look on athletics as an important part of student life.
was 9:15, more than two hours into the meeting, and the
room quieted. Ramazani moved once again to the front of
the room. This has been a beneficial discussion and
we have shared concerns in terms of symbolism, said
the veteran of 50 years of University observations. I
think we can convey that concern to the Board of Visitors
without alienating other constituents.
assembly, he said, still could signal to the board its belief
that the Universitys core mission and No. 1 priority
must remain academic.
arena resolution was tabled, and the meeting came to a close.
also has designated $6 million to retain faculty, support graduate
students and protect core programs.
important to maintain key elements essential to academic excellence
at the University, Casteen said. As much as possible,
we must preserve the range of courses offered, the moderate size
of classes and access to our libraries. In addition, we must recognize
the valuable contributions of our classified employees in these
tough times. They are critical to sustaining quality in patient
care, teaching, research and dozens of other activities that are
essential to the Universitys mission.
Board of Visitors authorized
the mid-year tuition surcharge earlier this month. The amount
will be set by Leonard W. Sandridge Jr., executive
vice president and chief operating officer, in conjunction
with board members and the administration.
to figures released by the state last week, U.Va. faces a 13 percent
reduction in general funds, or $31.8 million, over two years in
the latest round of cuts (a $2 million prepayment in June brings
that total reduction to $33.8 million). That is higher than the
11 percent average among state higher education institutions and
more than the cut of 12.8 percent, or $10.3 million, targeted
for the College of William and Mary.
two-year total for U.Va. is broken down as follows: for the current
fiscal year, 2002-03, the academic division will receive $16 million
less in state general funds for a total appropriation of $127.9
million; next fiscal year, the reduction will be $17.8 million,
for a projected appropriation of $116.4 million. That doesnt
count further reductions that might be enacted by the General
cuts come on the heels of a $25.9 million reduction for the current
fiscal year, although that amount was partially offset by $12.1
million in additional revenue from a tuition increase that took
effect this fall. A $33.8 million reduction was already projected
for the 2003-04 fiscal year before last weeks cuts.
Universitys cumulative loss by the end of the biennium is
projected at $98.2 million since 2001-02. Looking at it another
way, the state general fund appropriation in 2003-04 will be 31
percent lower than two years earlier, when it stood at $166.3
most recent state cuts were revealed in a much-anticipated speech
by Warner on Oct. 15. He announced that the 1,837 layoffs were
necessary to address a two-year budget shortfall of at least $1.5
billion. The number of layoffs does not include higher education
acknowledged the cost of cutbacks in higher ed. The results
at all our colleges, universities and community colleges will
be larger classes, fewer course offerings and, for some students,
perhaps additional time in order to graduate.
budget crisis is cause for great concern around Grounds. In addition
to the Assembly of Professors on Oct. 14 (see story in box), the
devoted much of its meeting Oct. 10 to the issue. Casteen clarified
that while protecting jobs is vital, some staff positions may
be eliminated and employees could be reassigned to fill other
Block, vice president
and provost, also said he planned to make faculty retention
one of his focal points this year. While the University has lost
some key people, he said it has fared well overall in retaining