State Directs Mason to Trim Budget by Five Percent

Posted: August 28, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Robin Herron

In response to Virginia Gov. Timothy Kaine’s directive last week that state agencies reduce their operating budgets due to a $641 million revenue shortfall in state coffers, Mason will soon be making cuts throughout the university, administrators have announced.

Secretary of Education Thomas R. Morris has told the university it must reduce expenses by 5 percent, according to Mason Senior Vice President Maurice Scherrens. This translates into a permanent $7 million cut for Mason.

Some other universities in the state have been told to reduce their expenses by as much as 7.5 percent, he notes.

Specific budget cuts will be determined by deans and directors and unit heads, Scherrens says. “There will be no position freezes and no restrictions on travel expenditures” mandated by the administration, he says.

“We expect that the cut will be well under 5 percent as it filters down to the units,” says Scherrens. “We don’t foresee any unit having to cut more than 2 percent.”

Sponsored research programs and auxiliary enterprises are not affected, and the cuts apply only to the portion of the university’s budget that comes from the state.

Administrators do not expect the planned salary increases for November to be in jeopardy.

“These are serious cuts,” says Provost Peter Stearns, “and they raise concerns about the state’s funding mechanism. But they are at a level that won’t seriously detract from the university’s momentum.”

Scherrens adds it is likely most units will partially offset the reductions by deferring filling vacant positions.

Details of the process will be communicated by the end of this week to unit heads who can then determine the best means of communicating specific strategies to their staff.

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