Mason’s Budget Challenges Dominate Fall Convocation

Posted: October 2, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Daniel Walsch

Current and projected budget challenges for Mason were the primary topics of discussion at the university-wide 2008 fall convocation held Oct. 1. Senior Vice President Maurice Scherrens announced that Mason could experience budgets cuts totaling approximately $18 million.

The Commonwealth of Virginia, he explained, has a major revenue shortfall that is forcing it to impose budget cuts on state agencies, including all state colleges and universities.

Mason and other state entities expect to learn what their exact cuts will be by Oct. 15. This information, Scherrens said, will be communicated to the campus community as quickly as possible. All university units will then be asked to initiate cost containment strategies possibly totaling as much 3 percent each. Additionally, the administration will begin assessing central strategies that might include increasing student fees.

Scherrens emphasized that because the exact amount Mason will be asked to cut is not yet known, specific strategies have not been determined.

“It is important for us to remember that this is a challenge we all face and that we will deal with together,” he said.

Provost Peter Stearns also discussed the university’s recently completed Strategic Plan for 2014. The primary components of the plan include continuing growth in research, building on lifelong learning initiatives, maintaining accessibility for students from various socioeconomic backgrounds, and promoting global education. Members of the university community may view a complete version of the plan by going to the Office of the Provost web site.

In opening and closing remarks, President Alan Merten thanked members of the university for their efforts in bringing “such success to our institution” and encouraged everyone to continue to work together to keep the university strong.

The convocation may be viewed at

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