Provost Addresses General Faculty, Discusses Budget

Posted: March 14, 2001 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

The current state budget battle between Gov. Jim Gilmore and the General Assembly, and its impact on George Mason, dominated the discussion at the spring general faculty meeting held yesterday in the Johnson Center.

Provost Peter Stearns discussed the university’s current status before approximately 125 faculty and staff members. Speaking on behalf of President Alan Merten, who was attending meetings in Richmond, Stearns outlined two areas of concern – present and future – at George Mason: graduate enrollment and space utilization. The university, he noted, is experiencing a decline in graduate enrollment that weakens “our arguments for additional state support.” Additionally, with plans to construct more academic buildings on each of its three campuses frozen for at least one year by the governor, Stearns says the best utilization of space becomes a serious challenge for the George Mason community. One solution may involve the moving around of several academic programs.

Stearns also noted that as a direct result of the budget battles, there will be no salary increments for next year. “We are appealing these decisions but have no way of knowing whether we will be successful,” he says.

Despite the bleak budget picture, Stearns praised efforts by the faculty in the areas of research and teaching. “We have momentum. There continues to be a genuine aura about George Mason throughout the country. Two of our strengths are our faculty and the increasing quality of our students.”

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