Gilmore Cuts Budget 6 Percent, Prompts Hiring Freeze

Posted: December 20, 2001 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

In the wake of Gov. James Gilmore’s announcement yesterday that nearly $1 billion in spending cuts should be imposed upon all state agencies, George Mason University ordered an immediate hiring freeze until Jan. 15, 2002. This freeze, as announced by Provost Peter Stearns, applies to academic and non-academic positions.

Gilmore also said colleges and universities should have the flexibility to raise tuition $100 per student per semester. This proposal along with the outgoing governor’s entire budget announcement will be discussed and ultimately acted on by Governor-elect Mark Warner and the General Assembly.

In a statement yesterday, Stearns said, “It is unclear if the university will be able to offset any of this reduction with a tuition increase. By January 15, each unit, academic and operational,

must report its personnel budget for the next fiscal year if no additional hiring is done. At that point, we can begin making decisions about exceptions to the freeze, particularly in light of enrollment growth needs. We anticipate that some new offers can at that point be authorized, but on a case-by-case basis.

“Exempted from the current freeze are short-term hires, within this fiscal year, including adjuncts for spring semester. Advertisements and interviews for longer-term positions can also continue, with the usual caveat about subjection to budget availability.

“Many changes on budget forecasts are possible over the next months, and the university’s trajectory continues in most ways to be positive. But we clearly need to be prepared for some short term stringency.”

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