Mason Budget Situation Dominates BOV Meeting

Posted: September 20, 2002 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Though not an action item, the state budget crisis and its possible impact on George Mason dominated the Sept. 19 Board of Visitors (BOV) meeting.

President Alan Merten shared his concern with the situation and anger at the potential “damage” it will do to the overall effectiveness of the university. He anticipates that George Mason will learn sometime in October how much Gov. Mark Warner proposes to cut from its budget. The expectation is that it will be between $7 million and $15 million.

In a presentation to the BOV on the impact of the anticipated cuts, Senior Vice President Maurice Scherrens identified 10 major issues or categories that will be affected: admission of students; student access to the university; services to transfer and minority students; the biodefense and bioinformatics programs; classroom instruction; technology and support services; the physical plant infrastructure; the university’s economic development efforts; and the university’s outreach efforts.

Scherrens noted that one aspect of the university’s budget that will not be reduced, regardless of how much is cut, is student scholarships. It was incorrectly reported in today’s edition of the Washington Post that “all scholarships” will be eliminated.

It is administration’s argument to the governor, Scherrens noted, that George Mason should not be subjected to severe budget cuts because of the institution’s student growth, the fact that historically it has been under-funded, and due to the key role it plays in Northern Virginia’s economy. The entire BOV embraced this strategy.

Following the presentation, the BOV agreed to next meet in a working session as soon as the university receives Warner’s directive as to how much will be cut from its operating budget. At this meeting, specific budget cut reductions strategies will be determined.

Write to at