President Merten Hosts Town Hall Meeting on Budget Cuts

Posted: October 18, 2002 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Daniel Walsch

A possible midyear surcharge fee to students, continuation of a hiring freeze, and minimal layoffs are on the horizon for George Mason, President Alan Merten told a large gathering of faculty and staff members yesterday as a follow-up to an earlier announcement by Gov. Mark Warner about reducing the budget of all public colleges and universities.

Merten discussed the budget situation with a roomful of faculty and staff.

“This cut is painful,” Merten conceded. He added that administration proposals designed to help address this shortfall will soon be presented to the university’s Board of Visitors. “What we’re facing is serious, but by all of us continuing to work together we can protect the core of our institution,” he said.

In a statewide address on Oct. 15, Warner proposed that George Mason’s budget be reduced by 10 percent ($9.5 million) for FY 2003 and by an additional 12 percent ($12 million) for FY 2004. The governor’s decision is part of a concerted effort to battle the Commonwealth of Virginia’s nearly $2-billion revenue shortfall.

Other anticipated results of these budget cuts, Merten said, include larger classes, fewer sections of classes, and students likely taking longer to complete their degree programs.

Merten is hosting a series of town hall meetings to help instruct all employees about the current budget situation in the state and its impact on George Mason. Two more are scheduled for today, one at 9 a.m. in the Verizon Auditorium at the Prince William Campus and one at 12:30 p.m. in the Mason Hall Boardroom at the Fairfax Campus.

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