This Week in Richmond

Posted: January 22, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

This weekly column, written by Thomas Hennessey, chief of staff to President Alan Merten, is published to keep the university community informed on the legislative situation in Richmond and how those developments directly affect George Mason.

As the General Assembly rolls into the final days of its first week, George Mason University was well represented in Richmond. On Jan. 15, Professors Chris Thaiss, Robert Smith, and Steve Ruth spent the day visiting with key members of the General Assembly. Their firsthand experiences with the budget reductions and the impact upon faculty and students made a powerful impression on legislators. On Monday of this week, Student Body President Sarah Godlewski led a group of six George Mason students who testified at the joint legislative budget hearing and visited key members of the General Assembly. Godlewski also made a presentation to the Northern Virginia delegation.

Members continue to submit bills in both houses. George Mason University submitted budget amendments to increase funding for enrollment growth, Prince William construction, and Fairfax infrastructure construction. Del. Vince Callahan, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and Sen. Chuck Colgan, ranking minority member of the Senate Finance Committee, were the “patrons,” or sponsors, of the amendments to the governor’s budget.

If the first week is any indication of what is to come, this session is likely to focus on the budget during the final weeks. Absent any additional revenue, the commonwealth will have no new funds for higher education.

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