Democratic State Senators Chap Petersen and Scott Surovell have issued the following press statement regarding the $2.3 billion UVA Slush Fund, demanding a strict tuition freeze at the University of Virginia (the “Gilmore Rule”) until an appropriate investigation can be conducted.
The killer line? Comes from Petersen himself:
“Let’s not hide this as a ‘personnel matter,'” Petersen said, “this goes to the fundamental purpose of the university.”
Ouch — and this officially makes the concern both deeply felt and intrinsically bi-partisan in Richmond.
Senators: Freeze Tuition at UVA Until We Can Figure Out What’s Going On
RICHMOND, Va. – Senators Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) and Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax) are calling for an immediate freeze in tuition at the University of Virginia (UVA) after disclosures that the university has accumulated a $2.3 billion operating surplus, now titled a “Strategic Investment Fund,” that is significantly larger than the Commonwealth’s own cash reserves.
Both senators agree the money, which the university admitted arises from its operating accounts, should be returned to Virginia students and families through lower tuition.
“It is incumbent upon the board [of visitors] to place a moratorium on tuition and fee increases, effective January 1, 2017, until such time it can determine a plan to appropriately reduce the unauthorized surplus in public funds,” the senators wrote in their letter to UVA Rector William H. Goodwin Jr.
“We need to, a minimum, freeze tuition until we can figure out what’s going on with this $2.3 billion dollars,” Senator Petersen said from his office in Fairfax City. “There is no reason to have a surplus of operating funds, at least of that size, unless you are systematically overcharging for services.”
“The most appropriate policy would be freezing or reducing tuition at all of the university’s schools including graduate programs until this reserve is reduced to a more appropriate level,” Senator Surovell stated in the letter.
The senators also stated that UVA should discuss the $2.3 billion surplus, and any changes to tuition or fees, in an open and public manner: “Let’s not hide this as a ‘personnel matter,'” Petersen said, “this goes to the fundamental purpose of the university.”
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