Interim College President Taylor Reveley answered questions and discussed his plans for the College with students Wednesday night in an open meeting at the University Center’s Commonwealth Auditorium.
p. After former president Gene Nichol’s unexpected resignation Feb. 12, Reveley became the new, interim president of the College, leaving many to wonder what type of the leadership the College can expect as the BOV searches for a permanent replacement.
p. According to Reveley, who refers to himself as “Ip” (for interim president), the past three weeks have gone better than expected.
p. “There is really a need for healing, really a need for continuity, and really a need for making some progress again,” he said “We’ve been in crisis management mode for the past couple weeks.”
p. At the top of his priorities is finding the College funding for the College’s Gateway Program —which offers financial aid to low-income Virginia residents — and try to keep the Virginia General Assembly from cutting more the College’s budget.
p. According to Reveley, his efforts to expand the College’s coffers have only been met with “soothing words” from the General Assembly, who cut funding to the College by 6.25 percent last year.
p. Approximately 16.5 percent of the College’s budget comes from the commonwealth, and there is potential for further cutbacks as Virginia tries to relieve its debt, which exceeds $200 million.
p. Reveley said that he has received no financial pressure from the GA to direct the College in any particular direction over the next year, and that — although the budget may be tight — funding will go forward for the new School of Education building.
p. One student expressed her concern that Reveley he may be focusing too heavily on fundraising.
p. “No president worth his spit is just a fundraiser,” Reveley said, “Funds are really important… but I think an effective president in addition to … raising money … must be interested in every other aspect of the College.”
p. Reveley also said that universities with effective fundraising strategies do not adhere to a corporate model, as some on campus have feared.
p. At the beginning of the meeting, Reveley said the BOV’s visit to campus last week provided an important step in the healing of ties between the campus community and the board. He added that having a voting student, staff or faculty member on the BOV would be highly unlikely.
p. Throughout the meeting, Reveley consistently returned to the theme of rebuilding and re-unifying the campus.
p. “We’ve been caught up in [the media and] the national culture wars for 18 months,” he said, “It’ll happen, it’s just going to take awhile.”