Staff Editorial: College must fight budget cuts

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September 26, 2008

1:47 PM

Monday was the worst day for the U.S. economy in two decades and few — including the College — will be spared from penny-pinching in the coming months. The College’s already-puny endowment is reeling from the poor economy (the endowment fell 1 percent from last year), and the worst may be yet ahead: The commonwealth is readying a round of budget cuts that can seriously harm the College’s ability to educate. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and the Virginia General Assembly should do all they can to protect the College and other institutions of higher education from further budget cuts.

The safest investment Virginia can make is in higher education. Colleges and universities are training the future backbone of the world economy, and in an increasingly globalized and competitive world, the commonwealth — and the country — cannot afford to sacrifice long-term academic progress for short-term economic relief.

But right now it looks as if the College is in for a heavy blow. This week, Kaine asked College President Taylor Reveley for a plan that would prepare for cuts as high as 15 percent, or $7.35 million. That’s a serious and harmful proposition, and we urge Reveley, the administration and students to do all they can to prevent such a drastic cut. President Reveley: Send all available officials to Richmond to lobby for the College’s cause. Students: Write to the General Assembly and tell them that the College cannot afford any more budget cuts.

The College, already on a limited state budget, is one of the most efficient institutions in the entire commonwealth, consistently ranking as academically competitive with much wealthier universities. That efficiency should be rewarded. The College and the state’s institutions of higher education should bear the least burden for Virginia’s economic woes.

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