Board of Visitors discusses budget at annual meeting
April 20, 2010
The College of William and Mary’s Board of Visitors discussed budgeting issues, the needs of students and new building projects at its annual meeting April 14 to 16.
Committee on Financial Affairs Chairman Charles Banks said that final budget announcements would not be made until later this week at the earliest. Accordingly, no final decisions were made on tuition or the budget at the meeting.
“It’s a little unusual where we are at this point in time,” Vice President for Finance Sam Jones ’75 said. “Our board meeting is slightly earlier than it normally is. The governor only on Wednesday released his suggested changes and amendments to the state’s budget, [and] we’re still digesting those changes … and of course the veto session is not until next week.”
Budget actions set forth by the Virginia General Assembly provide for a 3 percent bonus to faculty and staff salaries in 2011, if sufficient funds are available. Should the funds, which would total $82 million, not be available, a proportional amount of what is available will be given as bonuses.
The General Assembly also instituted a one-day furlough for 2010, which universities could forego if they found another way to raise the funds to cover the day.
“We found the $330,000 in additional savings or revenue to cover that, and so the president announced … that we were skipping on the furlough, that we are not going to cut everybody’s pay by that one day,” Jones said.
Jones said that, despite the worldwide financial crisis, the College’s finances have gone fairly well.
“The bottom line is we’re down almost $17 million in state support, so that’s about 32 percent reduction since all of this started,” he said. “We’re down about 12 percent when you have a total budget that includes not only state money, but [also] our tuition dollars.”
While out-of-state students are expected to provide 100 hundred percent of their cost at the College, General Fund Appropriations per in-state student have also been reduced dramatically from their 2000-01 high of $10,470.
“In current dollars on a per-student basis, we’re down about 32 percent [from 2001],” Jones said. “By  we’re down to less than $7,000 per student of state support … you do that on a constant dollar basis … we’re actually down about 48 percent.”
Base budget reductions, which total $8.152 million, have been distributed between 27.1 percent in staffing reductions, eliminating 32 positions on the main campus. A comparable number at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the Marshall-Wythe School of Law and the Mason School of Business were responsible for 11.6 percent of the budget cuts. The elimination of a 2008 salary increase provided 18.2 percent of the reduction, and 43.1 percent of cuts were in non-personnel operating expenses.
Despite the cuts, the committee remained positive about the effort put forth and the results which have stemmed from it.
“We haven’t had to do massive layoffs like a lot of universities, colleges and businesses around the United States, and we have been able to make continued investments for the future benefit of the College,” Banks said. “I think [Jones] and the people that work on this budget, adjusting the expenses over the past several years, have done a remarkable job at finding money.”
The committee also passed a resolution to reevaluate the cash management investment policy every three years, replacing the wording that had the policy being reevaluated “periodically.”
The Committee on Development and Alumni Affairs discussed the performance of the William and Mary Investment Trust — part of the endowment — which increased from $328.2 million in June 2009 to $369.7 million in Dec. 2009. The total endowment — which includes the investment trust, the Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Coca Cola fund, the BOV and the business school — increased from $494.8 million to $540.6 million over the same time period.
At the Committee on Student Affairs, Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler ’88 Ph.D ’06 discussed progress made on the department’s goals.
The first goal of Student Affairs was to revise the plan for assisting students with the transition from high school to college by changing the Preparing for Life as a University Student Program for 2010 and enhancing the focus on transfer students.
“We have a staff person at the dean of students office … specifically focused on transfer student needs,” Ambler said.
Ambler said she hopes to expand internship opportunities for students by focusing on adding internships to the Career Center database and developing a marketing plan for the new Cohen Career Center with the central theme of “W&M for a lifetime.”
Ambler also presented a report on the College’s Greek community, which summarized the findings of the Coalition Assessment Project’s report on Greek life at the College released earlier this year.
The Committee on Buildings and Grounds met to discuss planned improvements to facilities at the College and VIMS.
Construction at VIMS includes an 8,000 square-foot, $3.7 million Sea Water Laboratory, a 4,600 square-foot research storage facility costing $641,000, a $1.2 million shoreline erosion control facility and a 10,000 square-foot field support center costing $2 million.
“We’ll be turning dirt, and that will be coming out of the ground in the next month,” VIMS Dean and Director John Wells said.
Vice President for Administration Anna Martin gave updates on buildings currently being worked on at the College, including the nearly finished School of Education.
“The School of Education is coming along extremely well,” Martin said. “We’ll be moving people into offices the week after Commencement.”
Phase one of the renovations to Small Hall have been completed, renovations of Andrews Hall — which were slated to occur in 2002 but were postponed due to a lack of funds — are scheduled to be made. Tucker Hall will also receive funds for its renovations.
Martin also discussed renovations of the lodges to retrofit into an eco-village. Renovations for each lodge would cost between $200,000 and 300,000.