Students voice opinions at campus forum
September 24, 2010
An informal discussion forum hosted by College of William and Mary President Taylor Reveley and Rector Henry C. Wolf allowed students and community members to voice concerns and questions to the College’s leaders.
The event, held in the Sadler Center, reached standing-room-only capacity, as the room was filled with administrators, students, police officers, alumni and faculty.
At the informal discussion, Reveley and Wolf were asked many questions about College workers’ rights. The majority of questions were asked by students who are members of the Tidewater Labor Support Committee, concerning the pay scale and work level of housekeepers.
“[Reveley’s] salary is $332,100,” TLSC member Maggie Russolello ’11 said. “If you took 1.5 percent of that and put it into the $18,000 salary of William and Mary’s workers, that would drastically change their wages.”
Reveley said his salary is low compared to other Virginia college presidents’ salaries, and that the College is planning to implement a 3 percent bonus in November. He added that the wages of housekeepers at the College are higher than those at most Virginia colleges, and that no employee has received a wage increase in the past five years.
“The era of state support is over, and tuition is going to keep going up,” Reveley said. “The first thing we are going to do once we have more money is put it into the people. People never agree on distribution — they never do. Taking my salary and putting it into workers’ wages would be incumbent for workers and ignore other things that also need financial help.”
Wolf agreed, noting that Reveley has declined an increase in salary twice in the last 10 years.
The lack of resident parking spaces was another issue addressed by students, some of whom suggested that day student parking spaces become resident parking spaces after a certain hour. Both Reveley and Wolf said they thought the proposal would be hard to enforce, but suggested students direct their concerns to the administration.
“I don’t see any alternative solution to making more parking spaces unless we have more money and more land,” Reveley said. “Students have to realize that just because they bought a parking decal, it doesn’t mean you will get a parking space.”
When asked to comment on the College’s sustainability program, Reveley said that a lack of available funds is making expansion difficult.
Reveley responded to questions about the addition of “gender identity and expression” to the College’s anti-discrimination policy. However, he said he was unable to give a specific date for its inclusion. Reveley said that Virginia Attorney Gen. Ken Cuccinelli’s letter to institutions of higher education about their inability to prohibit gay discrimination has slowed the process, but it has not abated the College’s desire to change its anti-discrimination policy.
Katie Wood ’14, who attended the forum, said she felt it provided a good opportunity for students to have their voices and views heard.
“I definitely see the forum as a good communication tool and hope to see more in the future,” Wood said.