U.Va. needs less privatization, more accountability

Source: Helen E. Dragas, News Leader, July 7, 2016

Yet since 2009, the university has raised in-state tuition by 74 percent, cut grant aid to the poorest Virginians, formed an administrative committee to explore secession from the state, hired a private university governance consultant for $200,000, spent more than $100 million on financial aid to out-of-state students, raised the net price for some Virginia families to subsidize others, and proposed gagging board members from talking to legislators, the press and the public. Thousands of Virginia students who seek admission are denied a coveted spot every year. The University of Virginia is slowly being privatized. … Gov. McAuliffe and the General Assembly should make strengthening transparency and accountability a priority for the 2017 session through a few simple measures. First, they should ensure that the women and men appointed to serve our public colleges understand and pledge to uphold their primary duty to Virginia citizens. Requiring significantly more rigorous orientation and training delivered by independent, objective sources would help board members see through a wider lens than that of administrators. Having witnessed abuse of Virginia’s sunshine laws by out-of-state appointees in order to increase in-state tuition by double digits, I believe legislators should stipulate that only Virginians be allowed to serve as board officers and chairs of certain critical committees. …