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ICYMI: Summer news blurbs

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Rector George Martin (above, fourth from the right) has outlined a more tightly controlled Board message through a stricter ethics policy. Former Rector Helen Dragas (above, far right) has resisted these changes, saying they would promote “an atmosphere of secrecy.”


University seeks new ways to ensure affordability

In June, the Board of Visitors announced the convening of a new subcommittee to “strengthen the University’s commitment to affordable excellence,” according to a University press release. Board member John Griffin, current vice chair of the Finance Committee, chairs the subcommittee. The subcommittee will seek to create a long-term financial framework for the University that will mitigate the need for annual tuition increases.

Additionally, the University is in talks with a bank to take out a $100 million loan to kickstart funding for its AccessUVA endowment, a decision announced by Patrick Hogan, the executive vice president and chief operating officer, at a July Board of Visitors finance committee meeting. The endowment was established last year following public backlash against cuts to the University’s need-based financial aid program. Hogan declined to name the bank the money would come from as University officials continue discussions.

Board of Visitors receives scrutiny over censorship plan

The Board of Visitors faced public criticism in August following the circulation of a draft statement of expectations restricting individual Board members from publicly speaking out against policies following a vote. “Once decisions are reached [by the Board] …Visitors shall publicly support, or at the very least not openly oppose, the Board’s action as a strong, visible consensus facilitates successful execution of policy and strategy,” it read.

A second draft of the statement removed this language. The revised draft now reads, “Visitors bear a collective responsibility to ensure, as much as possible, that the Board’s actions and decisions are successfully implemented.” Board member Helen Dragas expressed disapproval for both the original and revised statements. “While this latest draft document relies on milder, more conciliatory language, it still calls for a dangerous, unnecessary retreat from public accountability and relies on a fundamentally flawed premise — that the University should be governed like a private entity or an independent non-profit,” she said in an email.

Martin said the Board encourages candid discussion, but “we want to have those conversations in the boardroom, because that’s where we all benefit from different points of view.”

City moves to erect fence around train tracks near the Corner

The City of Charlottesville went forward with a plan this summer to construct a seven-foot solid metal fence around the train tracks that run through the Corner. The wall is set to stretch from University Avenue to Rugby Road and will eliminate a popular student short cut. Crossing the tracks has always been illegal, but it has nevertheless remained a popular path for students traveling between Elliewood Avenue and 15th Street. City officials said safety is the primary concern, and the plan received support from both the University and the railroad companies using the tracks. The $380,000 project is scheduled to be completed by the end of the summer, however no construction has begun.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe appoints four new members to the Board of Visitors

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced the appointment of four new Board of Visitors members in June. Dr. L.D. Britt of Suffolk, Frank M. “Rusty” Conner III of Alexandria, Barbara J. Fried of Crozet and John Granger Macfarlane III of Darien, Connecticut were selected for four-year terms which began July 1.

Britt is a professor of surgery and chair of surgery at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk and formerly served as rector of the Norfolk State University Board of Visitors. He is a member of the Jefferson Scholars Regional Selection Committee and received his bachelor’s degree from the University.

Conner is a partner with Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, D.C. and is the former chair of the Virginia College Savings Plan. Conner earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and a law degree from the University.

Fried is chair emerita and former general counsel and executive vice president of the real estate development and property management firm Fried Companies Inc. She is a director of the U.Va. Foundation and member of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership State Advisory Board. Fried earned a master’s degree in history from the University

Macfarlane is a managing partner of Arrochar Management LLC and the former COO and vice chair of the Tudor Investment Corporation based in Greenwich, Connecticut. He is a trustee and former chair of the Darden School Foundation, member of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Foundation and former chair and director of the University of Virginia Investment Management Company. He earned an MBA from Darden.

Four Visitors’s terms concluded June 30: Hunter E. Craig of Charlottesville, Marvin W. Gilliam Jr. of Bristol, Timothy B. Robertson of Virginia Beach, and Linwood H. Rose of Harrisonburg.

Charlottesville City Council approves new farmers market plan

Charlottesville City Council voted in favor of a plan to redevelop the area south of the Downtown Mall currently home to a pair of parking lots that hosts the popular City Market. The proposal, drafted by the developer Keith Woodard of Woodard Properties, would provide a permanent structure for the market surrounded on two sides by a nine-story L-shaped building that will be home to both residential and commercial rental space. The market space will serve 170 vendor stalls, with an underground parking lot beneath with 261 spaces for customers. Construction will begin pending further negotiations between the developer and Council.


Published August 20, 2014 in News







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