Highlights from Board of Visitors fall session

Updates on safety, sustainability, renovation

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The Board of Visitors convened for its fall meeting last Thursday and Friday.

The Board’s eight committees met over two days to plan, review and discuss issues including University safety, sustainability, renovations, bicentennial plans and finances.

Safety

At the June 2014 Board meeting, nine institutional risk categories were identified. The Board reviewed measures taken to address these risks on Friday.

Among the changes were a new Ambassador program, a Corner police substation, safety technology updates and expanded after-hours transportation. The University Police Department is also finalizing the implementation of body cameras for all officers.

Awareness and prevention programs were introduced throughout last year, including bystander intervention programs Not on Our Grounds and Hoos Got Your Back and violence prevention program Green Dot.

The University also hired Title IX Coordinator Kelley Hodge, as well as Gabe Gates, assistant vice president for Clery Act compliance, and Catherine Spear, assistant vice president for equal opportunity programs.

Sustainability

The Board heard a report on sustainability practices at the University on Friday. Water usage has decreased by 4.5 percent since last year, and 32 percent since 2009. A new environment and sustainability track within the University’s Global Studies major was implemented, in which 45 students have enrolled.

The University was designated as a Green Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education last year, one of nine other universities in the country to receive a distinction that recognizes institutions for sustainability efforts.

Renovations

The Building and Grounds Committee heard an update on Friday on the status of renovation projects around Grounds at their Friday meeting.

Large-scale renovations to Gilmer Hall and the Chemistry Building are still in the design phase. Projects still in the planning phase include a renewal of Alderman Library and solutions to space issues in the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the McIntire School.

The Rotunda renovations project is expected to be completed during the upcoming summer, but the exterior portion of the renovation should be finished in time for the Class of 2016’s graduation.

The Board approved a motion to renovate researcher housing and replace a greenhouse at the Blandy Experimental Farm, a University-owned research facility about 90 miles north of Charlottesville.

The Board also welcomed the University’s newly appointed architect, Alice J. Raucher, who  comes to the University after eight years at Yale University.

Bicentennial plans

The Board reviewed on Friday plans to celebrate Oct. 6, 2017, the 200th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone in Pavilion VII.

The Board is breaking down bicentennial improvement into four quadrants, which include hiring faculty in greater numbers, creating need-based scholarships, developing programs to benefit students and the general public, and continuing renovation and building on Grounds.

Financial plan

The Board of Visitors' Finance Committee met Thursday to discuss the University’s six-year plan, which includes the possibility of faculty pay increases. In the next five to seven years, the Board predicts to hire over 500 tenure-track faculty.

With the exception of the 2012-13 academic session, the University in the past few years been below the AAU salary median by about 4 percent. Additional tuition increases would not take effect for a few years, meaning the University would need to find the funds to support faculty salary increases elsewhere.

The University Investment Management Company report was overall positive, showing a 7.7 percent return on investments in the last 12 months.

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