MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – As West Virginia University launches a new mission statement, the uncertainty of budget cuts still lingers setting some of the tone of a Board of Governors meeting.
“Obviously we thought we would get some sort of budget cut. The governor proposed a 4.4 percent cut which would have been around $6 million which we didn’t like. But, we knew it would have to be something, but the ultimate budget cut WVU around $15 million which is more than we think is warranted,” explained Rob Alsop, vice president for legal, governmental affairs and entrepreneurial engagement.
He spoke at Friday’s meeting in the Rhododendron Room of the Mountainlair.
“You know, our board and faculty and staff are concerned. They want to see a budget for stability,” added Alsop.
Alsop said as lawmakers remain divided on a state budget that would address a $500 million deficit it could be June before the University learns of the amount of state support it would receive in the fiscal year beginning July 1.
“We’ve been telling our legislators and certainly working with the governor’s office to try to get a budget that has more of an investment in WVU and watching it play out.”
WVU President Dr. Gordon Gee opened his remarks to board members saying, “We’re going to lead in education, and we’re going to lead in health care and we’re going to lead in developing prosperity.”
The university’s mission to “lead transformation through partnership” is based on five values including service, curiosity, respect, accountability and appreciation.
“As a land-grant institution,” the mission statement says, “the faculty, staff and students at West Virginia University commit to creating a diverse and inclusive culture that advances education, healthcare and prosperity for all by providing access and opportunity; by advancing high-impact research; and by leading transformation in West Virginia and the world through local, state and global engagement.”
The final board meeting of the academic year included remarks from a faculty representative.
Stan Hileman, a professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology in the School of Medicine, reported comparisons with faculty salaries at other Big 12 schools. He said WVU faculty salaries are mostly lower and it would take a 4 percent annual increase over the next decade to eliminate the discrepancies.
Meanwhile, the university overall is looking to Charleston for financial backing as well.
“We’re not asking for more than we got last year. We’re just asking to be stabilized. We think we’re a strength to the state,” Alsop said.
The board also ratified a term sheet agreement with KVC Health Systems Inc. regarding the use and potential eventual sale of property in Fayette County being vacated by WVU Tech’s move to Beckley.