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Nichol letter addresses state-mandated budget reductions

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine announced recently that state agencies—including public institutions of  higher education—would be asked to make budget reductions to help fill in the state revenue shortfall of $641 million over the next biennium. The state asked the College to submit tentative plans for reducing William and Mary's budget this fiscal year by 7 percent, or $3.4 million. William and Mary President Gene R. Nichol sent the following message today to faculty, staff and students at the College.  —Ed.

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:

In recent days, Governor Kaine has informed Virginia's state colleges and universities--along with all other state agencies--that revenue shortfalls would require budget reductions in the current fiscal year. While Virginia's economy continues to grow, it does so less robustly than the Commonwealth's projections have indicated. So the College of William and Mary was asked to submit plans to cut some seven percent from this year's budget. We submitted a draft plan to do so late yesterday afternoon.

While we can't get into the specifics of these plans until the Governor has reviewed and released them, it's possible that their details may change--favorably--in the days and weeks to come. My colleagues and I on campus, at other institutions, and on the Board of Visitors are already working with the Governor and his staff in the important budget process just initiated. I note that the Governor has indicated, just today, the powerful role that higher education plays in the Commonwealth's future--and his strong support for it. A seven-percent cut, should it come, will make that value difficult to sustain.

Even the suggestion of cuts may be troubling for those who work so hard to press often meager resources to the full. We'll be working vigorously to preserve support worthy of our students, faculty, staff, and the communities and Commonwealth we serve. And we'll move, if necessary, to address whatever cuts do come in a way that protects the core values of the College. I'll be in touch with you as things develop.

Gene Nichol