Dr. Edward Miller recently announced his resignation from the University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors, citing steep tuition hikes and declining research dollars as reasons. He distributed a statement on his resignation, which you can read below.
“Though I have enjoyed the people I met and applaud the good work of many, I can no longer support the direction the University of Virginia’s leadership continues to pursue. On March 15, 2015 I submitted a letter of resignation from The Board of Visitors to the Governor of Virginia, effective June 30, 2015. It has been accepted.
I do not believe I have been able to bring any of my expertise in academia, health care, or research to the University.
Since I joined the Board, I have questioned the research funding declines that occur year after year. Since 2010 we have seen a $90 million decrease. The University has fallen out of the top 50 institutions in NIH funding from number 21 several years ago. And we have experienced a precipitous slide in specialty clinical rankings–but this information is kept hidden from the Board. How can a University call itself a great research University when it ranks so low in the nation? To date, no concrete action has been taken to address this issue.
And year after year, I have implored the administration to put an end to tuition increases that mire Virginia’s students and families in a mountain of unnecessary debt. And no matter what anyone says, the latest decision to increase tuition by 23 percent over two years was not done in a transparent manner. To have such a colossal tuition hike and the plan behind it presented at the very last moment to the entire Board and the public was totally unacceptable. I don’t understand why the faculty isn’t protesting this time.
Looking at tuition alone without addressing other issues is simply poor business management. A long-range plan is vital in order to understand the true financial status of the University, but the administration has failed to provide a viable one.
With a nearly $6 billion dollar endowment and a faculty that can and should bring in more research dollars, we could have kept tuition and student aid at responsible levels. Sadly, that did not happen, and the only thing the administration has done during my time on the Board of Visitors is mortgage a significant part of the Commonwealth’s academic future.
I join my colleague, Helen Dragas, and student groups in calling for the General Assembly to demand a reversal of this decision.
Higher education continues to believe it does not need to live in the real world. For the sake of Virginians, it must.”