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A UVa panel is pondering the idea of more autonomy from state government.
Friday, September 13, 2013
It’s appropriate for those who teach, learn and lead at the University of Virginia to consider how Thomas Jefferson might view future plans for the institution he considered one of his greatest legacies. No doubt he’d be a bit forlorn at the thought that his university might one day seek greater autonomy from the commonwealth he called home.
But his disappointment would be directed less at university leaders seeking to preserve UVa’s dual mission of excellence and accessibility than it would at the state legislators and governors — he served stints in both jobs — whose fickle support for public education in general and higher education in particular has led to the current predicament.
A university panel has drafted a preliminary proposal under which the institution would shift more formally to an autonomous model. President Teresa Sullivan reassures that she is committed to a public mission, but acknowledges that the definition is changing as public support remains paltry.
As the UVa community struggles with questions raised by the report, its leaders will surely wonder WWTJD? We hope state lawmakers and the next governor will ask themselves the same question as they prepare their next budget.
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