UVa Board of Visitors Spending Lots More Than Other Boards

By: Jessica Cunnington Email
By: Jessica Cunnington Email

August 6, 2012

The University of Virginia Board of Visitors spent over $125,000 last year just on food and travel expenses alone according to The Washington Examiner.

The biggest expense was for an annual retreat that in 2011, cost $34,000 and was held in Alexandria.

For the two-day conference in Alexandria, the money was spent mostly on food and the hotel stay. One dinner the 16 members had with Teresa Sullivan cost $4,400.

Some faculty and staff followed the story all day on Monday.

"I think everybody at the University is shocked that the Board of Visitors would be so audacious in spending so much money," said the Chair of the Media Studies Department, Siva Vaidhyanathan.

CBS19 put several calls out to the University for a comment but no one was able to respond on Monday.

Faculty and staff are not the only ones who have been talking about this. Students who heard the amount of money the Board of Visitors spent last year say they immediately think of their financial aid situation and college price tag.

"It's kind of unfortunate thinking about it especially the financial situation I'm facing here at UVa as well as my fellow classmates. I'm personally an out of state student without any aid so hearing that, I think about how much I'm struggling," said rising senior, Emily Scott.

Even putting financial aid aside, just the current state of the economy is enough.

"I think it's unfortunate that in a time that university budget is being cut and at a time that students, faculty and staff are all having to make additional sacrifices in order to remain part of the university community. Well, in fact the Board of Visitors should be taking the lead role in making sacrifices," PhD student, Matthew Burgess said.

Last years retreat cost $10,000 more than 2010's retreat. Some faculty members hope that on a state level they can dig deeper into this state university.

"I hope that Delegate Toscano and Senator Deeds end up looking into this and asking some hard questions about why the board is spending so much," Vaidhyanathan said.

He even made the suggestion of the board having an online conference instead of a retreat.

"They've been pushing us to do online classes for students so if it's good enough for the students of the University of Virginia, then it should be good enough for the Board of Visitors," he said.

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