BOV vote on changes to campus, discuss budgets
BY MICHAEL EBERHART
The Board of Visitors met for the first time in three months March 2 in Merten Hall.
The meeting consisted of voting on several changes to campus and discussing certain topics including housing, meal plans and campus renovations.
- The Board of Visitors voted to increase rates for room and board for Fiscal Year 2018. Average housing costs for Mason students will increase by 2.5 percent, and dining fees will increase by 1.5 percent.
- President Cabrera said the upcoming Fiscal Year 2018 Senate-amended budget will include an expected 3 percent raise for classified staff and 2 percent for faculty. There is potential for another 1 percent faculty raise if the university can secure fundraising support.
- The Board of Visitors Continuing Education Materials noted that this compensation for faculty and staff will be self-financed by the university as part of approximately $40 million in unfunded state and federal mandates. The President mentioned that this could require “tough conversations” about tuition to be resolved.
- President Cabrera emphasized the continuing importance of international students on campus, despite difficulties they may have faced in recent months with Trump’s travel ban. Cabrera added that Mason should be “celebrated as a university not for the few, but for the many.” International students are 7 to 8 percent of current enrollment, but the university will work to double that number in the future.
- The Board also voted to move forward with plans for renovations to the Mason Global Center, Bull Run Hall on the Prince William campus and Hazel Hall in Arlington.
- Other changes approved by the Board included renaming the Volgenau School’s Master of Science in Computer Forensics degree to Master of Science in Digital Forensics and Cyber Analysis and changing the Master of Science in Health and Medical Policy program to the shorter Master of Science in Health Policy.
- The Research Committee reported that Mason researchers experimenting with treatments for antibiotic-resistant bacteria have discovered new wound-healing properties in blood samples taken from alligators, crocodiles and Komodo Dragons. This research into synthetic peptides has promise for future classes of new drugs and interest from government defense agencies, the committee members said.