Lunch with the President—updated

So President Casteen came to lunch. A few interesting bits. Apparently the General Assembly continues to cut funding for education, after what Casteen characterized as exceptionally stupid budgetary decisions in the late 1990s (*cough* repeal property tax *cough*). So public funding for Virginia is going from 12% of the budget down to about 7% over the next two years, and tuition, which has been capped in-state at $4,500 a year since about 1995, is going to rise over the next four years to about $7,500 a year. (To which I say, after having paid about four times that a year for my graduate degree, So what???) Anyway, the school is going to continue to work at becoming self-sufficient.

Other stuff of interest: one silver lining with the whole Pep Band/WVA flap may be that it raises interest in why Virginia has no marching band, namely (among other reasons) the lack of emphasis on the performing arts; another residential college is planned, to abut the new basketball stadium (which will also allow rock concerts, apparently. And there will be a new contracted promotional agency, resolving the painful PK German situation once and for all). And there will be another capital campaign to grow the endowment so the school can go completely to self sufficiency. Anyway, other than running into Monica Nixon, that was about it.

Last thoughts on “astroturf”

I’m letting the “astroturf” issue drop. For one thing, it’s not true astroturf—that is, it doesn’t represent some agency planting fake “grass roots” letters in newspapers around the country under phony names. Instead, it’s a letter writing campaign—one made transparent by Google, but a fairly normal occurrence nonetheless.

Greg pointed out yesterday that this sort of thing is fairly common practice on both sides of the aisle, and takes blame, or credit, for having done the same thing in support of environmental causes. I like his parting thoughts:

More citizens need to learn how to discern the difference between a real groundswell and the scripted kind. Politics would be healthier for it.