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President discusses politics

By John Ashby

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 07 - October 6, 1994

President Paul Torgersen told the Faculty Senate at its first regular meeting September 20 that Gov. George Allen was "determined to return government to the people. What you see in the parole system, what you see in appointments to boards of universities, what you see in appointments to positions across the commonwealth are people who the governor and his staff feel are fairly conservative."

Torgersen said it's awkward to get caught up in this political process. "I'm not sure I want to get caught in the middle of this. On the other hand, I have been asked by Senator (Hunter) Andrews to testify before the joint committee of the House Appropriations and the Senate Finance committees. Specifically, this is in regard to the governor's agenda for prisons and the incarceration of prisoners." Torgersen said he has been invited, however, to "share with us the capital needs of Virginia Tech and the operating needs to accommodate the anticipated surge in enrollments."

Torgersen said he intended to point out that Virginia Tech has been severely disadvantaged over the last five years, and that any further cuts would greatly affect our ability to offer a quality education.

He discussed how the university had lost much of its attractiveness to out-of-state students because of rising tuition costs, and damaging outside perceptions of higher education in general. "But I am optimistic that reason will prevail and that the importance of higher education to the commonwealth will be recognized."

In a question-and-answer period following his remarks, Torgersen said, in regard to the request for budget-cut plans, "there is no contingency plan to cut any college. I will let Minnis (Ridenour) and Fred (Carlisle) deal specifically" with responding to the request.

Torgersen said higher education is "struggling all over the country. But we're going to get through it. "There's so much that's good at this university."

The senate also heard the past president's address by David de Wolf and passed a resolution honoring former dean Richard Talbot. Talbot was killed September 8 in a plane crash.