Maybe they asked him what to do with their slush fund? It's good to work at a flagship university. From The Washington Post.
U-Va. set aside $2.2 billion for ‘strategic investments.’ A former board member calls it a ‘slush fund.’
Few public universities boast the financial strength to establish a special multi-billion-dollar fund for strategic initiatives, separate from their endowment. Yet that is exactly what the University of Virginia has just done, a financial move that could spur debate about spending priorities at the elite flagship. One prominent critic — a former board member — has accused the school of creating a “slush fund.”
U-Va. announced this week that it has set aside $2.2 billion for “strategic investments,” a fund expected to generate up to $100 million a year for proposed projects to be vetted by faculty and advisory committees and subject to approval from the governing Board of Visitors. That could mean spending on technology, lab equipment, faculty recruiting or student scholarships, among other ideas.
“To remain one of the top universities in the country, providing outstanding quality to our students, and to have outstanding faculty, we have to be making these kind of investments,” Patrick D. Hogan, U-Va.’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said Wednesday. “We want to be the number one public university in the country. It isn’t about rankings. It’s about having the best in academic experiences for our students.”
U-Va. is in an enviable financial situation at a time when many public universities are under budgetary strain. Its endowment, reported at $6.1 billion as of June 2015, is the 18th biggest in the country and one of the largest in public higher education. The strategic investment fund is separate from the endowment but will be managed in much the same way, with an annual payout of between 4 percent and 5 percent. Hogan said the fund was assembled from reserves built up over years that have ensured the university’s stability in running its academic and medical programs. He said $2.2 billion represents about what it would take to cover U-Va.’s academic and medical center expenses for nine months. That is a healthy but necessary cushion for such a major enterprise, he said.