Dear fellow students:
I hope everyone is having a successful start to this academic year! Whether you are new to the University or in your final year of study, it has been great seeing you around Grounds!
My name is Lillian Rojas, and I am the Student Member of the Board of Visitors (BOV) for the 2023-2024 academic year. The Board of Visitors is the highest governing body at the University, responsible for long-term planning and major decision making. The responsibilities of the Board include setting tuition rates, approving construction projects, signing off on academic and degree programs, passing the annual budget, and a variety of other things pertaining to the University, The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, and the University of Virginia Health System.
As Student Member, I serve to represent the more than 27,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in Charlottesville, Wise, and other areas of the Commonwealth. My role is to represent all students. Therefore, it is deeply important to me to understand and engage with all of the unique experiences and perspectives that form our community. I want to know what you think and what issues or concerns are most pressing to you so that I can best convey the needs and wants of students to the Board of Visitors. On that account, I hope you take the time to fill out this brief, anonymous, Microsoft Form, for any input you may have. As well, if you ever need anything, are looking to voice concerns, or simply just want to chat, please feel free to reach me through email. I am more than happy to speak with you.
Review of September Meeting
On September 13-15, the Board held its quarterly meeting. Highlights include:
- Academic & Student Life: The Board heard presentations from Deans Jennifer West and Christa Acampora and Brie Gertler and Katie Densberger from the Office of the Provost on undergraduate advising. The presentations introduced a new advising software partnership with Stellic, a program intended to assist students in their academic journey, specifically when planning out their path to meeting degree and graduation requirements. It will serve as a supplement to the Student Information System (SIS) and be implemented next fall.
- Buildings & Grounds: The Board approved design plans for a new Scott Stadium Videoboard and the Fontaine Central Energy Plant and Utilities at Fontaine Research Park. The Board also heard from Colette Sheehy, who announced that Alderman Library is on track to open after Thanksgiving break and in time for final exams season.
- Finance: The Board heard from Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer J.J. Davis, who laid out the University’s Six-Year Plan, which includes $2.9 million in expanded mental health services, the All Virginia Pilot Plan that aims to attract more underrepresented students, and the development of more in-person and online educational opportunities for working adults. The Board also heard updates regarding the tuition setting timeline. Undergraduate tuition and fees are set on a two-year basis by the Board, and this December, the Board will consider undergraduate tuition, fees, and room and board for the 2024-2025 and 2025-2026 academic years. In November, proposed tuition rates will be published, and a public hearing will be held where all students are welcome to voice their opinions. It is worth noting that the University is currently the cheapest option for a Virginian wishing to attend a top-50 school.
- Full Board: I invited Hamza Aziz, the Chair of the Honor Committee, to aid me in discussing the recent changes to the Honor System. Together, we reaffirmed the University community’s commitment to Honor by emphasizing that the multi-sanction referendum was an act of student self-governance at its finest, and that this change resulted from the student body’s commitment to upholding our Community of Trust. The Board also heard from Dr. Clayton Rose, a professor at Harvard Business School, and discussed the working relationship between the Board and President Ryan.
This University truly is a remarkable place filled with talented individuals who make incomparable contributions throughout their time here. In our continued effort to make this University Great and Good, it is essential that we embrace our differences and join together to overcome any challenges to maintain a strong University community.
As the year continues, I hope you will reach out to me and stay up to date on the Board. After all, this is your University. My role is to represent you. I am always here to listen and happy to assist you in any way I can.
Lastly, Happy National Hispanic Heritage Month! I encourage everyone to celebrate the countless contributions of the Hispanic and Latino communities from the baseball great, Roberto Clemente, to the first Latina Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor.
All the best,
Student Member of the Board of Visitors | 2023-2024
About the Board of Visitors
The Board of Visitors is composed of 17 voting members appointed by the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly, for terms of four years. In addition, the Board of Visitors appoints, for a one-year term, a full-time student and faculty member at the University of Virginia as non-voting members. The Rector and Visitors serve as the corporate board for the University of Virginia and are responsible for the long-term planning of the University. The Board approves the policies and budget for the University and is entrusted with the preservation of the University's many traditions, including the Honor System. The Board maintains offices in the Northwest Wing of the Rotunda and meets four times per year. Meetings are open to the public.
See a list of all Board Members.
Comments, questions, or concerns?
Contact Lillian Rojas, the 2023-2024 Student Member of the Board of Visitors at [email protected].