A few months ago, a furor erupted when a University of Virginia committee proposed privatizing the institution. The General Assembly thundered, while well-heeled alumni cheered. President Teresa Sullivan quickly dampened the controversy with a firm denial.
Although the topic has been banished from the Grounds, Virginians who value the university’s public character still have reason for concern. Pushed by the General Assembly’s long-standing underfunding of higher education, U.Va. has taken steps converting it to the commonwealth’s first PINO university — Public In Name Only.
As elected officials duck financial responsibility and tuition soars to compensate, admission to U.Va. is increasingly limited to those who can pay, sons and daughters of the wealthy. Gentrification of higher education is a reality in the Old Dominion, and my alma mater — which once served students from all socio-economic strata — is now behaving like a private institution.