Lawmakers Calling for Investigation into UVA Strategic Investment Fund

Posted: Updated: Aug 21, 2016 06:52 PM
Chap Petersen, photo courtesy of LinkedIn Chap Petersen, photo courtesy of LinkedIn
File Image: The University of Virginia Lawn File Image: The University of Virginia Lawn

Around a dozen Virginia lawmakers are insisting the University of Virginia turn over documents related to a large strategic investment fund.

On Tuesday, NBC29 spoke with Virginia state senators Chap Petersen and Bill DeSteph. They are among a group of lawmakers who have recently written or co-signed letters looking for answers on the university’s $2.3 billion fund.

For now, Petersen is calling on the University of Virginia Board of Visitors to freeze tuition rates. Ten other lawmakers wrote to UVA President Teresa Sullivan and Rector William Goodwin.

Lawmakers accuse university leaders of shielding public records that could shed light on the fund. The legislators are also concerned that the university has been charging more than it should.

"If the University was able to save money or get a better return on its investment, why wasn't it taking that surplus and basically using it to reduce tuition? That’s the part I don't understand. How could the Board of Visitors, with a straight face, raise tuition? It's mind-boggling," said Peterson.

Lawmakers have also raised concerns that the fund amassed nearly triples the commonwealth's own state reserve fund. Some university leaders have defended the fund, arguing it is for protecting the school in the event of a downturn in the markets.

The leaders of the House and Senate money committees released a statement saying they hope to hear a presentation at a joint meeting in September on the fund. 

In July House Appropriations Chair, Del. S. Chris Jones, invited university leaders to speak at a legislative hearing to "get a full picture of the fund" and understand "its creation and purpose."

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