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U.Va. board member resigns, cites rising tuition and declining research funds

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia — University of Virginia Board of Visitors member Dr. Edward D. Miller has resigned with a year of his term remaining, saying he is concerned about rising tuition and declining funding for research.

"I just felt there were issues I'd been advocating for that I didn't think were getting traction," Miller told The Daily Progress (http://bit.ly/1IWqtTP).

"I'd worked at it for four years and I wasn't having much of an impact," he said.

Miller said the university should focus on cutting costs instead of raising tuition. He disagreed with a tuition plan recently approved by the board and questioned the decision's process.

The plan increases tuition for incoming students by about 11 percent for the 2015-2016 academic year while lowering debt caps. It was introduced and approved on the same day. Miller, who called into the meeting remotely, had stepped away when the board voted on the plan.

"I had no idea what the plan was going to be until the day of the meeting," he said. "I was surprised it was done so quickly, without more discussion."

He also said the the board has not done enough to address a decline in research funding.

"The discussion has been more along the lines of 'where are we?' and not 'what are we going to do about it?'" Miller said.

Miller's resignation is effective June 30. Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced on Friday that he appointed attorney Mark T. Bowles to replace Miller.

"Serving on the University of Virginia Board of Visitors is a high honor and privilege, and I thank Governor McAuliffe for this appointment. But as we all well know, it comes with challenges and the responsibility to thoughtfully and forthrightly address them to the very best of my ability," Bowles said in a statement.

"The students, faculty, staff and alumni of Virginia's flagship university and the people of this commonwealth deserve that much and more," Bowles said.

Miller joined the board as an ex-officio member in 2011 and became a regular board member in 2012.

Miller, who is an anesthesiologist and former U.Va. faculty member, served as CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine from 1997 to 2012. He also was dean of Johns Hopkins University's School of Medicine.

Board member Helen E. Dragas, who cast the lone vote against the tuition plan, told the newspaper that the board had made "a serious error in judgment" by failing to take advantage of Miller's experience and insights.


Information from: The Daily Progress, http://www.dailyprogress.com

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