Varsha Vasudevan, Staff Writer
Jack Glagola, Contributing Writer
VCU released its 2021-22 annual report which focused on the university’s innovative and “uncommon” brand, according to the report.
The report aimed to highlight VCU and VCU Health’s achievements and initiatives, according to Brian McNeill, VCU director of public relations, stated in an email.
“A team in VCU Enterprise Marketing and Communications sought to illustrate VCU and VCU Health’s major achievements in the areas of research and innovation; diversity, equity and inclusion; education and student success; and patient care,” McNeill stated.
The university made $3,821.7 million in revenue and $4,003.6 million in expenditures in total. Additionally, VCU raised $239.3 million in a record-breaking annual fundraiser, according to the report.
The previous annual report highlighted areas of student achievements, research, innovation and health equity, according to the report.
VCU enrolled a total of 28,919 in both the 2020-21 and 2021-22, according to the reports. There were 48.2% of total minority students enrolled in the 2021-2022 year, the report stated.
Sincere Slade-Reading, a first-year political science student and Student Government Association undergraduate president, said VCU should reevaluate how they run the Monroe Park campus.
“VCU does not run like a school. It runs like a corporation,” Slade-Reading said. “That’s unfair to students — I think they need to run the school with a different business model than the hospital.”
She said the budget should also be more transparent so students can know exactly where their tuition money is going.
Slade-Reading also mentioned how fundraising for VCU is lower due to a smaller proportion of wealthy people attending the school.
“When VCU students graduate, they go into the workforce. They don’t have time and money to donate,” Slade-Reading said. “But if you look at schools like UVA, they get a billion dollars in fundraising.”
The “Honor the Future” fundraising campaign at the University of Virginia has raised over $4 billion since its launch in 2019, according to UVA Today. VCU’s largest fundraising year only raised $239 million, according to the report.
“That’s something we need more of; I think that will help a lot,” Slade-Reading said.
Diversity and support for minority students should be more than just a marketing point, especially in a city as diverse as Richmond, Slade-Reading said.
“There is only OMSA [VCU’s Office of Multicultural Student Affairs] — they do all the work. It shouldn’t be student-led — that should be the work of the school. You put so much money into ‘this is who we are,’ why don’t you support students like me with the same effort?” Slade-Reading said.
However, VCU’s focus on being an institution for in-state students is a good thing, she said.
“They’re serving the Virginia Commonwealth area and targeting everything to in-state students. I think it’s amazing, considering that it is a public state university,” Slade-Reading said.
Residents of on-campus dormitories have raised concerns about air quality, especially the alleged presence of mold in several buildings. They say the mold is the cause of respiratory symptoms that disappear when they leave campus, according to a previous Commonwealth Times article.
MJ Haskell, a first-year communication arts student, said the university’s budget deficit indicates a need for reducing expenses, especially new buildings.
“They should focus on fixing what we have already,” Haskell said.
Editor’s note: Clarifications and Corrections for “VCU releases its 2021-22 fiscal year report.” The report was VCU’s annual report, not VCU’s fiscal year report. The original article also stated that VCU made $3.7 million in revenue and $4.6 million in total, the numbers are not accurate. An interviewee said “Out-of-state tuition is the highest of any Virginia school. I think we need to understand why,” this is not accurate either. UVA, William & Mary and VMI have higher out-of-state tuition than VCU. Another interviewee said “If we’re spending that much money, some of it could be allotted towards housing. We have a whole new STEM building,” this is also incorrect. Construction of the new STEM building is not funded by VCU students’ tuition or VCU ‘s budget. The building was paid entirely by the Commonwealth of Virginia.