Bad form? BOV ignored own president-replacing precedent

One of the harshest criticisms emerging from the sack of UVA president Teresa Sullivan is that the way the Board of Visitors handled her dismissal has caused such blow-back that the BOV managed to harm the reputation of the institution it said it was trying to protect.

Every day, new details emerge of BOV behavior– alleged open meeting-dodging contacts with individual board members by Rector Helen Dragas and Vice Rector Mark Kington (according to the Washington Post), an "emergency" meeting called on a Sunday for a matter that had been in the works for several weeks (according to an email from former Darden School Foundation chairman Peter Kiernan), and the apparent ouster of a president by just three executive committee members out of a board of 16.

All this stands in sharp contrast to the more dignified exit of the formerly shortest-term president, Robert O'Neil.

"I had ample time to talk to the Board of Visitors individually, and it became clear change was desired," O'Neil recounts in a candid telephone interview. "And after 20 years as a chancellor and president, I was ready."

If today's Board of Visitors, now denounced by faculty, students, and alums, didn't want Teresa Sullivan as president barely two years into her five-year contract, it had only to look at the precedent of how an earlier board handled O'Neil, who served from 1985 to 1990 as UVA's sixth president.

"Both my coming and going were very smooth," says O'Neil, now a senior fellow with the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges in Washington. O'Neil was president of the University of Wisconsin system when he was recruited to UVA.

"Even in my first year, a lot of issues were bubbling," says O'Neil. "I still served five years."

As his term neared an end, there were some "genuine differences" with members of the Board, says O'Neil. Then Board member Tom Worrell, who owned the Daily Progress, offered O'Neil a post as head of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, which Worrell had founded a few years earlier.

It was a move that appears to have helped every party: UVA got a smooth transition, O'Neil segued to an arena that utilized his background as a Constitutional scholar, and the Center quickly began making a name for itself as a protector of a sacred American right.

In sharp contrast, the current BOV debacle seems to have damaged everyone involved. The chair of UVA's Darden School Foundation has already resigned, and there are widespread calls for further action.

In the Sullivan ouster, Rector Dragas made the announcement, and it appeared that the president– an engaging and widely-liked personality– was not allowed to speak. By contrast, O'Neil himself announced both his departure from UVA and his move to the Thomas Jefferson Center. He describes a comfortable process in which he announced in October 1989 and had until December 1990 to leave.

"John [Casteen] and I agreed on a date to pass the baton," says O'Neil. "I had nine months. It was a very orderly transition."

That doesn't seem to be the case in the toppling of Sullivan, whose resignation was announced June 10, just two months ahead of an August 15 departure date.

O'Neils says his move out of the president's home, Carr's Hill, was unhurried.

"All the things that are stressful and immediate for Terry and Doug [Laycock, her husband] were quite leisurely for us," says O'Neil. "It seems to me unconscionable that no effort was made to make that kind of transition."

S. Buford Scott of the Scott & Stringfellow stock brokerage (and the family that donated the money for the construction of Scott Stadium) served on the Board of Visitors during O'Neil's term in office, and recalls a transition that was "well handled," something he won't say about the current process.

Scott suggests that 10 years is pretty much optimal for a university president because "times change, situations change, people change."

Was Sullivan given enough time to show what she could do?

"I think two years," says Scott, "was not enough to find out."

O'Neil offers a bit of advice about how the Board of Visitors can handle a future presidential departure in a less destructive manner.

"If there's a mutual judgment and parting of the ways, say, 'It didn't work out,'" suggests O'Neil. "And then you stop. It was baffling to me that instead of stopping, the rector said there was issue A and issue B and made a listing of concerns."

But nobody is suggesting that Sullivan's departure was mutual, so what then?

"I wish there had been more opportunity," says O'Neil, "for explanation and clarification."

This story is a part of the The ousting of a president special.


Now this is truly the way to stay classy- thanks for your service President O'Neil and I hope others will take your words to heart so that this recent debacle will never be repeated. There was a time where honor and manners counted, let's hope those days return soon.

George Keith Martin is a member of the board and a lawyer with McGuireWoods.
Does anyone know his opinion of this process ?
Is there any lawyer reading this who would see the process they followed as legitimate ?

@NancyDrew - if there were contracts - I can tell you from working in that area - contracts can be broken. As far as legality of this all - Virginia is a right to work state and one can be dismissed without any reason at all given. It doesn't negate that the individual may obtain unemployment benefits but those are the facts of this "Right to Work" state we live.

Not to state that suits may be brought forward - you can file suit on just about any grounds these days...

Bob O'Neil is a very good man. He is a true gentleman.

I am proud of the statement of the Student Council. I cannot imagine any student at UVa participating in the process that the BOV has used to oust a beloved president. My condolences to all those whose lives have been so seriously disrupted and may those responsible be punished.

On June 12, 2012, in From the DUR, by Eric McDaniel

To whom it may concern;

On Sunday, June 10th, the University of Virginia community was informed that Dr. Teresa Sullivan was stepping down from her position as President. Well-respected by the student body and known for a very high level of engagement, her departure after only two years came as a shock to the University community. Few expected her departure to come so soon. Or under such opaque circumstances.

The University of Virginia has a long and storied history, one steeped with a strong sense of the values upon which it was founded. Above all else, we belong to an institution of honor and honesty, of openness and respect. And it is under these values that we deem the current state of information on President Sullivan’s departure wholly untenable. The University of Virginia community is entitled to more information. The statements by the Board of Visitors and other University officials up to this point have been abstract, unclear, and at times contradictory. The University of Virginia Student Council is not taking sides or placing blame, yet we feel it is our duty to provide every student at the University of Virginia the clarity and understanding they are owed.

It is our hope that students will come together as we begin to write the next chapter in the University’s history.

To the Board— The University of Virginia Student Council, as both representatives and members of the student body, respectfully requests a full explanation of the events and circumstances surrounding the departure of President Teresa Sullivan. Throughout the history of our institution, every student has been called upon to uphold the values of the University of Virginia. We the students are now calling upon the Board of Visitors to do the same.

With Regards,

The University of Virginia Student Council

Eric McDaniel, Director of University Relations

When Buford Scott speaks, people listen. And, if they don't, they're fools.

While it is very difficult for students, faculty, alumni and friends to overcome an out-of-touch and run-away board, it is not impossible.

For your consideration:

If one takes a look of the recent photo of "Mr. Darden Kiernen" he has an uncanny resemblance to John Forsythe in the old prime-time "Dynasty". Funny how he was in line to be a BoV member. Since Kiernen is gone, now it's time for Dragas and the rest of the Board "Dynasty" to go too. It's time for a BoV that is in touch with the University of Virginia, not just using the school to further their own ambitions. That's IN TOUCH - with students, faculty, employees, alumni or anyone else associated with "OUR" university!

[More from my inbox ...]

15 June 2012

Dear Rector Dragas and Members of the Board of Visitors:

The undersigned Department Chairs, Program Directors, and senior members of the faculty of the School of Architecture hereby endorse the Faculty Senate resolutions in support of President Teresa Sullivan. We also share the Senate’s lack of confidence in the Board’s inexplicable decision to oust President Sullivan.

As we have worked with President Sullivan and Vice Presidents Simon and Strine to envision and put in place a new financial model for the University, we have at every turn aspired towards transparency and accountability. It is hard to imagine a less transparent, less accountable, less articulate, or less comprehensible action than the one that the Board of Visitors has taken this week. Your action has eroded the national and international reputation of the University and shattered faculty morale. Your failure to involve the faculty before this decision or to explain it clearly has undermined the values of open discourse and debate that constitute the foundation of our university community.

The School of Architecture is committed to strengthening place through design, planning, and preservation. We believe in the stewardship of our resources in ways that build community today and in the future. President Sullivan, as a leader and a scholar, along with the administrators she has brought to the University, has worked in a manner entirely consistent with these values. Now, however, the fabric of place and community has been torn asunder by your decision. You should immediately reverse this destructive action.

Iñaki Alday, Dept. Chair, Architecture; Quesada Professor of Architecture Julie Bargmann, Past Graduate Director, Landscape Architecture
Timothy Beatley, Dept. Chair, Urban & Environmental Planning;
Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities
Daniel Bluestone, Director, Historic Preservation Program
Craig Evan Barton, Past Dept. Chair, Architecture
W.G. Clark, Past Dept. Chair; Campbell Professor of Architecture
Robin Dripps, Past Dept. Chair, Architecture; Fitz-Gibbon Professor of Architecture Edward Ford, Shea Professor of Architecture
Kristina Hill, Past Dept. Chair, Landscape Architecture
Elizabeth K. Meyer, Past Dept. Chair, Landscape Architecture
Lisa Reilly, Past Dept. Chair, Architectural History
William Sherman, Past Dept. Chair, Architecture and Landscape Architecture Nancy Takahashi, Dept. Chair, Landscape Architecture
Peter D. Waldman, Past Dept. Chair, Architecture; Kenan Professor of Architecture Richard G. Wilson, Dept. Chair, Architectural History; Commonwealth Professor

This is a time for the entire faculty to come together and be an example for their students
A failure to do so should be seen as cowardice and unbecoming to the principles this great university was founded upon. I applaud the Architecture School and Arts and Sciences and look forward to statements from the other colleges.

Has anyone talked to Leigh B. Middleditch, Jr. . I have heard that he is the go to person if you want to know the rest of the story.

Hey! People get fired everyday, without cause and without warning..........and usually for the wrong reason. Get over it! Teach your students to Get Over It too!

UVa is a lot bigger then one person................

So much for respect of process

Posted at 06:02 PM ET, 06/15/2012
McDonnell urges U-Va. board to replace Sullivan swiftly

By Anita Kumar and Daniel de Vise

It really burns you up, doesn't it, SkipD—rich and powerful people in positions of public trust being held accountable for their actions?

What a scandal.

I hope this does not become partisan rather that it be a matter of governance and sets an example for young people

The Governor does seem to be under the misimpression, from his vantage point in London, that this is over.

"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" ~Edmund Burke

Today, all of the dept. heads and program heads for the E. school also issued a signed statement demanding an explanation and expressing their appreciation of President Sullivan. I think the only people who haven't agreed with that sentiment is the Board's personal secretary and their new public relations consultants. I expect the custodial staff to soon issue that type of statement - President Sullivan increased the wages of the lowest paid employees of the U. recently.

What is the E school, engineering or education ? And could you share the statement. Thanks

How about a reward fund at the Hook to discover the identity of the 2 Virginia Alums mentioned in Kiernan's email. My suspicion is if we find them we will know a great deal more about why Sullivan was fired. I don't buy the theory that Strine was behind the firing, dissatisfied maybe, but to pull the trigger would take a big gun and that he was not.

from the Kiernan email ( this is our best lead yet )

" A number of you have asked if we were surprised by this announcement. Here is the truth. Several weeks ago I was contacted by two important Virginia alums about working with Helen Dragas on this project, particularly from the standpoint of the search process and the strategic dynamism effort. It pained me to keep this information from you and from Bob, but I was sworn top keep the process confidential."

Any takers ?

On second thought a better place for the reward fund would not be at a news outlet, but Crimestoppers. That would be more appropriate.

Pray tell, why are you people so shocked. This wonderful institution has been hi-jacked by thugs. Look at the Dean of Students Office. There are many more scandals in the offing as the layers are peeled off and trust me there are plenty of layers!

Excellent article by Lisa Provence.

We are a multi-generational UVa family and - like everyone who has expressed concern for the flagrant disregard by Rector Dragas for due process - are dismayed and saddened by the fall-out of the BoV decisions. If we - the concerned constituents and stakeholders - acquiese to this situation of an eminently qualified President being forced out in such an unseemly fashion, we will be setting a PRECEDENT for future self-serving and politicised boards.

I am glad that Bob O'Neill has spoken out and I hope that Dragas & co. realize that they have done severe damage to the reputation of the University.

My family will be writing to Bob Sweeney at the Development Office (and to specific schools from which we have graduated) to advise him that we will not be making any donations to the University and schools that we have supported until the BoV explain this outrageous ambush of due process and protocol.

Given the reports of how Rector Dragas has gone about achieving her (and whose else?) agenda of ousting a President after less than 2 years in office, I can't help but feel that this is no longer a university that I am proud to be associated with. I implore the BoV to do the right thing and address this wrong. President Sullivan has done what she was hired to do. Do the BoV members think we can find someone else with her credentials & maturity to come to the University after the way we have treated Terry Sullivan?

I also encourage other donors to withhold their pledges and donations (if you have not funded yet) until after June 30 when the FY ends. Nothing to do if you have already funded but do let your opinions be known to the money people at the University. Unfortunately, sometimes people only hear the money talk.

Dragas has inflicted a severe wound on the body of this university and we must not stand by and condone it.

Deleted by moderator.

Write to Gov. McDonnell to ask that he not reappoint Helen Dragas to the BOV--it's as close as we can get to firing her, short of demanding her resignation. If any employee of the University had cause this much damage to the reputation of the institution, you know that person would have been fired. Here's the link: They count every contact, pro and con.

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ForensicFile, it puzzles me why, when you obviously have so little regard for the University or, apparently, women, you would bother to read and comment on this matter.

The action of Mr. Dragas and the BOV reflects the ugliest arrogant attitude I have never seen in an institution of higher education, much less one that has been championed by the idea of Thomas Jefferson. It boils down to the act of a corporation where humanistic interaction plays way below the perceived power a group of people think they have. It resembles that of a dictatorship and it brought shame to the university.

Votes of no confidence and demonstrations are vital. It’s my humble opinion that, if these initial brave actions are to mean anything, there must also be demands.
These would be my demands, but I have no pride of authorship:

(i) There shall not be an appointment of an interim president on June 18th. The University of Virginia (the “University”) has a President.

(ii) Prior to the acceptance of any resignation offered by President Sullivan, there shall be a thorough, open and impartial inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the events, actions and inactions that have produced the current situation. The inquiry shall be conducted by a commission for truth and reconciliation (the “Commission”).

(iii) The Commission shall initially consist of (a) the Honorable John W. Warner, (b) the Honorable Frederick C. Boucher, and (c) Charles W. Steger, Ph.D. (collectively, the “Co-Chairs”).

(iv) If any Co-Chair declines to serve for the duration of the Commission, the Co-Chairs (including such Co-Chair as is resigning) shall meet and unanimously decide upon a replacement for such Co-Chair.

(v) The Co-Chairs shall select a method by which 2 representatives of the faculty of the University, 1 representative of the undergraduate students of the University, 1 representative of the graduate students of the University, and 1 representative of the alumni of the University shall be selected as members of the Commission.

(vi) Thereafter, the Commission shall select a member of the faculty of the University’s School of Law to serve as the Commission’s counsel.

(vii) The Commission shall have full powers of subpoena under the statutes of the Commonwealth of Virginia and shall issue its conclusions within 1 year from the date of the adoption of this agreement.

This story is reminiscent of the firing of Stephen Spurr, a popular University of Texas President in the1970s, by the Board of Regents. There were massive protests, to no avail. The Regents installed Lorene Rogers as President ad interim and then permanently. Lorene Rogers became the first female president of a public university.

“He was president of the University of Texas from 1971 to 1974, after spending 19 years as a teacher and administrator at the University of Michigan, where he became a vice president in 1969.

Earlier he was an associate professor at the University of Minnesota for two years and a member of the faculty at Harvard University from 1940 to 1950.

A Stormy Tenure

Dr. Spurr's tenure at Texas was a stormy one. He clashed repeatedly with the university's Board of Regents and the chancellor, Charles A. LeMaistre. He was dismissed without explanation in September 1974 and contended, among other things, that he had angered the board by trying to recruit minority students, by shielding the student newspaper from censorship and by opposing campus construction projects favored by the regents.

Speaking of Bob Sweeny, has anyone heard from him? Pat Lampkin? How much did this level of the administration know? Why hasn't Sweeny been called to task for failing to meet the unrealistic goal of 3 or 4 billion? Are all these folks hiding?

I still don't understand how Hunter Craig could have been one of three people forcing the President to resign.

A must read for all of us . At the end of the day we will applaud those with the courage to speak the truth. Thank you Professor Vaidhyanathan and thank you Mr. O'Neil.

Strategic Mumblespeak

Er, UVA’s Teresa Sullivan was fired for what?

By Siva Vaidhyanathan|Posted Friday, June 15, 2012, at 7:30 PM ET

Hunter Craig should never have been on the BOV much less the executive committee in a position of power to make a decision regarding the firing of the President of the University of Virginia. Hunter Craig is presently suing the State of Virginia for 90 millon dollars while he weilds such power against the President of the same State's University that he did not attend , has never donated money to and has never been connected to before being appointed by our now gov who he did big give money to for the favor of the position. Craig should have been asked or forced to resign this seat the moment he filed the suit against the State of Virginia to clean up his own personal financial failures of Biscuit Run with taxpayer money . What a disgrace that he could even vote on an issue of the same state he is suing much less a vote of such magnitude as forcing the resignation of the University President. We are a State University truly lost at sea if Hunter Craig is allowed to be one of our captains....he must be removed immediately ...not waiting for the decision regarding the rest of the BOV ...he needs the special attention he so deserves. Please take time to write Gov RoberF. McDonnell Patrick Henery bldg 3rd floor, 1111 East Broad St , Richmond, Virginia 23219. We can make a difference.

Here here about Hunter Craig! This guy couldn't have gotten into our school as a student.... Even when it was easier to do so.

It's a travesty that our fine institution can't have standards where intellect, refinement and integrity override cash.

This may be the best thing to happen to the Darden School since it was founded and named after Colgate Darden in 1957. If ever there was an alumni group that needed to drink a tall, refreshing glass of STFU, it is Darden.

MBAs condemn themselves by their own words, actions and attitudes. Pete Kiernan's email -- and his "reply all" deligvery of it -- will go down in history as one of the most arrogant, self-serving and stupidest acts ever to associate itself with the Darden School.

I don't care how money some people give to UVa. Doesn't diminish the fact they are a$$holes.

Oh: and Dragas won't resign so don;t get your hopes up. She's much too full of herself for that. Rather, expect McDonnell to appoint someone else when the woman's term is up so she can toddle back to Virginia Beach, having done her dirty work.

If these rubes has spent a little time expanding their educational horizons at UVa rather than obsessing over money and power, they would not need to run to the dictionary whenever they are referred to on Grounds as "personae non gratae."

Or, to put in in the hip, modern vernacular of the cool kids:

Dragas, eff off.

The most recent and revised letter from the Curry School Faculty Council concerning Sullivan dismissal:

June 15, 2012

To the Chair and Members of the Faculty Senate:

The Curry School of Education Faculty Council expresses its strong support for the University of Virginia Faculty Senate Resolution on the Resignation of President Sullivan, passed on June 14, 2012. As the elected faculty governance body representing the faculty of the Curry School of Education we back the Faculty Senate in stating its strong support of President Sullivan and its lack of confidence in the Rector, Vice Rector, and Board of Visitors.

The Curry School of Education Faculty Council believes that President Sullivan is a highly visible and engaged president. Together with her leadership team she has been aggressively moving the University forward in innovative and substantive ways. We are concerned about the lack of transparency in the action taken by the University’s Board of Visitors in removing President Sullivan and request greater clarification on the process and reasons behind the Board’s decision. We believe that President Sullivan is poised to lead the University of Virginia into the future in a manner befitting the quality and history of the institution.


Nancy L. Deutsch
Curry Faculty Council Chair

Robert Q. Berry, III
Curry Faculty Council Chair-Elect

Pamela D. Tucker
Curry Faculty Council Past-Chair

Cc: Helen Dragas, University Rector

This action by your Board of Visitors could be equal parts symptom, illness, and prognosis: symptom of the state of mind of the very rich (presuming its prime mover is the Robber Baron whom Siva V. has called out for it); illness in itself (whatever its actual form is, and with sequelae in damage to the University's reputation); and prognosis for American society: sign of the dysregulated and damaging behavior yet to come from the very rich, who are unaffected by consequence and immune (for the time being) to the troubles they cause. The manner with which the removal of President Sullivan was accomplished--"this project"--casts it as vandalism from above. With the growing wealth imbalance in society, it seems inevitable that more and worse is to come from our new rulers.

Anyone read "Heart of a Dog" by Mikhail Bulgakov? Reminds me of the current BOV at UVA and no offence to dogs.

@Time to End Corruption: You poor little thing, feeling so inferior among the big bad successful donors. Bless your little heart. Evil Darden! You really put them in their place! And with such impressive use, not only of a Latin cliche, but also "hip modern vernacular". What versatility. Such a smart little activist you are. Down with all those rich evil dardenites who make you feel so badly about yourself! Thank God there's a Hook forum to put them in their place!

Hey UGA Alum,
Niceness to dogs!
Bulgakov was da man.
I whack myself in the head with that book frequently. Sometime I hope to actually have time to enjoy a reread of it.
Hey PhilosophyMajor,
Watch out. I have a book full of indirect discourse in my hand. Don't come too close.

I believe the crux of the flap over this issue is trust. Or more specifically lack of trust. All of the statements from the BoV (and Kiernan, the provost, even the governor) boil down to: "trust [us], we have things well in hand." The problem is that we don't have much to base that trust on. In fact, based on the only information we do have, we have reason to not trust, or at the very least seriously question, the BoV's actions:

1) If it is true, as Kiernan's email (which, by the way, is a smoking gun if I've ever seen one) and the Washington Post suggest, that Dragas gathered votes by back room one-on-one conversations and that this was never discussed by the whole BoV, then it is a shameful, incompetent handling of a major issue. An issue as significant as the removal of a president deserves a much more deliberate, thoughtful dialogue by the entire BoV, not just back room politicking.

2) If, as Dragas claims, this is a confidential personnel matter, why did Kiernan (by his own admission) and (at least) two other "important UVA alums" have knowledge of this before some members of the BoV even did?

3) If this is was a subject of "ongoing debate and dialogue" over "an extended period of time," why were at least three BoV members (according to the Washington Post) unaware of it until "late last week?" Why the need for an emergency meeting of the smallest number of members of the executive committee? Why the rush?

4) The BoV's apparent failure to recognize in advance and be prepared for the significant turmoil and backlash this move has caused throughout the entire University community would seem to indicate that the BoV is not in tune or engaged with the greater University community. The huge negative publicity and damage to the University's reputation that this move is causing in the national media and the higher education community and the BoV's lack of response further demonstrates a myopic view on the part of BoV. The full ramifications of this move do not appear to be well thought out or considered.

5) Let's admit it, the way the BoV is responding in this situation is laughable. One would expect at least a modicum of PR skills and engagement. The lack of such does not exactly inspire confidence in the BoV.

6) The BoV just wants us to move on. They claim they have heard our cry for transparency, involvement, and communication, and that we will be involved in future decisions. But that's like the alcoholic who says: "I won't drink too much next time..." but doesn't address the negative impacts of having drunk too much this time. This is a major event and it is unfair to expect the University community to simply move on without dialogue, discussion, and communication. The BoV's failure to engage the University community on this issue, and their insistence that we just move along demonstrates a lack of respect for the University community as a whole.

Unfortunately, despite the BoV's pleas to trust them, these actions all contribute to creating an atmosphere of mistrust. The absence of a compelling, cohesive statement by the whole BoV that addresses these issues has a serious negative impact on the reputation of the BoV and the University as a whole. It is unfair for the BoV to expect this issue to blow over and go away. They must act to engage the University community on this issue if they truly wish to address this and begin working to restore trust.

The fact of the matter is that none of us know the whole story. The BoV may have a compelling and well thought out plan for the University. The problem is the University community doesn't know. Something this significant should not be a matter of "trust us," especially when the BoV's actions to-date do not appear to be the actions of an organization deserving of trust.

"PhilosophyMajor" -- anything to discuss other than your spleen?

C'mon "philosophy major" -- is that really your best trolling? If you actually went to UVa, then the univeristy failed in its mission to educate and enlighten. You are due a refund.

Sometimes I gaze in the mirror and marvel at how moronic I sound as I talk to myself. If I only understood what I was talking about.


Back to the job search....

FYI: They hired a PR consultant yesterday -
Thanks "Trust Us " well said . McDonnell has at least one son maybe two at UVa
Given Dragas's apparent lying about how many board members knew about this
how can he expect them to adhere to the Honor Code if he gives her a pass ?

Another good forum exists at See especially "Truth to Power" (not me) on 6/16, 10:31 am.

Anyone who hasn't yet, consider joining the Facebook group "Students, Family & Friends United to Reinstate President Sullivan" (many opinions of what to do exist there, and faculty and alumni are welcome, too) at See "Rally for a Transparent UVA" notice for Monday 2:30 at

"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." (Albert Einstein)

Are you listening, Ms. Dragas?

A strong leader having confidence in the ob they were doing would not quit on the spur of the moment . They would have the desire to request a meeting of the entire board with the conviction they could win the day and not be released . It is basically what happens often in a Parlamentry system where there are votes of non confidence from time to time . Often by buying time the person ubder seige can rally support on their side and come through the process stronger than ever . If Sullivan were a strong leader she would have perceived certain weakness in the attempted coup side and held strong . On the first volley at her position she waved the white flag,folded her tent and scampered for the hills . Is that the kind of person you would want to be in charge of running anything ? Land of The Free,Home of The Brave . Where was her bravery ? Or does she have something she wants hidden ? That is a very probable situation given her hasty getaway . If the latter is the case it would be ironic and hypocritic given her gloating about how much transparency she was going to provide . Folks can go on and on about the coup plotters but doesn't her weakness actually prove their point ?

Strong and wise words from the Virginian-Pilot:

We don't know what Sullivan is thinking about what was done to her by the three BOV members, Kiernan and maybe a few of her traitorous underlying. We do know it was a surprise to her. We do know that she was thoroughly vetted two years ago by the BOV and the UVA machine. We do know that several universities have been courting her, why would they want damaged goods? we do know she had an excellent track record coming in.

Sorry Frank Speaker, your critique has no legs, like the emperor of the BOV has no clothes and we all know it.

Maybe she got tired of all the BOV corporate BS and wanted out herself. Based on everything I know and read and having met and interacted with her, my answer would be:

"This is the person I would want in charge of running the University."

And I want a BOV that looks like the Commonwealth in terms of race and social class and one that has no big monied interests appointed because they bought their way in. Small business owners ok, big corporate CEO-no way.

If she was so tired of all the BS and wanted out then why didn't she just leave like most people do that are unhappy in their job ?

On the onther hand this might be a Vast Right Wing Conspiracy to saddle you with Hillary Clinton .

Maybe Dragas' underhanded move was the lat straw. You know how it is.

No thanks to Hilary or Condoleeza or any other politician. They are part of the problem, not the solution. They all believe in ascendency of market-based solutions and the privitization of public spaces.

Let's look at how Roy Romer did as supt. of LA public schools :)

I have given up on the left-right conspiracy theories. Now its more about the corporate-public, upper class-middle and lower class, rich-poor divide. The conspiracy is by the uber-rich corporate (not small business) class to corporatize and privatize all public institutions, to defund public services, you kmow, the old survival of the fittest ideology.

Remember Dragas was appointed by Kaine. Boo hoo hoo. Look at the backgrounds and positions of mist of the BOVs, their campaign contributions, that's where the prpblem lies.

You may be right in all you say but everything from all sources that has come out reinforces the point that one way or another it was time for her to go . Now she is gone so what's the problem ?

As an out-of-state parent who is getting ready to spend close to a quarter of a million dollars to send her daughter to what has always been an institution held in very high esteem, I am appalled and concerned at the recent turn of events. Many have already commented on the lack of respect for the President, the process and indeed the University and its constituents, and my disgust echoes theirs.

I would additionally point out that NO communication to incoming parents has been made by the University. Perhaps parents of existing students were contacted, but the complete void of information, acknowledgement, reassurance or anything from the school is as disheartening as the events themselves.

I graduated from Sweet Briar College and served on its Board of Overseers. I can proudly say that the public relations and communications from my alma mater has always been outstanding, informing the entire community of any noteworthy news, particularly something that may be controversial. The communication is always proactive, complete and transparent.

My daughter did receive a communication from someone at the University, not certain who, but it was boilerplate, much like the announcement of the resignation itself.

If there are other parents of incoming students that are concerned enough to make a formal communication to the school out there, please let me know.

As one of the comments states - there was a time when honor and manners meant something. Indeed, and I was always under the impression that the University of Virginia was one of the places where these values remained intact.

Thank you Libby, Honor and Manners exactly . I and many others are angered and saddened that so much is expected of the students, and so little of the BOV.

New Hook story: "'Important alum': Donor Jones had role in Sullivan ouster"

Libby, the PR consultant wasn't hired until yesterday . I'm sure they'll be something in the
mail soon.

Besides being completely unethical this coup was the most ill conceived plan I've ever witnessed . And McDonnell praises his board for their intelligence ?

The secretary of the Board is a staffer, not a voting member. She is in the horrible position of having to continue serving those who are creating the mess.

As for the fundraising question, have you given as much to charity as you might have before the economy went south almost four years ago? The $3B campaign goal was set when the economy was still rocking. Recovery has taken time. It doesn't matter who is president or vice president for development if the economy stinks and giving is down everywhere.

One thing, in reading all the comments, that keeps getting forgotten is that Sullivan has not been fired. She has resigned as President, but can remain as a tenured Professor, with a salary of several hundred grand.

They will need a good dose of the old turpitude to break her tenure.

Its how she got to that resignation that is the question Will. Maybe under false pretenses??????

Ironic that the University is bringing a PR firm in now. The horse has left the barn as far as any credibility for the B of V. Damage control is the order of the day now. And the fact that an outside firm had to be hired under duress to contain this firestorm says the day to day communications staff either a) was as caught off guard by this as everyone, or b) is wholly incompetent to handle such an important role in a university of this stature.

Either way, as a parent investing a bunch of money in my child's education, this gives me great cause for concern. I would have NEVER thought something like this would go on at UVa.

And the complete lack of follow-up with parents of incoming students says to me "We don't care about you, just send the tuition check and trust us the interim will have things "well in hand" when your student arrives on the grounds." Something is truly rotten in the state of Virginia!

I do know some of the communications staff at the University and they were caught off guard by this--for this reason, without speculating on the whys of the ouster of Ms. Sullivan, Ms. Dragas' resignation must be demanded.Her mishandling of the public relations alone is enough, regardless of her motivations for a change in leadership. If any employee had brought this kind of disgrace on the University, he or she would have been prompty fired. DRAGAS MUST GO. Write to the governor and demand that he get her resignation or at the very least not reappoint her the end of this month.


They're not doing a UVA special of having a "UNANIMOUS VOTE" HAHA LOL

The Governor should appoint Leonard Sandridge as Dragas' replacement.

All this emasication about the President when UVa has ignored diversity for so long. This is just the roosters coming home to rooster. Perhaps we will have a black president HAHAHA naw dawg, one Obama has bee two much for y'all to handle.

Can anybody explain, in less than 200 words, why Mann's study is not subject to scientific review?

The shame brought on the University is from all of the vitriolic poison you people have been hissing at the BOV. Ms. Sullivan didn't behave like that. Rector Dragas and the other members of the BOV didn't act like that. Only you people who speculate and assume and pretend and spit out such made-up statements without any attention to the truth, the actual facts. Grow up. Please, for the world, grow up.