Sullivan stripped: V-P Simon hints at quit if no BOV change

Despite an officially-announced departure date in August, ousted University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan has already been stripped of her authority, but one of her two top deputies revealed Sunday that he may not stand for further indignities.

Dressed in running shoes, and a not-quite-matching tan golf shirt and shorts, Vice-President and Provost John D. Simon, who earlier in the week had put his name on what was seen as a shut-up-and-get-back to work letter, took a break from weekend recreation to electrify a capacity crowd of outraged faculty Sunday evening, as the fallout from the presidential ouster continues.

New revelations about the way Sullivan was booted– just two years into a planned five-year term– include allegations that the Rector of the Board of Visitors intentionally tried to circumvent open-meeting rules and that big donors played a role in the dismissal.

"I am now wondering whether my own beliefs about the values of higher education are consistent with our Board," Simon said at the June 17 meeting of the Faculty Senate. "The Board actions over the next few days will inform me as to whether the University of Virginia remains the type of institution I am willing to dedicate my efforts to help lead."

Simon's tousle-haired Father's Day appearance on the grounds of the Darden School seemed to leave little question in the minds of the capacity crowd that filled the 472-seat Abbott Hall Auditorium. They twice gave him a standing ovation.

"He's putting them on notice," economics professor Leora Friedberg said afterwards. "He was saying he's gonna resign if they don't act within the principles of the University."

Speaking of principles, the meeting came less than an hour after the UVA Honor Committee released a statement that, while respectful of the Board, assailed the group for a "troubling" lack of candor and declared that the University cannot "fully move forward until the foundation of trust that sustains our community is renewed."

Simon, who took no questions and departed after his remarks, told the crowd that he felt inspired by an email he received earlier in the day from Jason Ally. No stranger to attack, Ally is the former student-editor of the Cavalier Daily who recently endured judiciary charges for publishing an editorial revealing that the student newspaper discovered that it had a plagiarist on its staff.

"Don't hesitate to do what you think is right," Ally urged Simon. "And don't hesitate to be a leader, especially now when there's quite a leadership vacuum at the University."

Leadership vacuum indeed. University spokesperson Carol Wood confirmed after the meeting, in response to a reporter's questions, that the president has already been relieved of all organizational authority.

"There is nobody reporting to the president right now," Wood said. "Right now, we're in a transition period."

Even though UVA has indicated that President Sullivan would remain in office until August 15, a transition memo that Wood shared indicates that Wood herself no longer reports to the president– but instead to the Rector and Vice-Rector, Helen Dragas and Mark Kington. They're two of the three people who axed the president in an emergency Board of Visitors Executive Committee meeting held on the afternoon of Sunday, June 10.

Wood says Sullivan's two top deputies, Provost Simon and Chief Operating Officer Michael Strine, the latter who was conspicuously absent from the open event, also now report to Dragas and Kington. Even the president's chief of staff, Nancy Rivers, no longer reports to Sullivan but directly to the Rector and Vice-Rector.

"It's clear to me that the Rector has assumed complete control of the University administration without consideration for process, for propriety," says UVA Media Studies Department Chair Siva Vaidhyanathan. "Assuming complete control of the administration is completely consistent with her personality and the temperament she has demonstrated over the past two weeks."

"She's still the president," says Wood of Sullivan and stressing that the Rector's control will end as soon as an interim president takes office, but Vaidhyanathan calls the situation unbearable.

"This means I am working for someone with no academic credentials, no respect for academic values, and no interest in the needs of students and the needs of scholarship."

Wood said Dragas has asked the COO and the Provost to "work jointly in the running of the daily operations of the University until the interim president could be appointed," says Wood. "They were asked to come up with a plan as to how to divide the president's current reports— and to keep the University moving forward."

Delegate David Toscano, the Democratic minority leader in the General Assembly, attended the meeting and released a statement calling for the governor to force Dragas and Kington to resign if the Board does not reverse itself.

In the main policy action of the meeting, a nearly unanimous vote from the Faculty Senate– 50 in-person and 18 proxy votes– outnumbered the two nays and one abstention that arrived by proxy to confirm the group's earlier executive committee no-confidence vote in the Rector, Vice-Rector, and Board of Visitors.

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

93 comments

good work Hawes. can you provide a link to Delegate Toscano's statement? I'm fascinated this story has moved beyond the faculty to include the Governor, Wall Street bigwigs, a Daily Progress op-ed (was that space purchased by Jones?) and now Del. Toscano. anyone betting Jon Stewart talks about us soon?

you people are fools i really think you have harmed the future of U>VA anyone that comes in now will be more of a joke than a leader you have ruined the Thomas Jefferson dream and because of filthy lying greedy men and woman you are charlotrtesville will have to bare the pain as well congrats on ruing the school and loosing the faith of locals what a bunch of looser's you are ,hope you choke on all the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Leadership vacuum indeed...all the way to Richmond. And it looks like Strine has shown where his allegiance rests. Please toss him out with the rest of the trash that has so sullied the University. Thank you, Provost Simon, for stepping up and setting a positive example.

This is an outrageous situation that the University of Virginia can be abducted by 3 people. When these governing laws were established no one could forsee this corporatized political climate taking over an institution of higher learning. The governing laws and the appointment of the board of visitors is what needs dynamic change.

Hawes, this is where a small, scrappy paper like The Hook can really shine. Get in there and throw some elbows and find out WTF is really going on. Thanks! (we'll bring coffee too)

Well said, A Hoo!

Thanks to The Hook for the only candid local reporting on this.

Simon is no man. Do your job until you quit. Don't threaten, hollow threats to resign. BOV should fire this guy. Business 101.

Thanks, Hook for staying on top of this story!

Hawes:

Thanks again for all the great work The Hook is doing on this. Please keep the stories coming.

"Business 101."

Observer -- like everyone else you seem to think that everything, including ethical human behavior, should dance to the tune of "business." A badly run business at that, now that Dragos is effing things up even more.

@Observer IMHO, this situation is SO fluid and so uncertain that the BOV, esp.a Dragas-led BOV may have no true authority to do anything. I believe Simon is standing on solid ground and even if fired, it would simply underscore the doubt he expressed vis-a-vis his statement.

I'm a UVa professor, and I was at the meeting today. The Hook's account is basically accurate, but to me the most important thing was the extraordinary atmosphere of calm and unified purpose. Simply put, the faculty are not going to stand for this putsch by Helen Dragas and her cabal. If Dragas thinks that we are working for her now, she is as deluded as she is arrogant. John Simon has taken a few days to get his footing in this crisis, but he rose to the occasion today which is why we gave him such strong support. Strine is another matter - he should have been there today in solidarity with the faculty, students, alumni, and Provost.

Published online 8:00pm Wednesday Dec 31st, 1969?

Thank you, John Simon, for your consummate integrity and strength.

You, sir, are a man of honor.

James what is the plan if the BOV merely ignores calls to reinstate Sullivan tomorrow? what will the faculty do then?
What should we do then?

Sullivan has said nothing since the announcement and for her silence should be held partially responsible for the scandal that has emerged. She is still the university president. The bov made a decision and it was theirs to make. We should wait for more information to come forthbefore rushing to judgement and have more confidence in our own bov to do their job. It is not easy to fire someone mid-term. It take a resolute courage. Faculty members who threaten to quit over a decision they dont like probably dont deserve their jobs anyway. I personally would feel way more comfortable with a business minded leader than a sociologist in charge of the university anyway...my 2 cents

With Dragas going one on one with BOV members to avoid a public meeting, how do we actually know she "had the votes"? Because of her tactics there is no record. It is time for the BOV to do their job and have a public debate about the actions taken by the Rector after she fired Sullivan. Did they really give Dragas authority to take total control of the University? Sullivan serving out her presidency with dignity would have done far less damage to the University.

Let's all hope the 13 silent members of the BOV show up tomorrow with their voices, do their job, and limit the damage the Rector is doing.

@Citizen Party, we'll see. I have really been heartened by the way our faculty leadership (chairs, faculty senate, etc) has stepped up, and my inclination is to follow their lead. I think in the end this fiasco may end up strengthening the university.

Once again I salute the HOOK for their excellent reporting of this tragic and disappointing action.
The decision made by what appears to be a very limited number of the Board of Visitors has not only damaged the reputation of this great University of Virginia, it's leaders, faculty, students, alum and dedicated staff but the residual cost of the BOV's decision to terminate President Sullivan will be enormous.

I am a UVA alum, no one in particular, but when I see statements like this from Simon I get a little paranoid.

He signed the "shut up and get back to work" letter, but now he hints (let's be real here, these were hardly threats) that he might resign if he doesn't get what he wants?

Doesn't that just open the door for him to observe the appointment of the interim president, declare himself satisfied, and create space for Dragas to say something like "EVEN Provost Simon, who was so critical of us on Sunday, thinks we're righting the ship now!"

David Toscano, thank you!

John Simon, thank you!

Dragass needs to be run out of town!

... and still no ultrasound from the Honorable Governor, just get the procedure over quickly.

Don't make idle threats about walking out. If you say it you must do it.

It has been a long time since Alexander Haig said, "I am in charge here." At least he had some credentials.

how brave mr. harrigan and mr. simon are.

if mr. harrigan and mr. simon are so injured;
please stop the talk; and put in your resignations immediately.

feel free to test the market in places like princeton; m.i.t.; stanford and chicago.

please brush up your CV. try not to include words like putsch and cabal.
we are not living in bavaria; it is not 1923.

feel free to look into the real estate market in palo alto and princeton at the same time.
perhaps charlottesville will look appealing in comparison.

funny; how some quoted in the article and some comments don't rise
higher than those that seem to offend them so much.

@UVa alum
"Sullivan has said nothing since the announcement and for her silence should be held partially responsible for the scandal that has emerged."
I find it hard to accept this statement when the board itself has been pretty damn silent.

"She is still the university president."
It is now being reported by the University's own press communications office that she has been relieved of all duties even though her last day was supposed to be August 15th.

The bov made a decision and it was theirs to make."

Based on the current rules, this is true. Not much of a checks and balance system there is it.

"We should wait for more information to come forthbefore rushing to judgement and have more confidence in our own bov to do their job."

I have no confidence in the BOV due to their own silence and lack of transparency on this situation. You are being very hypocritical based on your argument that Sullivan should be the one speaking out. The BOV belongs to the politicians, not the University community. The current University community has no say in the process. The one student rep on the Board doesn't even get a vote. Doesn't matter if the Governor who selected them was a republican or democrat.

"It is not easy to fire someone mid-term. It take a resolute courage."
Or it takes opportunity, seizing it, and using it to your advantage. Possibly heroic, more than likely cowardice or political maneuvering.

"Faculty members who threaten to quit over a decision they dont like probably dont deserve their jobs anyway."
The Faculty are an equal part of UVA's success. Their reputation also brings students in not just the buildings that donors pony up money for. The fact that 68 out of 71 of the faculty (people just like the people who taught you while a University student and who at least a few you must have appreciated and respected for the education they gave you) showed their support for Sullivan means nothing to you? I doubt all 68 could be of the "liberal" persuasion you seem to insinuate.

"I personally would feel way more comfortable with a business minded leader than a sociologist in charge of the university anyway...my 2 cents"

And you have every right to share your two cents. Just make sure you are holding the board to the same standards you hold President Sullivan. My two cents.

Mr. Harrigan,

despite will b goode's market pablem rant, don't resign we are going to need you for the strike and actions should the bov corporate masters decide to play hardball.

I don't acknowledge dragas or the bov as anything but illegitimate frauds. maybe we should all stop writing grants to support the donors who are refusing to write checks until dragas is gone with the rest of the fascists.

we can teach our students what citizrnship in a republic means.

the press is with us and this has become national scandal. I say we invite the AAUP in to help out, if need be we have 2 months to plan and act before fall starts.

parents and alums are with us as are community members. the protests will go on for a long time.

toscano, deeds, casteen, gilmore are behind us.

in the future the historians will mark this as the time when the republic woke up to the corporte facism and put a stop to it.

battle lines being drawn. they are going to play hardball like factories in the 20's where the cops served the interests of capital. here we go again. Stand up to corporate take overs of public institutions. send will b goode back to his darwinian market paradise.

A semantic quibble... the existing motion is technically a "LACK OF confidence" motion. The BOV yet has the potential to avoid or provoke a "NO confidence" motion.
I'd not bet on "avoid" at finite odds, though....

Based on my own experience in academe and government, I suspect that Mr. Simon set the tone that will be followed by most faculty members. They will talk to each other about the travesty of justice, and then go on vacation.

Public universities are political institutions, so they are run by politicians and their appointed friends and contributors (usually one and the same). In theory, they are to serve the people, but that is mere theory. They do pretty much what they feel like doing. They are not required to be qualified for their jobs, beyond being bipedal mammals.

Academics, on the other hand, are timid folk. They got where they are by going along with the dictates of their teachers, their professors, their dissertation committee, the editors of peer-reviewed journals, their peers. They hate to make waves, other than those that may be created through the vigorous expression of hot air.

When all is done, things will go on as they have in the past. UVa will move on, so with the BOV, so will the politicians and the people, so will the contributors. Relax. The de-throned queen will move on to another kingdom.

"Just follow the money" was what Deep Throat told Bob Woodward in a parking garage. Yes indeed follow it and expose the douche bags that are ruining this country and flag ship institutions of intellectual pursuit like Uva. It looks like the new generation of billionaire 'street thugs' have hit a wall here in Charlottesville. To be reminded of the self-destructive quality of King Lear is a compliment to them because they don't even deserve to be hoisted onto that kind of stage. Suffice it to say that they are profoundly out of touch with reality - very much along the lines of people with narcissistic personality disorders and social dyslexia , due to an overcompensating sense to aggrandize, and illusions of power in areas they cannot grasp - culminating in incomprehensible actions which can cause extreme harm to other individuals or entities.

In this case the cabal of 3 BOV members, 2 'influential alumni' in consort with one Brutus, have caused a backlash of epic proportions. Uva might now actually be on the forefront of a very needed discussion about the essence of higher education, and how universities can keep their programs because their survival in face of state cutbacks is so compromised, and begging those influential alumni for money doesn't come cheap. I am so impressed with all the smart and thoughtful comments posted so far, it makes one believe change is possible if the outrage is there. Tomorrow at 3.

The guy who helped install Patricia Kluge on the BOV thinks that Helen Dragas "is very talented." And that Tim Kaine "has to back Dragas."

http://www.bluevirginia.us/diary/6928/can-uva-rector-helen-dragas-surviv...

Everyone's demamding details and transparency. In the "off-campus" world, this would be highly unprofessional. The last thing she needs right now are the details being let out while she's interviewing.

I agree with Mr. Williams. Very funny! Between the tongue and cheek is wisdom that will be proven true over time. It's kind of like the famous Cosby Show quote... The BOV brought her into this presidency... The BOV can take her out. NEXT. This event will likely skyrocket Mrs. Sullivan's career, as long as the demands for transparency remain unanswered. One more thing... just for kicks... Someone please speak up tomorrow night while on the subject of bringing people back... and try to get Pat Michaels and Michael Mann to come back to teach a climate class together. If we can get that to happen, UVA will skyrocket in academic polls, fundraising, and Today Show mentions.

It appears that the Public Relations group that Dragus and Company hired are now making comments on this blog. Look for more like them. Maybe they should give us a link to Survey Monkey.

Michaels can't teach at UVa because no one
shows up to listen.

It is no longer an option to discuss whether or how quickly this fool rector must be ejected from the university, forcibly, if necessary. It is no longer even a matter of opinion as to whether she is fit to hold the office. She is not.

This megalomaniac must be stripped of authority and banned from ever again holding any level of responsibility for the stewardship of the University of Virginia.

The woman shows no signs of stepping down now that she has seized power, even for an interim. Time to topple a tyrant and run her miserable a$$ out of town.

Dragas, honor is not within you. Leave. Now.

Your name will forever be associated with treachery, egomania, arrogance and breathtaking stupidity.

Years from now, whenever someone at UVa engages in a pitiful power play and ends up looking like a jackass, instead, that person will ben known for "pulling a Dragas."

All sorts of new verbs, nouns and adjectives will be devised as a bleak homage to this Darden alum's vile legacy.

So what if one donor withholds millions to influence UVa? If thousands of loyal 'Hoos do likewise to advance their desires in an organized fashion, this ludicrous abuse of power will come to a swift end.

Jones, Kiernan, Dragas, et. al.: You have shamed your family names forever. You are a disgrace to everything good and noble at the University. And now you have been caught.

Weasels counting their money and licking their snouts in anticpation of more to come.

Go to Hell, the lot of you.

It's going to rain today. Bring umbrellas to the Lawn, together with your pitchforks and flaming torches.

"So what if one donor withholds millions to influence UVa? If thousands of loyal 'Hoos do likewise to advance their desires in an organized fashion, this ludicrous abuse of power will come to a swift end."

and the WaPo reports on the 'other' side of large donors. Hunter Smith (of Carl Smith Center) and Jane Batten (Batten School) promise no more donations from their families unless Dragas is removed.

Jane Batten and her family are a class act. However, the institute that bears their name and is installed at the Darden School is a joke.

The Batten Institute -- ostensibly a think tank for developing best practices -- is actually just a conclave of self-important people doing a hot-mess job of merely looking busy. I defy anyone to produce anything of enduring substance that came out of the Batten Institute. Always thought that if Frank Batten had any real idea of what went on there, he would pull the financial plug double-quick, rest his soul.

For added hilarity, Batten folks get to have precious titles on their business cards such as "Director of Intellectual Capital..."

I kid you not.

Good people, this is the sort of real-life comedy you just can't make up.

GUNNERY SERGEANT HARTMAN
Private Joker, do you believe in the Virgin Mary?

PRIVATE JOKER
Sir, no, sir!

GUNNERY SERGEANT HARTMAN (ANGRY)
Well, well, Private Joker, I don't believe I heard you correctly!

PRIVATE JOKER
Sir, the private said "no, sir," sir!

GUNNERY SERGEANT HARTMAN
Why you little maggot, you make me want to vomit! (SLAPS JOKER IN THE FACE)

GUNNERY SERGEANT HARTMAN
You Goddamn communist heathen, you had best sound off that you love the Virgin Mary, or I'm gonna stomp your guts out! Now you DO love the Virgin Mary, don't ya?

PRIVATE JOKER
Sir, NEGATIVE, sir!

GUNNERY SERGEANT HARTMAN
Private Joker, are you trying to offend me?

PRIVATE JOKER
Sir, NEGATIVE, sir! Sir, the private belives any answer he gives will be wrong and the Senior Drill Instructor will only beat him harder if he reverses himself, SIR!

You see what I'm getting at? The BoV cannot reverse itself in the face of indignation w/out drawing even more contempt & abuse for appearring weak & feckless. Whatever happens, Sullivan will not be reinstated.

@ Bartleby the asinine scribbler:

You sure do like movies, sonny. First, a ham-fisted reference to Godfather II, now you invoke one of the lesser films in the Kubrick canon. Come up with some original material, if you can.

The issue here is not whether the BoV should reinstate Sullivan. The issue is getting rid of the BoV in its current composition, replacing its members with individuals in line with the best interest's of the university -- as opposed to their own bank accouns and their poltical masters -- then ask Sullivan if she even wants to return to the job. If not, let the new BoV vet her successor, not the current crop of imbeciles who created this disaster.

I am so embarassed for my alma mater and the way that this has been handled that I simply cannot envision a scenario where Sullivan would want anything to do with UVa after this. Her silence is immaterial; so far her reputation has not sustained so much as a scratch.

However, Dragas' reputation, as well as many of her Darden cronies, now looks like the Picture of Dorian Gray. Now there's a subreference for ya.

I always figured something like this would happen first at George Mason. Mason looks like the pinnacle of educational probity compared to The University of Virginia. Thanks Dragas! Is it true your dad came to our shores in a equine-shaped wooden boat?

With all due respect, what a bunch of drama queens.

Here's the link to The Post article some commenters have mentioned; it's titled "U-Va. donors threaten to withhold funds over ouster of president:"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/u-va-donors-threaten-to-...

Some excerpts:

"A top donor to the University of Virginia said she plans to withhold future contributions unless members of the school’s governing board who are responsible for the ouster of President Teresa Sullivan are removed."

“ 'It hurts me because I had two or three things I wanted to get done,' Hunter Smith of Charlottesville said Sunday in an interview. 'I won’t condone what happened. It’s disgraceful'.”

"Smith and her late husband, Carl W. Smith, contributed more than $60 million to the Charlottesville school founded by Thomas Jefferson and U-Va.’s College at Wise in southwest Virginia. Now she says she will not donate until changes to the governing board are made."

"Smith said she would like to see Dragas, Kington and other board members removed before she donates any more money. Beneficiaries of her family’s donations include Scott Stadium, the Cavalier Marching Band and the schools of architecture, law, medicine and business."

It appears the Helen Dragas and Mark Kington and the other nimrods on the UVa Board of Visitors are getting to hoisted on their own petard.

David Toscano for Governor! Go David!

"President Dragas, Egypt calling."

@Will June 17th, 2012 | 10:31pm

Not quite Will. Business (for profit and not for profit) depends on ethics. UVA has all sorts of in house professors. Ask them about this matter. IMHO only an absolute NIMROD would resort to hollow threats especially concerning such an important issue. He has set himself and the entire Faculty Senate up to be pawns in the controversy.

And that is the level of skill exhibited.

I do not believe for a minute that the Provost issued a hollow threat.

I am in favor, in this instance, of individuals holding on to fight for a principle. It is almost always better to resign rather than be fired. This is one of those instances where standing your ground for the principles in which you believe, even if it means getting fired, would allow for a more thorough discussion and clear delineation of where all stand on the matter.

Hindsight is great, but how may have this been different if Sullivan had refused to resign and forced the board to fire her? The same applies for the provost. Neither would be affected by the stigma of a firing in this case, it might only enhance their future career prospects to be fired by such an ignominious bunch

From my experience with academia it's nearly certain that Simon's threat is *not* hollow. In fact, it's highly probable he's already gotten feelers from other universities--there is always an effort to poach top administrators after an incident like this. He could easily get another job (especially if he shows a strong support for the academic mission and the faculty), probably at another private university (he came from Duke) at a higher salary. It's more problematic for faculty to leave, especially older faculty with tenure, but it's still not impossible, especially for the most productive members of a department.

The coverage of this story by the Hook is inspiring. I wrote a Washington Post reporter today asking why the Hook’s information about big donor connections to the firing had not appeared in their paper. I got back, “We'd love to, but we don't have the sourcing to say it yet.”

Smearing of Sullivan and Warren for their book on Bankruptcy is re-blossoming.

The story has gone overseas.

“What did the governor know and when did he know it?”

Yeah for the Hook!

Mark, Chiang Mai, Thailand

The faculty ain't going on vacation, this is not going to blow over.

These corporate idiots messed with the wrong university. As some corporate goons above intimated this is not just some dumb personnel gaff.

This action by the BOV and their corporate, wealthy class conspirators represents take-over of public institutions by corporate interests who just want to privatize everything.

It represents the bankruptcy of a political system that allows wealthy corporate types to buy board positions on public institutions and then use their position to capitalize public institutions.

It represents a violation of the public trust, open meetings, and transparency, in other words all the democratic principles of Thomas Jefferson and the Republic he help to establish.

Some of the corporate goons above want you to believe this is some ho-hum, administrative practice that we should all just accept.

What this ought to be is a massive wake-up call to install the practices of workplace democracy not only in public institutions but also incorporations. We live in a democracy and why is it that when we spend a third of our days in organizations and corporations that are rune like sweat shops of stalinist work camps. There are examples of companies that are complete worker run and managed, where all workers are included in decision making. These businesses have been able to weather the economic difficulties without laying off people because they have an ethic of caring that Corporate Boards and CEOs don't.

So as they say "big things have little beginnings. The beginnings of change may come from one misstep by corporate BOV over lords who thought they could get away with privatizing the Thomas Jefferson's PUBLIC university by first arbitrarily firing a well respected leader in the dead of night with no public process. No way!

The big outcomes of this could be: reformed appointment process of UVA (and other public governing boards) and a turning back the tide of private, corporate takeovers of public universities. We need our governing boards to represent the commonwealth of Virginia. The BOV for instance should reflect all economic interests and backgrounds. It should also be 51% faculty, staff, students, and parents.

So we are not going to let this blow over nor will the country. This has already garnered state and national attention. Its a line in the public-private sand.

It is clear that the only way out of the morass this Board has drawn us into is to reinstate President Sullivan.

Whatever one might think of Sullivan's leadership capacities, it is hard to imagine anything but a strong headwind, lasting for a number of years, should the BOV choose any action other than offering to reinstate the President.

The best way forward is to reverse this terrible decision. Write BOV members to say the same:

http://www.virginia.edu/bov/visitorsandstaff.html

Vandals, no doubt egged on by Simon and his vicious coterie of pit vipers in the faculty yesterday, defaced the Rotunda overnight. The Board of Visitors should act swiftly and decisively to rid the university of this rabble.

http://www2.dailyprogress.com/news/2012/jun/18/uva-police-rotunda-vandal...

Email the Governor. He may not be reading but they're counting.

http://www.governor.virginia.gov/AboutTheGovernor/contactGovernor.cfm

George Allen, former 3rd string QB for the Hoo's takes credit for the start of starving public universities in VA: http://www.politifact.com/virginia/statements/2012/jun/18/george-allen/g...

While I don't condone vandalism and I am 100% sure that none of the Faculty at UVA do either, it is interesting to focus on the message on the Rotunda: "GREED"

That does seem to be at the heart of all of this nonsense started by the three corporate BOVs who apparently misrepresented themselves to Ms. Sullivan when they pushed her out.

Its the greed of the corporate masters the BOV represents who want to privatize and turn the university into a business through online education. I like small businesses but the mega corporations and their Boards and CEOS have taken greed to new levels that have destroyed our economy and caused the current depression we are in. This same spirit of greed now permeates the UVA BOVs as they try to take a great public university and mold it into a multi-national corporation with their online yoga schemes.

Greed is indeed behind it all along with contempt for democracy and contempt for the role of ordinary citizens in the democratic process.

Don't pay attention to Bartleby types and his disgusting smarmy band of sweatshop CEOs, plantation owners, who revel in greed nay promote it as their rasison d'etre.

Sic Semper Tyrannis as the VA motto goes.

Let's also not forget what Courtney Stuart wrote recently:

"I hope we shall," wrote Jefferson, "crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and to bid defiance to the laws of their country."

I'm sad about the defacing of the Rotunda, but on my way to the Faculty Senate meeting I had to pass three signs with the name John Paul Jones - now those signs have a different meaning.

What name can we use as an informal reference to the basketball arena? It seems that Jones unintentionally may have besmirched his father's name in some circles by being implicated in this mess. I guess UVA basketball arena will have to do for now.

It looks more and more to me like it wasn't really about corporate online education, although that may have been a factor--it was more about taking resources from the academic programs (e.g. shutting down "obscure" departments like German) and giving it to the hospital. It wasn't a misstatement when Dragas mentioned the "patients and students" of the University in that order. That's their priority. A hospital is high profile and they think they can run it like a business.

Here's Dragas latest move

Board Rector Helen E. Dragas has cited a fundamental philosophical difference with the president. A university source said she has hired Hill+Knowlton, a public relations firm, to help the board handle the backlash.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/former-u-va-president-john...

As an informal name for the basketball arena, some may recall that Casteen once suggested calling it "The Jack" (since "The John" doesn't sound right). So perhaps you can call it what many people already call it privately--the Jackoff. (I am not sure whether I'm allowed to use that word in this forum, but there it is.)

Ah....A possibility of becoming governor one day......LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lots of luck, baby girl!!
http://www.bluevirginia.us/showDiary.do;jsessionid=B3495A39B70CA5D57BFCE...

This is playing out like a personal vendetta by Cruella Dragas against President Sullivan. This is certainly not the UVA that I attended where academic excellence was once revered. Now it seems it's the almighty dollar that is more revered.

One president gone and one to go. Newt would be a great replacement since he has big ideas.

@NancyDrew Ha, no surprise that Dragas turned to Hill+Knowlton for her PR needs:

"Four years ago, when Dilenschneider took over at Hill & Knowlton, he had one goal: to make the company the largest and best public relations firm in the world. Not that he had to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Hill & Knowlton was known affectionately in the industry as ''the gray lady of P.R.,'' a quiet, highly professional company whose client list was limited to the cream of corporate America: Kellogg's, Procter & Gamble, Du Pont. Then Dilenschneider moved in.

Quiet competence was replaced with brash aggressiveness, and today, after gobbling up several competitors, Hill & Knowlton is one of the two biggest public relations companies in the world, according to O'Dwyer's Directory of Public Relations Firms. It is neck and neck with a latecomer to the field, Shandwick P.L.C., a British conglomerate, and both are followed closely by Burson-Marsteller. Sweet as this victory may be, Dilenschneider's push for size, some say, has been at the expense of quality work and employee morale. Gershon Kekst, a longtime industry observer and founder of the public relations firm Kekst & Company, says that Hill & Knowlton now has only 'pockets of excellence.'"

http://www.nytimes.com/1990/09/09/magazine/what-hill-knowlton-can-do-for...

So assuming they are on board do we see any evidence of their handiwork yet ?

WaPo reporter just tweeted " some BOV members have asked if Sullivan would consider staying on ? " then he writes online soon,

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/college-inc/post/u-va-governing-boar...

My public tax dollars are going to pay for Hill an Knowlton so the nut job Rector can BS the world about her meglomaniacal scheme to corporatize UVA?????

What?

I think this is way above Dragas' pay grade. The idea was to create an open slot quickly at the UVa Prersident's office. But why? Getting Romney elected to the the White House is the number one task of the hedge fund crowd. Who is the one person when paired with Obama as VP candidate could easily result in him being reelected? That is why it is necessary to give him/her a slot for a few years as a bribe for not running with Obama in the November elections. The sooner he/she is at UVa the sooner he/she is out of the VP sweepstakes. The governor is up to his eyeballs in this.

Yes, I am paranoid.

UVA in uproar today, folks. People enthralled as WaPo indicates (via Twitter) that some on BOV want Sullivan back, Sabato asks (via Twitter) if some is enough. Meanwhile, overnight messages capture anger in community: http://www.readthehook.com/104271/unauthorized-dialogue-palace-coup-meet...

Email Sullivan. Beg her to stay on. We need a leader who can stand up to these oligarchs.

Dissapointing that the university community has turned into a bunch of pansy winers willing to spurn the bofv for doing their job, and doing it with the strength that belong to the gods. When i hear people throwing out words like "honor" in a response to a business decision taken in the best interests of the university, it makes me sick. What we have here is a bunch of drama queens indeed, willing to rush to judgement in defense of some lady most of them know nothing about. Congratulations to dragas and thanks to tutor jones for his inspiring op-ed piece. Makes me proud.

@Vagrad: 'tutor' indeed.

Statement of Faculty Senate Executive Council Concerning Meeting with Rector Dragas
June 18, 2012

This morning, the Faculty Senate Executive Council met with Rector Dragas to discuss the recent resignation of President Sullivan. We invited the Vice Rector, but he did not attend. The purpose of the meeting was to allow the Council to ask questions raised by the University faculty concerning recent events, and to hear the Board’s perspective.
We asked the Rector about the process and the reasons behind President Sullivan’s resignation; the principles of shared governance between the faculty, administration and the Board; the Board’s desire for a strategic plan; and the Board’s justification for the speedy and secretive nature of its actions.
We had a cordial discussion. Based on extensive input from our faculty constituents and the Rector’s responses to our questions, we made the following requests:
1. That the Board delay the naming of any interim president to provide an opportunity for shared governance;
2. That President Sullivan be reinstated;
3. That the Board recommend representation by UVA faculty on the Board as voting members; and
4. That the Rector and Vice Rector resign in the best interests of the University.

I hope dragas and the board stand their ground on this one.

The Faculty politely listened to Rector Dragas explain her reasons for the removal of Sullivan as UVa President and then asked Dragas to resign. No sale here.

http://www2.dailyprogress.com/news/2012/jun/18/faculty-senate-statement-...

@bills- The university board wishes to change course. Best of luck to sullivan, the board, and the university. Lets hope it is the right call.

Seek help. You are unwell.

It is the university community that is unwell, rushing to take one side over another, and in doing so exacerbating the negative publcity and feeding the perception of a scandal. Acting childish under the guise of being honorable. Wheres the honor in that?

I am wondering why she submitted her resignation in the first place.

Wow definitely feels like the PR folks are out in force. "Bill s.," "Interested party," and maybe "Vagrad" too--you guys happen to work for Hill+Knowlton?

Looking on the bright side, maybe this is the beginning of a discourse on how we can make the university better.

BOV= Board of Visigoths, plundering the Classics department, et al. But one thought--when was the last time there was this much interdisciplinary accord? As wrenching and wrong as this mess is, perhaps it will get everyone focussed on the proper goals that Pres. Sullivan outlined in her recent report on the state of the University.

@Interested party - Ha! The university community that's demanding explanation for the unjustified dismissal of a president who was widely liked and considered to be doing a good job, that's who's unwell? Not the board members and rich donors who secretly plotted behind closed doors (excluding even some of their own members!) to oust her and then provided little insight into their decision besides some corporate management buzz words? Which is more honorable, openly standing up for what you think is right, or conniving in secret?

@emmajane - I completely agree. Your comment reminds me of UVA's radio station WTJU, which recently rejected a new manager whose vision did not match that of the station. Now the station has a great manager, and it has been working hard to overcome the weaknesses that were highlighted during that ordeal. In fact, one of its great improvements has been more remote community broadcasts. WTJU will be broadcasting live from the Lawn starting at 2pm today:

http://www.facebook.com/events/411384642246891/

I hope that President Sullivan and the university community prevail, and that this crisis sparks a similar sense of awareness and empowerment for positive change.

Simon says-this is all about me.What a geek. He may be on the right side (now) but what a graceless and not very brave character .

The new 'Virginia Way?' Virginia House committee says governor cut deal with Redskins behind its back. http://wapo.st/NKDNBp

I am an alumna who also went to Penn State for graduate work. I see many parallels between this situation with Sullivan, the BOV, and the governor, and what happened at Penn State. These Republican governors with higher political aspirations stack the Boards with business folks who are hostile to public education. The only solution I see is to change the composition of these boards to folks with loyalty and affection to the universities they govern. What happened to Sullivan is a travesty and I am heartened by the activism of the faculty.

Unless the President is guilty of some terrible crime or act of malfeasance, the behavior of the Rector, as portrayed in this article, is simply outrageous.
If the portrayal presented here is true, then the Rector's behavior is an affront to the entire university community unless there was some compelling, yet to be revealed, reason that required immediate termination of our highly respected and admired president.

But by all accounts, it seems that President Sullivan enjoyed and continues to enjoy the support of the faculty, as department chair after department expresses the full support of their faculties for President Sullivan and state that they and their faculties have no confidence in the Board of Visitors.

In the absence of any scandalous behavior by the President, it would appear that Ms. Dragas indulged in a naked and abusive power grab. That she was permitted to use Foundation money to hire a public relations firm is beyond outrageous, and is a good reason to never again give a dime to the Foundation. Yes, and to ask for an audit.

I must say reading this article, even after all the other things I have read about Ms. Dragas's role in all of this, was simply shocking. To think that the Rector of our university could behave with carefully considered premeditation in such a shameful, tawdry manner is painfully embarrassing not only to me but to anyone with any respect for our institution.
It would seem to me that there is a certain level of dignity we are entitled to expect from someone serving in a high public office such as the Rector of the University of Virginia. To say that Ms. Dragas has been a dissappointment would be an understatement.

In fact, the recent behavior of the Rector, aided by her close associates on the Board, has scandalized the alumni, faculty and student body and greatly diminished the reputation of the University of Virginia both in our state and across the country..

For my part, from what I have learned in published accounts, and in the absence of any reasonable explanation or illumination of this dark affair by the participants, and in view of the tremendous upset to the university community, it seems to me that neither the Rector nor her close associates responsible for this campaign against President Sullivan can make any further positive contributions to the work of the Board of Visitors and so should be relieved of their responsibilities immediately, without delay. I believe the legislature has the oversight authority to accomplish this, and I certainly that its investigation and resolution of this dark chapter will be expeditious and thorough.
Dr. James B. Kiracofe

Very well written, Dr. Kiracofe!