Unauthorized dialogue: 'Palace coup meets grassroots rebellion'

An overnight message hand-scrawled in thick red marker defied UVA's official attempts to wipe it clean. G R E E E D (they added a bonus "E") spelled out over the six Corinthian columns on the north face of the Rotunda was visible Monday morning, June 18, as reporters searched in vain for the 9am secret meeting between the Board of Visitors and executive committee of the Faculty Senate.

A couple of blocks away on always-painted Beta Bridge, the posted message seemed to launch a new phrase from the oft-mocked words of now-resigned Darden Foundation chair Peter Kiernan. Instead of "strategic dynamism," the Beta Bridge message seems to urge "strategic transparency."

Although he might not agree with the means, the unauthorized communications seems in keeping with a quip which noted UVA pundit Larry Sabato posted to Twitter on Monday morning: "Today at UVA: Palace coup meets grassroots rebellion."

Read more on: Peter Kiernan


The Arabs did it so can we. Spring is past, make this a Summer that goes down in history -wear black - protest begins at 2:30 at the UVa Rotunda. Come one, come all - men women and children, and don't forget the dogs.

Its Arab Spring for UVA and public Universities all over the country. Its now or never. Show up for today at the Rotunda at 2:30. SHow up in the next weeks as this gets even more conflictual. We live in a Republic and it doesn't work unless everyone participates and not just at the ballot box. 99% of democracy occurs after the voting is over.

Showing up today is a ballot box. Make your voice heard.

No more corporate take overs of public institutions
No more CEO immorality and private self interest as governing principles

Reinstate Sullivan
Dismiss the BOVs
Change the BOV appointment process now-no more corporate appointments in exchange for Govs' campaign contributions
Raise corporate and wealthy tax rates to pay for public higher education

Show up, write letters to Gov, legislators, BOVs, newspapers.

We are now presented with a Win-Lose proposition.

If the BOV attempts to appoint an Interim President, then faculty, staff, student, and alumni voices will have been silenced, the University will be perceived (rightly) to be under the control of a few people without academic credentials. UVa's reputation will suffer.

If the BOV reinstates the President, then faculty, staff, student, and alumni voices will have been heard and will have prevailed, and Virginia will stand as a beacon for those who value open, thoughtful, and honest debate and dialogue. Senior scholars and administrators will see Virginia as a place where their voices can be heard. The reputation of the University will improve, not suffer.

For the good of the University, one hopes the BOV makes the right choice.

Now they've done it: Dragas and her good squad have pi$$ed off John Doe/Kevin Spacey.

This cannot possibly end happily.

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.

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


Everyone, including the office of public affairs at Uva now reports directly to Dragas. She is the de facto president of the University. Unbelievably scary!

How to reinstate Sullivan : Donors unfortunately it's all about the money --so pull your donations contingent on Faculty demands. Hopefully it's the faculty that you care about.

It worked at Georgetown and it will work here too !

11:21 AM EDT
"As Yogi Berra would say, "It's deja vu all over again." This happened before, at Georgetown Law Center, when the University tried to ease out an excellent woman Dean. Aside from the uproar at the school itself, the big donors threatened to pull millions of dollars in development money and the response was quick: the Dean was left in place to continue her work and the University President who started the mess suddenly "disappeared." Something very unsavory is happening at UVA. Eventually, the truth will come out. The folks at UVA should take a page from the Jesuits at Georgetown: admit the mistake and do not waste time and money fixing the problem. Don't let it fester;It's not worth it."


How stupidly self absorbed to compare a UVa spat with people who had been oppressed by a regime well known for torture. Yeah, I am guessing your silly little "Arab spring" does not involve you risking your lives...or your dogs.

Could this town be more ego centric?

And hey, make sure you have the rich donor keep all the money they provide the Universities. Because, well, they will just fine with everyone hugging each other and no one actually having enough money.

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.

If the rich donors pull out maybe we, the taxpayers, will have to fund Higher Ed. Sounds like a plan to me

Only about half of the wealthy donors give money that doesn't have strings attached, that the University can use as it sees fit. When it's not directed to some project that the University specifically wants, like a building, it's often aimed at some vanity project like the yoga center that doesn't fit with the University's overall goals and pre-existing strengths. The $100M donation that PTJ kept dangling at them was similar, it was to set up something (I'm not sure exactly what) according to *his* plan that *he* had to approve, and that probably would have added additional administrative and cost burdens. I'd like to know whether universities actually come out ahead in the intermediate to long term when they take donations with strings. I wonder whether anybody's studied that. Similarly, there is controversy over whether, if we did the accounting honestly, it is actually costing universities money to run the farm teams for the NFL and NBA, for instance. It has been established pretty well that alums who donate only to athletics very rarely give to the overall academic program.

Thank you Jimi and Parent. Everyone needs to get a grip and think about the ramifications to their selfish "protests". Just because the BOV acted thoughtlessly and carelessly, doesn't mean those concerned with the best interests of UVA have to..........And again with the politics, still waiting to see how the C'ville liberals insert GW into this mess......or better yet, George Allen, The Tea Party, Daily Caller. I mean obviously this is some GOP conspiracy by McDonnel and Romney......like I said, get a grip. Cooler heads always prevail.

Rebellion,no. Vandalism, yes.

Your guitar skills notwithstanding, the fact remains that you have been dead lo these 41 years. so kindly behave like a good dead person and shaddup, unless you resurrect yourself and immediately manifest some common sense.

That's terrible (writing on the columns). That's not helping anything.

Supposedly the other side of the bridge quotes UVA '12 alum who wrote letter to the provost which was quoted in yesterday's Faculty Senate emergency meeting.

@wahoofan, I'm all for protest, but what I'm saying is -if the funder of the Yoga Institute ( Contemplative Science Center), or Wallstreet MBA/Darden grads choose not to buy UVa, we are better off raising taxes and owning it ourselves, last I heard it was a public university and had not been sold to Paul Tudor Jones.

The Board of Visitors would be foolish to grovel before the faculty by meeting even one of its demands. These whiny, pampered academics, apparently unsatisfied with their comfortable sinecures, now seek to use the firing of one of their own as a pretext for an unprecedented power grab. If the BoV acquiecses to their demands, it will be the most humiliating, emasculating defeat a governing body has been subject to since Chamberlain surrendered to Hitler at Munich.

The Faculty could leave tomorrow and where would UVa be? In big trouble

The BoV could all leave tomorrow and UVa would be just fine.

Bartleby: Could you be any more melodramatic? Nancydrew: Could you make a more offensive comparison?
Things are never as simple as they seem people. Never. Life and people are much more complicated. The truth doesn't lie to the right or to the left in this. The answer is somewhere on the narrow - and only a few people are ever willing to look for that road. Everyone else prefers to fight it out. Sad.

"The Faculty could leave tomorrow and where would UVa be? In big trouble
The BoV could all leave tomorrow and UVa would be just fine."

"The Faculty could leave tomorrow and where would UVa be? In big trouble
The BoV could all leave tomorrow and UVa would be just fine."

(Sorry for the doublepost)

Oh my my.

Bartleby must have been beaten up by a nerd in middle school. Why else would he have such a chip on his shoulder about academics?

Bartleby, who I would be willing to bet dollars-to-donuts is actually a paid consultant for Dragas:

If "whiny, pampered academics" do not have the right to be the definitive voice over the fate of higher education in our country, who does? And how did these other people earn the right that those of us who have dedicated our lives to the profession did not?

If you hate higher education so much that you consider its experts and leaders to be so whiny and pampered that they are not to be trusted, why exactly should we trust your prescription for changing it? What did you do to earn that trust?

By your logic, since I consider many very rich corporate executives to be "pampered" and "full of themselves" and "arrogant," by dint of my critical eye and (IMHO) better analysis of the functions of corporations, I should be allowed to step in and run their corporations as I see fit. Funny how rarely I see anyone express an opinion like that.

Or, we could let parts of society be run by people who dedicate their lives to the things they do.

"Bartleby, who I would be willing to bet dollars-to-donuts is actually a paid consultant for Dragas."

Paid for out of UVa money too.

i actually doubt that Bartleby is paid for much of anything, given his level of invective. A paid consultant is likely to sound much more intelligent, or at least less rabid.

Students and faculty keep citing the UVA Honor Code. Where is the honor in defacing University property?

All the protests are a perfect illustration of herd mentality. People are acting based solely on emotions. Jump on the bandwagon and protest, as this is the latest fad.

Neither the BOV or President Sullivan have shared the bottom line reason for the action. Statements from the BOV, administration and news articles hint at financial issues, but no one knows with certainty what the root cause was, which could have been something very serious, defiance of a board edict, immoral, or illegal for all we know. Yet the BOV has been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion. Dragas and Kington are the prime scapegoats, but remember that a majority of the BOV agreed to the decision.

I am extremely disappointed in the faculty behind these protests, particularly the Law School faculty who seem to have forgotten the basic tenet, "Innocent until proven guilty".

I am also greatly dissapointed in President Sullivan, who continues in her position until August 15, albeit with limited responsibilities, for the fact that she has not issued a statement to the UVA community. If she truly is a leader and has the university at heart, she would release a simple statement to the effect that she regrets that things didn't work out here, thanks for the support, and now it is time to move forward as an institution. That would not violate confidentiality clauses, and it would do a lot to ease the tension and put us back on the road to excellence.

To those who think that she should be reinstated, Really? Even if the Governor dismissed 3/4s or all of the BOV, how would she ever develop a solid working relationship with them again? Despite faculty's sense that there should be "shared governance", that is not the way it works and the BOV doesn't have the power to change it, so you are barking up the wrong tree.

Time for all stakeholders to let logic, reason, and principles of fairness rule the dialogue, rather than gut emotions.

Oh and before everyone tries to dismiss my ideas by claiming I am Dragas, a member of the BOV, or are posting this on their behalf, rest assured, I just a non-adminstrative employee, speaking my own mind.

why doesn't the faculty go on strike. as bad as unions are in many ways they are successful through the powerful strike method. the ultimate voice. the university faculty is weak until it unites in the most powerful manner...if only to remove the rector and the bov. they have the ability to truly clean house. the university cannot possible ignore a strike or continue to operate under Dragus leadership without a faculty. anything short is noise and they know the noise will eventually go away. they are all ear plugged now with only their arrogant mental driving forces to listen to . they have been driven by their own voices of power and dreams of new money to reinforce the power for weeks......since they were so easily seduced by 2 rich alums who want to occcupy the university as they have occupied wall street.

Bartelby, are you an idiot?