Editor's note

In my 23 years of newspapering this town, I cannot recall any event where the clash of two cultures– business and academia– was so intense and expressed in such tumultuous ways. Like their colleagues at the Washington Post, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and the Daily Progress, breaking important details of the ouster of UVA President Teresa Sullivan, Hook reporters worked around the clock to bring the latest dispatches in a quickly-changing spectacle. In this issue, you will find the results of what we found.

Read more on: Teresa Sullivan

34 comments

Alright folks give it up for the boys and girls at the hook!

Thank you for what you do. I have been impressed with the coverage.

I've been checking the Hook first for everything. Great posters here too.

A hearty thanks for all your efforts.

The release of the e-mails brings more confusion than clarity.

Why did the pressing need for strategic dynamism require the summary firing of President Sullivan?

We can see from her memo that she was working on on-line education. Surely the implementation of strategic dynamism would have required a Task Force and not her efforts alone. Appointing a new Vice President to lead this new venture would have been something the BOV and the President could have agreed on.

Some of the venom directed at Rector Dragas is misplaced. The 11 member of the BOV who voted with her to install an interim President tacitly stated that the summary firing of the President was warranted. Actually 14 members. In this situation abstaining or leaving the room is not acceptable.

The only member of the BOV with the courage and integrity to oppose this action was Haywood Fralin.

The remaining members of the BOV should resign immediately for bring disgace and dishonor upon the University of Virginia.

Honor is not just refraining from lying, cheating, or stealing. It is a way of living your life. This is the core value of the University of Virginia. 15 members of the Board of Visitors are absent this value, and should leave the University immediately.

Well stated Mr. Gilliam, correct in every way. Thank you. The Governor should be taking note.

Thanks Hawes!

The other papers should be envious of the Hook's great work on this.

Apparently, there is an effort within the ranks of the BOV right now to reinstate the President.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/interim-u-va-leader-carl...

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/education/university-of-virginia-vice-...

Write to BOV members (emails found here: http://www.virginia.edu/bov/visitorsandstaff.html )

Write to the Governor!!!

Thank you Hawes and don't forget the rest of this excellent team.

On this and so many other important issues of our times, you have provided journalism. The DP and others have failed miserably. Biases pandering at best. What would we do without The Hook!

I generally like the Hook, but some of their articles on ouster of Sullivan were clearly inflammatory and biased in an attempt to create and fuel controversy. Please just stick to the facts.

Seeking excellence at UVA.
I have emailed the BOV and George K Martin is"I am out of the office on vacation June 18-25".

Vacation?

Thanks, The Hook. You've done an amazing job on this story.

There IS an effort within the ranks of the BOV right now to reinstate Sullivan.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/interim-u-va-leader-carl...

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/education/university-of-virginia-vice-...

Write to BOV members (emails found here: http://www.virginia.edu/bov/visitorsandstaff.html )

Write to THE GOVERNOR!!!

I'd call the Governor: 804-786-2211

Whenever I want the real truth and the real news I read the Hook or go online, you guys and gals do a superb job and provide a valuable service to Charlottesville, thank you

Nicely done. Thank you.

There is a facebook page "Students, Family, Friends United to Reinstate President Sullivan and a linked event site called "Rally for Honor". They have over 12,000 friends many of whom may show up to the rally for honor on Sunday 2-4 at the Lawn.

They are also encouraging everyone to call the governor and email the BOVs today because the three BOVs can call a meeting for June 27 if they do it today. There is buzz from the WAPO that there may be enough votes to undo this mess and that SUllivan would be willing to come back if Dragas is out.

You are encouraged to email the BOVs today asking respectfully that they do so. Here's the emailing instructions we got:

"COMMUNICATING WITH THE BOARD OF VISITORS: We have been told that Susan Harris, the Secretary for the Board of Visitors, will forward emails to all members of the Board, if you do the following: Write "Board of Visitors" as the subject line of the email message. Include the phrase "Board of Visitors" in the first line of the body of the email.

Please send email messages to both: Susan Harris, secretary for the Board of Visitors, at sgh4c@virginia.edu AND K. Ann Witkower, administrative assistant to the Faculty Senate, aw6v@virginia.edu."

Do it now!!! and Call/email the Gov:

"Gov McDonnell today (804) 786-2211. Tell him to push the Board o'Visitors to reinstate President Sullivan right away. Please share this update. Tell people who are not affiliated with UVA. EVERYONE HELP OUT TODAY, PLEASE!!!!!!"

use Gov. McDonnell's online submission form (which I think we may have crashed). http://www.governor.virginia.gov/AboutTheGovernor/contactGovernor.cfm

The community, citizens, faculty, staff, students, alums, parents are all coming together on this to 1) have Sullivan reinstated 2) have Dragas resign, 3) change the rules by which the BOVs are appointed so that they are representative.

This is a huge historical moment for UVA and for Public education in VA, the U.S., and the World. Be a part of it.

See you Sunday. Bring extra water for friends. Read Gandhi and MLK before coming out. This is America. The public University belongs to us.

Very nice coverage Hawes. I especially like how you focus on all sides of the story.

And although it may not seems like it as times, I very much enjoy this outlet for people to voice their feelings and concerns. Hopefully everyone can sift through some of the insanity and learn things from the various comments that are made.

I think it's more than safe to say that 99.99% of us feel that Ms. Dragas needs to go. Some are willing to let time take care of that while others want to drag her out by her ear 10 minutes ago. But we all want what's best for the University and want to provide the best environment for the students, faculty and administrators.

Let's hope things get back to normal soon.

Thanks Hawes for the great coverage. These articles will provide a great historical overview of the events.

We knew we could count on the Hook to seek the truth and to rabble rouse. Because this subterfuge needed rabble rousing. Keep up the great work!

Kudos to the Hook -- the only true investigative journalism I have seen on the subject. All the other MSM outlets have been rubber stamps for the BOV. I wouldn't be surprised if Dr. Sullivan's resistance to the BOV wasn't against its on-line teaching as much as its privatization agenda. GO HOOK!

Hawes, thanks for the coverage. I found myself looking to your website to stay current. I am glad that we do still have some journalism alive and well in this community. I know you all worked hard and long to stay on top of this.

I will echo the other folks who complimented the online posters also. Clearly a few flamethrowers and knuckleheads, but overall I found the discussions here to be pretty serious with lots of good thoughts and links to other sources that were helpful.

This is the first local story where I can say that I primarily used the internet as my first source of info. It is a brave new world after all.

The BOV has scheduled a meeting for Tuesday, June 26 at 3:00 pm

This is hope for restoration. Come to the Rally on Sunday to reinforce this Lawn 2 pm. Bring water. Be nice.

Hawes, Courteney, Lisa, and the rest of the Hook staff – Thank you for diligently and honorably upholding your positions as the 4th estate. If only our elected and appointed officials did their jobs half as well. If there is anything I can do to help you make sure that no stone goes unturned, regarding this issue, please let me know

Citizen, Seeking, countless other contributors, thanks for the links and for inspiring me to write the following letter to BOV, Dean Zeithaml and Governor. I hope that this issue will be resolved shortly, but if not, I will see you all on Sunday and for as long as it takes thereafter to see this through to its rightful conclusion.

Dear Governor McDonnell, Dean Zeithaml and BOV members,

As a UVA alumni (Electrical Engineering, 1985), longtime donor, and as a Citizen of our Commonwealth, the behavior of the BOV that we have all seen unfold over the past two weeks disgusts and sickens me.

For the sake of Mr Jefferson’s University, Ms. Dragas must resign immediately, before any further damage and embarrassment occurs to this great institution. By her actions she has dishonored herself, the University and the Commonwealth. If she is still too myopic to see the damage that she has caused and take this action for herself, then the adults in the room must take action for her. If the adults in the room cannot summon the conviction to do the honorable thing, then it will be up to the adults outside the room. That would not end well for anyone, and the longer this drags out, the more damage could ultimately occur. Surely Mr Kington is not the only one who can see this. For all of our sakes, please consider your actions over the past two weeks and head the writing on the wall that is now plain to see. History is not kind to unfit tyrants who overstay their time, and even less kind to their enablers.

It is now irrefutable that Dragas, Kington and Craig broke State law by holding an illegal “emergency” executive meeting on Friday June 8th, when the three of them forced the resignation of President Sullivan. According to § 2.2-3701 of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, an “emergency” is “an unforeseen circumstance rendering the notice required by this chapter impossible or impracticable and which circumstance requires immediate action.” We now know that this ill conceived putsch was planned for months and discussed with members outside of the board, hence no legitimate emergency could possibly have existed. The meeting was illegal. Furthermore we now know the truth of why Dragas, Kington and Craig acted with such urgency and secrecy. It was not for any “emergency”, but simply to hide the truth of their actions and to leave no time for honest assessment. That is reprehensible. To his credit, Kington has resigned already. The other perpetrators must face justice if they do not resign at once.

While the meeting itself was illegal, what transpired in that meeting was truly despicable and in clear violation of the University’s Honor system. Put simply, Dragas, Kington and Craig grossly mislead, if not outright lied to President Sullivan. They told her that this scheme which the three of them had concocted was in fact supported by all but one member the Board. We now know that this was at best a huge stretch of the truth, and at worst an outright lie. Dragas, Kington and Craig, while purporting to act on behalf of a great institution where Word is Bond, betrayed President Sullivan’s trust, as well as the trust that students, alumni, faculty and Citizens of the Commonwealth place in each member of the BOV to behave honorably.

Hunter Craig, you were quoted as saying that you had hoped to be able to vote on a motion to reinstate the president. You indicated that you would be willing to give up your place on the Board in order to seat a faculty member. I salute your sentiment, but talk is cheap. If you are a truly a man of your word, then it is time for you to man up and resign. A resignation letter to the governor in which you explicitly ask him to appoint the head of the faculty senate might be a bitter pill to swallow for a few hours, but would improve your stature immeasurably in this community.

Dean Zeithaml, you also need to man up and resign. You acknowledged that the process to undermine President Sullivan was ‘deeply flawed’ and say that you don’t support the Board’s decision to remove her. Well then, what are you waiting for? Are you a leader or an appeaser?

Governor McDonnell, you and I don’t agree on a lot of issues, but I still respect you. Under normal circumstances, I would never do this, but for the sake of my alma mater, I will offer you some friendly advice: Trust me, you really need to make sure this mess gets cleaned up well before your new board appointments are seated. If not, the stain will surely spread.

Fellow UVA alumni and Citizens of this Commonwealth, we cannot sit idly by and silently witness this blatant transgression against Mr Jefferson’s University. Nor can we abide by such a clear demonstration of incompetent governance of any public institution. We ARE the public. These are OUR dollars and OUR reputations that these incompetent self-styled aristocrats have squandered. If democracy means anything than it is time to draw a line against the forces of incompetency and mendacity.

Yours – Kevin Lynch

Thanks for the coverage. It's been really grand.

You guys rock! Thanks for the hard work!

Has this gotten you more web traffic than the Huguely trial?

I’ve never spent a great deal of my valuable time customizing my computer toolbar but FINALLY... it’s done!

HOOK !!!!!!!

You and your team will receive a PULITZER!

Congratulations for a job well done!!

Just received an email from Rector with long tiresome explanation. My response was to demand her resignation

Unbelievable!!!!!!!
Certifiable

June 22, 2012

In my statement to the Board on Monday, I conveyed my heartfelt apologies for the pain, anger and confusion that has swept the Grounds over the last 10 days, and said that the UVA family deserved better from your Board.

I also indicated that this University was entitled to a fuller explanation of the Board's thinking for collectively taking the action that we did, and explained that, as Visitors, we have the very highest aspirations for the University of Virginia -- for it to reach its fullest potential as a 21st century Academical Village, always rooted firmly in our enduring values of honor, integrity and trust -- and that we want the University to be a leader in fulfilling its mission, not a follower.

Although I was reluctant to go into detail on our concerns, as I said, we owe you a more specific outline of the serious strategic challenges that alarmed us about the direction of the University. No matter how you feel about our actions, these challenges represent some very high hurdles that stand in the way of our University's path to continued success in the coming decade, and they are going to remain front and center for the next Board and the next President over the coming years. Simply put, the UVA family must be clear-eyed about the shoals and dangers that exist below the surface, and the hard work and strategic planning it will take for this community to navigate them together.

While the UVA student experience remains premiere, though our faculty creates dynamic newknowledge every day, and despite the enduring magic of Mr. Jefferson's University, the bottom line is the days of incremental decision-making in higher education are over, or should be. For some time, the Board of Visitors has been concerned about the following difficult challenges facing the University - most of which are not unique to UVA -- and we concluded that their structural and long-term nature demanded a deliberate and strategic approach, not an incremental one.

1. State and federal funding challenges - Since 2000, state funding per student has declined from $15,300 to $8,300 per student in constant dollars. Governor McDonnell has done much to restore stability to state funding, but the outlook for economic growth in this area over the long term is bleak. Federal research funding and federal support of student loans are both in decline, with no expectation of a recovery, putting pressure on the University to replace these revenue sources with sustainable alternatives. The University has no long-range plan to do so.

2. The changing role of technology in adding value to the reach and quality of the educational experience of our students. Bold experimentation and advances by the distinguished likes of Stanford, Harvard, and MIT have brought online learning into the mainstream, virtually overnight. Stanford's president, John Hennessy, predicted that "there's a tsunami coming", based on the response to online course offerings at Stanford (one course enrolled an astounding 160,000 students). Michigan, Penn, Princeton, Yale, and Carnegie Mellon are all taking aggressive steps in this direction. The University of Virginia has no centralized approach to dealing with this potentially transformational development.

3. A dynamic and rapidly changing health care environment. The UVA Medical Center, while excelling at cutting edge patient care and research, competes with competent and sophisticated private health systems providing high quality health care in a market undergoing substantive structural change. At the behest of the Board of Visitors, the Medical Center undertook a strategic planning study in 2011 that resulted in a well-articulated plan. Implementation will require strong leadership and very ambitious interim steps.

4. Heightened pressure for prioritization of scarce resources. Difficult choices will have to be made to balance competing demands for financial aid (the University's generous, $95 million per year financial aid program, AccessUVA, has consumed resources at an unsustainable and alarming rate over the last five years, yet it is considered necessary to compete with many elite private institutions in attracting the best and the brightest students) and faculty and staff recruitment, and retention. A wave of faculty retirements is coming over the next seven years, and faculty retention is increasingly difficult due to stagnation in faculty salaries. The College of Arts and Sciences alone estimates it would take $130 million by 2016 to provide competitive compensation and start-up costs to fulfill its aspirations in the humanities and the sciences. Yet, the University has no articulated long-range plan that prioritizes these competing demands for resources.

5. Issues of faculty workload and the quality of the student experience. The ratio of students to faculty is deteriorating. This change has not occurred as a part of a thoughtful process and planned strategy to integrate technology into introductory courses while extending importantsmall group and individual interactions between faculty and students. Rather, it reflects the stresses of increased enrollment and insufficient resource prioritization.

6. Issues of declining relative faculty compensation. In a letter dated May 11, 2012, the College of Arts and Sciences faculty issued a letter to the Board almost identical to one it issued to the Presidential search committee in 2009. It demanded urgency in addressing the decline of UVA in faculty compensation from 26th to 36th since 2005 among Association of American University peers, and noted our relatively poor performance vis-à-vis key public competitors such as UCLA, Berkeley, Michigan, and UNC.

7. Drifting engagement direction - The securing of philanthropic gifts and grants from a broader base of supporters is critically important as our devoted volunteer leadership attempts to finish the UVA capital campaign. Large gifts received over the last year include much appreciated, donor-driven funds for international squash courts and contemplative sciences (the confluence of Eastern thought, yoga, meditation, etc.). Central institutional priorities should be articulated and highlighted for engagement, but cannot be without development of a specific vision and plan.

8. Research funding and activity - Research funding has been in decline, and we have decreased in federal higher education research rankings in the past five years. In 2008, we were #70 in the nation overall (compared to Virginia Tech's #43 ranking). These statistics are incongruous with other characteristics of the University that suggest we should be a research powerhouse. Mr. Jefferson's vision for his University and his early encouragement of the sciences suggests the same. In areas of applied research, UVA often is not the first institution in Virginia that governmental units and businesses go to when they need a partner.

9. Increasing accountability for academic quality and productivity. These issues are foremost on the minds of students, family, and legislators. The Board well understands that curricular programming is the responsibility of the faculty, and the Board has never suggested any specific curricular adjustments. It is the Board's responsibility, however, to ask for evidence that the current curriculum is meeting its stated goals and also to ask how well anyparticular curriculum or program actually prepares UVA graduates for the increasingly complex, international world in which they will live and compete. There is no long-term program in place for assessment, reporting, and improvement in many disciplines.

10. Increasing importance of a proactive, contemporary communications function. The recent events unfolding at UVA have proven a demonstrated need to fortify university communications functions with updated technologies. We need faster, multi-platform communications including cutting-edge use of mobile, digital and social media to complement a more traditional media-relations function and press outreach to tell the UVA story.

This is but a partial list. Put together, these challenges represent an extremely steep climb, even if the University were lean and on top of its game. Yet in the face of these challenges, the University still lacks an updated strategic plan.

Believe it or not, the last time the University developed a concrete, strategic plan was a decade ago - in2002. We deserve better - the rapid development of a plan that includes goals, costs, sources of funds, timelines and individual accountability. And, without micromanaging details such as calling for the elimination of specific programs or mandating distance learning, the Board did insist, and still insists, that the University leadership move in a timely, thoughtful, and organized fashion to address these and similar issues. Failing this, the University of Virginia will continue to drift in yesterday.

At the time of President Casteen's retirement, the search process should have included a thoughtful assessment by uninvested third parties who, in collaboration with the institution's stakeholders, would have examined everything from academic programs, faculty assignments, student services, research activity, technology, tuition and admissions strategies, administrative expenditures,public service and outreach, private support, the Medical School and hospital, and, yes, governance, both at the administrative and board levels.

With this said, I agree with critics who say that we should have handled the situation better. In my view, we did the right thing, the wrong way. For this, I sincerely apologize, and this and future boards will learn from our mistakes. However, as much as our action to effect a change in leadership has created a wave of controversy, it was motivated by an understanding of the very stiff headwinds we face as a University, and our resolve to push through them to forge a future that is even brighter than imaginable today.

On behalf of the Board of Visitors,

Helen E. Dragas, Rector

RE: "Just received an email from Rector with long tiresome explanation."

Good match for the long tiresome accusations.

Hawes, David, Coureney, Lisa and all the support staff at the Hook -
Thank you for your excellent writing and coverage. Your reporting has been far and away the best and most revealing of the motto you all so proudly espouse " you can handle the truth. " The outpouring on the lawn illustrated in your excellent slideshow demonstrates - we can !

Sorry Courteney for the misspelling

Hats off to the Hook! You guys are GREAT!!!!