Kaine's take: BOV secrecy a 'huge mistake'

Former governor Tim Kaine, the man who appointed half of the Board of Visitors, including embattled Rector Helen Dragas, weighed in on the forced resignation of UVA President Teresa Sullivan at a meeting with Charlottesville women June 19.

"The board made a very, very serious mistake in making this decision without meeting," he said. "It's been very painful watching this."

Kaine, now running for the U.S. Senate, recalled that in his last month as governor, he heard the news that Teresa Sulllivan had been chosen president of the University of Virginia.

"I was very proud of the board I put in place," he said. And in the two years since, "I have not heard one negative word about Teresa Sullivan," he notes.

"Like you," he told the women assembled at the roundtable meeting held at C'ville Coffee, "I was stunned."

Kaine said he was taking the Board of Visitors at its word about the reasons for pushing Sullivan out.

"Philosophical differences are legitimate," said Kaine, though he voiced disagreement with the method.

"It's not an issue to be dealt with in secret," says Kaine. "That should be discussed in public." Not doing so, he added, "was a fundamental error."

One of the participants at the forum asked Kaine what he would do with this Board, and he answered with a slight dodge, going back two years ago to recall that many of the folks who fired were the folks who hired: "There was an enormous pride in many of the same people that Teresa Sullivan was president."

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

46 comments

UVa is now a institution of business selling academia as a product. It's no longer an academic institution that just happens to have a business school.

Dear The Hook: I already told you once today that I love you. And I do. But why why why would you use the colloquial "folks" in this article: "many of the folks who fired were the folks who hired." Who are you, the Waltons? George Bush? Boy, am I a grouch today. It's embarrassing. Sorry, Lisa. I'm kind of a jerk this way.

Last night, the board said it would make an announcement in 15 minutes. The announcement did not come for several hours. Something happened.

I don't know what went on in the secret session, but something caused 15 minutes to become hours.

Please try to find out.

One question for Kaine: does he think it's time to reconsider how members of the Board of Visitors are chosen?

Why not have one-quarter to one-half of the Board elected by UVA alumni? And maybe even add a faculty member or two?

A Board entirely chosen by politicians can become a "monoculture," one insensitive to the needs of the University.

So Vice Rector Kington has had the good sense and conscience to resign. Or he was asked to resign. Interesting that he too has deep connections with Paul Tudor Jones, identified in other stories as one of the "important alumni" driving this bus. (Without having been appointed to the BOV or to anything). Jones apparently must be good friends with Kington, in addition to whatever connections he had to the dude who resigned from the Darden Board. At least Jones matched a huge gift Kington gave to UVA. See:
http://artsandsciences.virginia.edu/campaign/kington/
Is everything involved in this about money, or is quality of education, and depth and scope of a good education, relevant? Why doesn't Governor Bob give UVA more state money if we don't want our most prestigious University to be for sale? "I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations..."--Thomas Jefferson

So why did Kington resign? If he truly believed in the rightness of his position, he'd now stay and do his best to make it work. If he believes he made a mistake in going along with the Rector's plot, then why doesn't he stay and join Fralin and perhaps others and fix this disaster even at the 13th hour? That is how he could restore his own integrity. But quitting at this point smacks of cutting and running, and I don't think he deserves either the respect or thanks of the alumni, the faculty, the students, or anyone else affected by this unholy mess.

Exactly cut and run, What a coward

Why does Vice Rector sound like porno in this case?

Last night I had the honor to meet this wonderful young man, Corey French, a UVa student.

How could Governor McDonnell possibly praise Rector Dragas after her performance last night, when, the only thing she would say to the students, faculty, alums and community members who had been there waiting for the board's decision for 12 hours is
" don't believe everything you read in the newspapers " How unbelievably immature, unprofessional and arrogant. And Corey
French spoke for all of us when he expressed his profound disappointment in her behavior. If you want to meet a fantastic representative of the type of student that we all admire at UVa please watch this:

http://www.nbc29.com/story/18818965/uva-board-of-visitors-appoints-inter...

Who is Paul Tudor Jones anyway? So what that he gave bazillions to UVa's JPG Arena. Thank you if you had no ulterior motive in doing that. Money obviously buys limited authority but it doesn't buy character or respect.

I'd like to introduce you to Paul and Sonia Tudor Jones

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxmJ6p-ATG8

Deleted by moderator.

Please Mr. Kaine is this even legal ?
"Forcing the University to the next level "- sounds like a dictatorship to me.

" Helen has such a love of the University of Virginia and has spent endless hours educating herself about the workings of the university so that she could be part of taking and forcing the university to the next level."

http://www2.dailyprogress.com/news/2012/jun/19/rector-had-reasons-dismis...

Fired . I thought she resigned ?

" Knowing how thorough, detailed and patient Helen is, I know there is simply no way that she would have fired Terry Sullivan if she were an effective leader and visionary. Although President Sullivan is a delightful person to speak with, she clearly did not and does not have the ability to take such a fine, yet complicated, structure to higher ground."

http://www2.dailyprogress.com/news/2012/jun/19/rector-had-reasons-dismis...

I object to the objection about "folks." It's been around in that usage since 999.

Þa elkede man fram dæge to dæge, & swencte þæt earme folc þe on ðam scipon lagon.

What really offends me is "stakeholders."

Stakeholders offend me, too, Will. Overused to create an appearance of buy-in.

/I think UVA has a ton of 'stakeholders' today, beginning with Zeithaml who was rightly, rightly called out by Wulf.

Cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria, but doggone it if Amy Lemley ain't gonna get to the bottom of this: it's the consarn colloquialisms. If for no other reason, this is why we must preserve a classic U-Va. education. See what you've done? Now we're talking about Beowolf.

Ishtanga yoga? What does Ishtanga Yoga have to do with the resignation of President Sullivan and the resignation of the Vice BOV President along with the resingation of Professor Wulf? Come on UVa Parent, you can do better than that.

Ted Genoways, Hugely, now this -- big big drop coming in US News. Not much good news out of Hooville the last three years.

And by the way, Amy is correct.

It's Ashtanga Yoga, and here's what it has to do with the Sullivan firing

http://cvillenews.com/2012/06/16/paul-jones-sullivan/

I must say, as an alumnus of the University, that the behavior of the Board of Visitors, and in particular the leadership of the Board in this matter of replacing the president of the university has been disappointing, if not reprehensible.
The student who said that the Rector should take the time to speak with the students gathered certainly made a valid point. So far we have nothing but secrecy from the Rector and Board. This begs the question “What are they afraid of?” Just what is it about what they have done that needs to remain so secret? Why not speak openly and candidly with interested members of the community who certainly have a right to know what is behind this seemingly outrageous dismissal.
Rector Dragas simply tells us not to believe everything we read in the papers, and leaves. We learn from the papers that she is a highly successful real estate developer from Virginia Beach, although how this qualifies her to serve as rector and pass judgment on the performance of a distinguished, effective, highly respected and well liked leader of the academic community has not been made clear to me. But, perhaps that’s a secret.
The current composition of the Board of Visitors, from what we read in the papers, seems to include mostly, if not exclusively, members of what might be termed the business community. Ms. Dragas urges us not to believe everything we read in the papers, but sheds no further light on the matter. Could it be that the business interests on the Board are more concerned with business than with academics, or understand business better than they understand academics, or perhaps were selected not because of their academic qualifications but more for political reasons revolving around money and commerce? Hard to say because of all the secrecy, one can only imagine, I suppose. But it seems the goal of business is making money, where the goal of academic enterprise is expanding knowledge.
I wonder if it is healthy for a university to be governed by businessmen or businesswomen, or businesspersons. It is probably a good idea to have some capable accountants on board in certain administrative positions, and to have some skilled investors overseeing the endowment portfolio, rather than a poet or a research biologist, for example. But do we really want to entrust the governance of the university entirely to real estate developers and Wall Street stock brokers or bankers? Lately some have been saying it is time to include some faculty members on the board. I certainly concur with this idea. It seems to me that the board should be much more balanced than it now appears to be. It seems the current board has a tin ear when it comes to understanding the kinds of concerns the faculty have lately been voicing. For my part, I’d like to see a Board of Visitors composed largely of distinguished educators along with a mix of other distinguished professionals who can contribute to harmonious relationships across the campus. As far as philosophy is concerned, only fascist states require that everyone believe the same thing. The University of Virginia has a long established tradition that ought to be respected, refreshed, and advanced by the Board, but not discarded.
It seems probable that had the members of the board been chosen more wisely by the current and previous governors we would not have this extremely painful and embarrassing situation unfolding before us, in which senior members of the faculty are resigning, effective immediately, because they do not want to be associated with an institution governed in the way that our University is now governed.
There is a call for a legislative investigation of this affair. I think this is a very good idea, and I hope that, armed with subpoena power, such an investigation can provide us with the answers that Ms. Dragas and her colleagues on the board are so reluctant give.
Dr. James B. Kiracofe

What're they afraid of? This: @cavalierdaily twitter feed.

@Hob Bryan at 508 p.m.: Curious about why the 15 minute warning the Visitors were going to emerge stretched into almost five more hours?

Check out the reporting in WaPo by UVa alum and former CD reporter Anita Kumar:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/u-va-board-appoints-inte...

Evidently, at some point in the night, the board was 8-8 on the matter. We know the final outcome to appoint an interim president was 12 in favor, 1 opposed (Fralin), 2 abstentions (Hardie and Caputo) and 1 AWOL.

Ironically, the AWOL Visitor ... Glynn Key. Currently a high-ranking lawyer with GE and a former Honor Committee chairwoman.

Not a very honorable thing to do, eh, Miss Key? Ducking out of a meeting at 230 a.m., never to return.

Pathetic.

When the powers to be quietly build a public school with a 5.5 BILLION dollar endowment that keeps its halls filled with quite a few (not all) over paid and under worked faculty. While it loudly call for higher fees and tuition hikes, this is what you get. Remember all of that M Mann "we don't have to show you" crap. Everybody let them keep their secrets then so of course they have a foundation to keep them now. That place is a business not a school anymore. Bermuda, Kosovo,Monaco, these are just a few countries that have less GDP then this one school has endowment. It's a big money hungry machine plain and simple. How about getting back to some old school teaching. Nothing more then a public University of Phoenix and the 180k professors $$$ staff are the share holders.

Maybe the old U Hall will become the yoga mecca of the world now. ohmmmmmmmmm

What a mess

I gotta say I find Kaine's response a little weak. He appointed Dragas and I would hope he would play a bit more of an assertive role in remedying the situation. He seems to agree with the idea that Dragas' cabal had a legitimate difference of philospohy with Sullivan. I think we now know from Sullivan's sddress to the BOV that she was on the right track and this was more of an ideologiacl difference that is completely inappropriate.

He is running for election and my support for him will depend on his reposne. If he doesn't call for her reinstatement, the dismaissal of the BOV and the immediate rectification of the way in which these BOV members are installed, I probably will not support him though I am a liberal.

I am tired of neoliberal democrats and republicans who depend on big corprate money and don't really do much for the middle class.I don't see much of a deifferenc ebetween the democrats and republicans in VA when it comes to class issues.

The entire BOV should resign immediately.

I love Amy Lemley.
Dragas is a complete intellectual light weight. She has emboldened herself by reading some articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education and a commencement speech. This is the most embarassing part of the coup. Read the post in today's Washington Post of the e-mails exchanged between Dragas and Kington. These were released after a FOIA request from the Cav Daily

Big mistake? Timmy, you think secrecy was a big mistake? How about (admittedly unknowingly) appointing a lunatic to the BOV ....someone who thought she and she alone knew what was best for the University....someone who thought she was an expert in online learning by reading crap any of us could get by googling the subject? Now that was a Big Mistake. Why didn't the BOV question her expertise before they allowed her to micromanage? They ALL should go except those she left in the dark about Plan A. What was Plan B going to be? Hemlock?

Given the latest developments the Faculty Senate must refuse to meet with the BOV appointee for President . The Senate must insist that Dragus resign and that all the others that supported her as well. Then the new members including Fralin should revote to reinstate Sullivan.

There are NO grounds to fire Sullivan . There are multiple grounds to fire all the BOV members but Fralin.

We are depending on the Faculty Senate to hold the line and represent the honor of this University.

The Faculty Senate if they meet with Zeithaml should ask him to resign.

Actually, if anyone wants a glimpse at the way Helen does business, a visit to the Dragas homes web site (dragas.com) can prove to be very instructive. Here we have what appears to be some very attractive homes and communities, described in a breathless narrative. The message: you can get something that looks expensive - only it's cheap!

But what we really have are some high density housing areas with a selection of 4 or 5 floor plans in each "community." Each house is built on a concrete pad. The neighborhood may be dressed up with a pond or fountain. The homes has a special feature - they are built to last!

Each house comes compete with a warranty; check it out. You'll find that your home uses the modern day innovation of circuit breakers instead of fuses. Isn't that amazing?! You'll also be advised not to install an aluminum storm door, because it can expand with heat, and warp the door frame. If this happens, it's YOUR problem, not theirs. Sort of makes you wonder how well built these places are built, doesn't it? And if you plan to buy more electrical appliances, make sure your breaker box has the electrical capacity to support it. Are they trying tell us the box is already at capacity?

Now here's a really interesting item about how to use your air conditioning:

Step One: Shut off all the vents on the second floor.
Step Two: Wait 24 hours.
Step Three: "Slightly open" a vent in any first floor room that seems too warm.
Step Four: Set the thermostat at the desired temperature.
Step Five: Set the fan in the “auto” position.
Step Six: Set the other indicator on “cool.”

What this is basically saying is to defeat the a/c completely in the hottest rooms - the ones upstairs. Then wait a day while fussing with the vents downstairs. And all that before you even turn the system on. There's something wrong here.

Then of course there are the grammatical errors which somehow have escaped the attention of the ever vigilant Helen. ". . .wait at least five minutes before turning in back on so system pressure have time to equalize." Turning in back on? System have time?

Oh, and by the way, houses have a way of cracking when they settle. Warranty tells you to patch the cracks, dummy.

I don't know how involved Helen is in the operations of the Dragas company, but the company history tell us this: "Even as a teenager, she knew that understanding the Dragas customer would always be key to the company's success." Sounds right to me; you need to find people who are easily impressed by appearances and quite gullible. That's right up Helen's alley.

This is a background that seems to support and perhaps explain Helen's indifference to both the manner of governance at UVA and to its substance. As we can see, it isn't working at UVA the way it does at Dragas.

@John

Ha! That's probably the best comment in Hook history.

Professor Larry Sabato tweeted Monday that the current Board of Visitors “has done more damage to the University I love than the 1895 Rotunda fire.” Buildings can be rebuilt, traditions can be restored, funding recouped and rankings reestablished. What cannot be replaced are the people. The students, faculty and administrators who are the living embodiment of Thomas Jefferson’s vision — we cannot be replaced. Without the human aspect of the Jeffersonian dream, the University is merely a collection of buildings; beautifully designed, but mere blueprints without architects.

As an alum with a BA, MA, and Ph.D. from the University, I find the current crisis of great concern. The justified action of the Faculty Senate indicates a severe crisis is under way. Will this crisis cause grave damage to the University as an institution of higher learning?

Just what is the hidden agenda here of the Board and key players?

Privatization in part or in whole of the University? Wall Street influence, such as Goldman Sachs operatives and big time hedge fund operators, moving in on the University suggests something more than "philosophical differences" are afoot. Kaine may well be missing something. He, and everyone else, should take a closer look and reflect.

What are the politics here?

Some had posited real estate princess Dragas as a potential candidate for governor. So what is her real angle in all of this? Hiring a high power PR firm (not on her dime apparently) to do what?

What model for a university do the Wall Street speculators and real estate operators wish to impose on our University, on Jefferson's university?

Fundamentally, this is a cultural issue. The "cabal" has political and financial tools at its disposal. What is their hidden agenda for so-called "change" or "revolution." What is the new university culture they wish to introduce over the rubble they are producing? Does the cabal plan to use a glitzy new pres as cover for their revolution and (so far) hidden agenda?

What is so apparent to me is that no one on either side of the controversy has any concern for the UVA students that are being affected. Sorry no kudos to Professor Wulf, all you are doing is damaging the students you say you enjoy teaching. Not one soul, from Dragas and Kington to Kaine to Sullivan herself, has displayed any regard for these young people who have worked hard much of their lives to attend this school. UVA is about the students, right? Guess I was wrong thinking that. It's really all about adults and control. Shame on all of you!

The alumni have the power to end this now .
Contact UVa and tell them you are withholding all donations until

1. Dragas is gone
2. Sullivan is back

You owe it to the students and faculty

ACT NOW

Concerned UVA Parent please view this video and tell me who caused this mess ?http://www.nbc29.com/story/18818965/uva-board-of-visitors-appoints-inter...

This is not a partisan issue. Everyone should be calling for the resignation of Dragas and the reinstatement of Sullivan.

"'Philosophical differences are legitimate,' said Kaine, though he voiced disagreement with the method."

Kaine needs to take a stronger stand. While philosophical differences are legitimate, this "method" is an affront to all Virginians and constitutes rank incompetence, which is a legitimate ground for the resignation of the board members involved.

I don't know anything about running a university, but I'd think that decisions should not be based on strategic dynamism but more the Iroquois concept of Seven Generation Sustainability:
"In all of your deliberations in the Confederate Council, in your efforts at law making, in all your official acts, self interest shall be cast into oblivion. Cast not over your shoulder behind you the warnings of the nephews and nieces should they chide you for any error or wrong you may do, but return to the way of the Great Law which is just and right. Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground – the unborn of the future Nation."

Our University has perhaps the most unique founder in American education, and it is no secret that he died considerably in debt. It is also true, however, that Jefferson's investment in real estate proved quite astute, as time wore on. And his intellectual property, found in a library, was useful to the entire young republic: US of A. Alas, his vineyard enterprises did not thrive--until later, in 2000. Foresight!

Those facts alone inspire some of us--at least the less-affluent--to believe that the University of Virginia will survive and grow, against all odds and despite the latest fads. Some of our graduates who might benefit from refreshers courses, too--preferably on our Grounds, rather than at a wireless distance. The place itself gets ahold of you, and it helps one's humility to reflect on who served on Jefferson's board--Madison and Monroe spring to mind. And the presidents: each brought something unique and priceless. Sullivan will be added, whether short- or long-term in tenure; she deserves the honor. And let us never forget: like Carthage, Dragas must be removed--for disrespect of our university, if nothing else.

I'd love to think that this whole sordid affair was truly about philosophical differences between President Sullivan and Helen Dragas. However, I'm convinced it wasn't-it was just too quick and too personal. I'd be willing to bet that the catalyst was some mega-wealthy UVA benefactor either having his/her feelings hurt in some unintended way by President Sullivan or the same benefactor being thwarted from further financial gain through a lag in developing online educational programming. Philosophical differences? Balderdash! With her term about to expire, Helen Dragas was willing to toss the grenade that was sure to produce some shrapnel blowback. Watch and see if there's not another lucrative board of directors' seat waiting for her after McDonnell does a "pocket veto."

In response to Logan Anderson's personal attack on Glynn Key, please see her statement in the Cavalier Daily

Board member Glynn Key responds to editorial
By on June 21, 2012
Dear Cavalier Daily Editor:

In your June 20th Editorial, “Midnight judges,” you have taken an unfair liberty with an unexplained fact.

In the editorial, you use the fact that I departed the Special BOV Meeting, to make the following condemnation:
“Several Board members had little knowledge of Sullivan’s removal and several would have wanted for her to return. But in the most important meeting of their lives they voted 12-1 for an interim, with two useless abstentions and the flight of member Glynn Key from the scene. For a group of leaders, most were followers, kept in the dark and deceived.”

It would be personally convenient and gratifying if I described what happened in Executive Session, in order to explain to you why I departed at 1:30 am. But you know that it would be improper and dishonorable for me to breach the confidentiality requirements for Executive Session.

I know there are those that have been willing to do that with the press, but I am not one of them.

Glynn Key
Board of Visitors
June 21, 2012

It looks like "if the shoe fits..." for Ms Key. I hear she was honor committee chair; that says a lot, but in no way seems to alter corporate behavior as a BOV member. Short of life-threatening situation, she should have fulfilled her mandate. If she has something to say, she can find an honorable way to do so.

I applaud the Cav Daily for any responsible initiative they are taking; it demonstrates that the younger generation is not yet sold out to the almighty corporate dollar. Go 'Hoos--beat Yahoos!

Who cares what a former governor thinks?