McDonnell to BOV: Make a final decision or else
Gov. Bob McDonnell issued a statement today demanding a decision from the UVA Board of Visitors on who will be President of the University by Tuesday, or else he will demand their resignations on Wednesday. He also sent a letter to members of the BOV, which is available below.
"Let me be absolutely clear: I want final action by the board on Tuesday. If you fail to do so, I will ask for the resignation of the entire board on Wednesday," the statement says. "Regardless of your decision I expect you to make a clear, detailed and unified statement on the future leadership of the university."
McDonnell, who has maintained a hands-off approach to the events unfolding at UVA, will apparently evoke a state law that allows him to fire school board members for incompetence, or gross neglect of duty. McDonnell also urged the BOV not to make a decision based on outside pressures, either from the media or the University community, and to decide for themselves what is best.
As previously reported, the BOV has scheduled a meeting for Tuesday, June 26 to decide who will run the University.
While McDonnell said he wanted to be absolutely clear on his desire for a resolution, his statement provoked instant efforts to read meaning into the various points he made.
Rector Helen Dragas chose to use the Governor's message as a launchpad for yet another of her own: "I appreciate the Governor's leadership in affirming the importance of Board governance, and that we alone are appointed to make these decisions on behalf of the University, free of influence from outside political, personal or media pressure."
If only the governor himself could leap free of political pressure. He has taken $100,000 from Paul Tudor Jones, a deep-pocketed man who helped fund the local basketball stadium and who has the ear of Helen Dragas, according to sources. And, according to sources, after making a $12 million yoga center pledge and while not dissuading the possibility of a potential nine-figure donation, Jones allegedly played a role in the ouster of Sullivan.
Waldo Jaquith, a Charlottesville-based information expert with experience both in the White House and with Virginia's General Assembly reveals via Twitter Friday night, June 22, that a reliable source in the governor's office informs him that McDonnell intends to reappoint embattled Rector Dragas when her term expires at the end of the month.
"Cue spit takes," says an incredulous Jaquith, as he and his Twitter followers then begin a discussion of the wisdom behind such a gubernatorial strategy. Tuesday night emails to two of the governor's press aides were returned with this from one of them:
"The governor will make his decisions about board appointments in late June or early July."
Jaquith tweets his take on a scenario with Sullivan reinstated and Dragas reappointed, even after he theorizes that the governor is merely floating the idea to gain conservative bonafides in a run the national presidential veepstakes: "For Sullivan, the only thing better than Dragas gone is Dragas staying. Vanquished, but unable to even slink away."
--updated 7:25am June 23Attached Documents:This story is a part of the The ousting of a president special.