4 honor: Resinstate Sullivan rally brings thousands to Lawn

"It is more honorable to repair a wrong than to persist in it." ~Th Jefferson

A few thousand students, faculty, and friends rallied on the University of Virginia Lawn Sunday, June 24, in one of the strongest showings yet of the grassroots effort to reestablish governing transparency and reinstate the president, Teresa Sullivan, who was unceremoniously ousted two weeks earlier.

Read more on: Teresa Sullivan


Just after the Rally, a group of concerned citizens formed "The Friends of the Academical Village" to advance ongoing research and analysis of the the University of Virginia situation and the attack on higher education in Virginia and in the Republic.


Eternal vigilance...

This rally shows there are a few thousand more people than Sullivan who have commitment and fight in them to retain a job . These folks fighting for her to retain her job and little kids fighting for her job make her look bad in view of her own lack of strength under threat of dismissal . Did she resign ,prefering to do so as opposed to being let go in hopes it would look "better" on the resume ? If so was she intending to fool someone down the road and not be transparent to them as to the real reason for separation ? Why would someone so devoted to transparency try to pull off such an exercise in non transparency ?

The institutions of higher learning that are state funded need to understand that the tax base has diminished in most states due to unemployment.

There is no money tree boys and girls

@ Wisconsin Voter: Our sincere condolences on what you guys have been through. You're right, it's no picnic. But if President Sullivan is reinstated UVa will prevail and thrive. No one has said it will be easy and judicious financial decisions will be made......but we UVa loyalists will gather 'round and survive.
Many thanks for the photos Hawes.

Frank Speaker looks more and more like a Dragas shill. Why resign and not fight? Perhaps to spare the university the trauma. Perhaps because what person of dignity wants to work where she is not wanted. No one has suggested that Ms. Sullivan resigned as part of a plan to try to return. I would expect it is only with great reluctance that she will return if the chance is given to her. Indeed, returning to try to work under these circumstances will take great bravery and fortitude. Maybe she is willing to do so because it is important for the University that the precedent be set that removal of a President can only come after due process and sincere, open deliberation and only then for just cause. This principle if far more important than the personal desires of Ms. Sullivan. I expect she knows this.

@Frank Speaker - My friends and I have discussed this. The President serves at the pleasure of the Board. When the Rector and Vice Rector tell you they have unanimous board consent to fire you and offer that you should resign, there is really no other thing to do. Sure, she could have said "I don't believe you, have the vote" and in this case that might have actually led to her staying since it appears that the Rector may have lied to her about the Board unanimity (and I am sure the President did not suspect that the Rector was lying). In any case, we will find out Tuesday if the Rector has the votes.

Well why didn't she stick to principle ? Why not request due process before the Board ? Due process would involve some trauma . The institution would have to go through the trauma to deliver due process . She elected to forego due process . Why so hasty a retreat ? You can't have it both ways Old Wahoo. You have not answered why she quit so hastily , just speculation . Transparency on her part would be preferable to swarming the Lawn and rampant speculation .

Seas ---- She has more than ample access to legal advice . Why wouldn't one request a day or so to permit them to obtain this advice ? A strong leader would suspect they might be getting bluffed . The problem is there is no transparency . She won't disclose the definitive reasons the BOV were disenchanted with her . Coming back after resigning would make for good comedy .

I apologize to the other participants for this cut and paste of a response I posted in another topic. I just couldn't see crediting Frank Speaker (what's with these self-congratulatory aliases?) with a freshly written response, his questions seeming to lack thought and to be mainly posed in order to stir up animosity.

Trolls are never happy unless they're trying to get themselves cornered by people smarter than they are.

So here's my response to Rod, offered now as a reply to Frank Speaker.

@Rod -

Technically, Sullivan was not removed. She technically removed herself by resigning. It's what's called a "forced resignation."

It usually comes about by convincing the individual that it's in his/her interests and in the interests of some institution they value for them to resign rather than force a vote.

They'd probably say "either resign now, or we'll announce that we're calling a vote - a vote we've already engineered - first thing in the morning, and we'll fight payment of severance in court, which will be traumatic for everyone."

If Dragas and Kington convinced Sullivan that they had the 2/3 majority lined up, and that they would offer Sullivan a face-saving "explanation" ("philosophical differences") and offered her a severance payment (or simply guaranteed an existing agreement would stand) - then Sullivan could be expected to resign and then go directly to her attorney.

It's what I'd advise anyone to do in that circumstance.

Frank Speaker,

Sullivan resigned effective on a date in August, she is still President of the University of Virginia. If she remains, and I pray she does, it will be no more a blip that someone submitting their resignation in the corporate world-which to you is apparently the Alpha and Omega of existence-and having it rejected.

There is no evidence the BOV was disenchanted with her; there is every evidence that two board members and an egomaniacal donor were upset she wasn't willing to sell out the University's reputation. In business-speak, that is "monitizing" the "brand".

The rally for honor was outstanding and it appeared to me that there were at least 4K people there, maybe more. I don't believe there would have been any room left on the lawn if this had been tried by Helen Dragas in the middle of the academic year when most everyone affected by this was in town and on grounds.

Does anybody know if we can obtain the full text of all the speeches. They were all fantastic. I especially liked Dean (former Curry) Breneman's and Mitch Green's (Prof of Philosophy) as well as the Dean of Nursing. I had hoped The Hook would have obtained and published these - but I know how busy this newspaper and staff have been! Please tell me where I might read them all!


Re: The removal of President Sullivan:

1. From an old cartoon in the New Yorker: A call screening secretary to her boss, captioned:
“I don't know who he is, but he has three names”
2. According to a New York Review of Books long comment on Mitt Romney's white paper on education, the Dragas board members are in lock step with the ideas advanced by Mr. Romney. All of which must please the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, and maybe even Paul Tudor Jones.

Old Wahoo, actually Frank Speaker has been posting comments bordering on lunacy for some time now, both under that name and sometimes as "Dakota." He/She is a Canadian murder/true crime groupie who was drawn to the Hook because of its coverage of Morgan Harrington's disappearance and who likes to pop up from time to time to comment on local issue of which she has no knowledge. A high priced PR firm would never hire someone so illiterate and uninformed.

Why did President Sullivan resign? Rector Dragas & Vice-Rector Kington pressured her to do so by: Falsely asserting that the Board and Governor's Office was unanimously behind them; that if she didn't go willingly that she would receive no severance package; however if she did go willingly she would have a year's salary, a sabbatical, reinstatement as a tenured professor, etc.
Also, one has to give Rector Dragas credit for her resolute and authoritative charismatic power in creating this mess. Perhaps I shouldn't call it charisma but she has demonstrated an ability to be calculating, ruthless and persuasive. I wouldn't be surprised if Governor McDonnell renews Dragas' term on the Board of Visitors. If he doesn't I would expect that she would disclose the unsavory details regarding the extent of the Governor's involvement in the conspiracy.

Kyle-- here is a link to transcriptions of many of the speeches at yesterday's rally--

@globe - Gov McDonnell's compromise position on the Dragas reappointment would be to reappoint her to the BoV but to name someone else as Rector. I would think politically he has to do at least that (remove her as Rector, that is).

Why do you guys insist that the Rector/Vice-rector lied by representing to Sullivan that 16 members supported her resignation? This was reiterated by Carol Wood, University VP Public Affairs, on the steps of Madison Hall at Sunday, June 10th press conference. She caused confusion by calling them "votes," which led to even more misinterpretation. So much since then is attributable to these 2 key misunderstandings, from the get-go.

Governor Romney is scheduled to be in Virginia on Tuesday, I'm sure Governor McDonnell will be accompanying him and doing his best to look like an executive leader. This may present McDonnell an opportunity to appear resolute and authoritative as dismisses the entire board,

Is anyone else offended by the scolding letter the governor has sent to the UVa community decrying the 'frenzy' of the last 12 days? He seems rather piqued which only points to his tacit approval of Sullivan's dismissal. I hold no UVa degrees, my diplomas are of a modest size, and typically am not a great UVa fan, but I have actually felt UVa pride these last 14 days. Please make an effort to go to the lawn tomorrow afternoon in support of the UVa community.

I note with bemusement that University of Phoenix gets a prominent Google ad.

Of course, Goggle is programmed to scan content and place "relevant" or "related" advertising on websites enabled for Google Ads, but the irony is inescapable just the same.

Think Globe makes some very astute observations. Also perhaps the Dragas qualities as stated, calculating, ruthless, persuasive is exactly what the Governor wants for the leader of the BOV, making her his ideal candidate.

UVa's crisis is the topic the Kojo Nnamdi' show on WAMU, Washington, D.C. - a flagship of the PBS stations.

88.5 FM, or streaming live at wamu.org

Has anyone at The Hook been able to find out what process would be required to reinstate President Sullivan? Some people commenting on the Governor's statements have been surprised by the inclusion of the point that it takes a 2/3 vote of the BoV to remove the President.

My understanding is that the (currently believed to be) legal steps have been:
1) Sullivan resigned
2) This resignation was accepted
3) The BoV voted to name Dean Zeithaml as (interim) President

Does this mean that it will actually take a 2/3 vote to first remove Zeithaml before Sullivan could be reinstated? It is interesting that in his letter to the BoV, Zeithaml did not resign his position, but just "suspended further negotiations."


UVa's crisis is the topic the Kojo Nnamdi' show on WAMU, Washington, D.C. - a flagship of the PBS stations.

88.5 FM, or streaming live at wamu.org

Show starts after the noon NPR news, at about 12:06 pm, so tune in now.

Calls more likely to get on the air if you call early and have your comments/questions ready for the screeners.

@BOV Process - That line of inquiry is very important. I hope the forces on the BoV that are working toward a solution are considering the procedural stuff very carefully. Given that they have Heywood Fralin on their side, I would suspect they are.

I've served on boards but not sure of the procedures required here. It may be that a simple majority can move and pass a resolution overturning the executive committee's acceptance of Sullivan's resignation. That alone would leave things in a slightly ambiguous state but one that potentially could be resolved if Zeithaml makes it clear that he is resigning or doing whatever he needs to in order to give up the position (if he even has a position).

@Wisconsin Voter,
Funny how you come from a state that voted for a college drop-out for governor who has blamed school employees and unions for that state's woes.

We don't buy that bovine scatology and propaganda at UVA, nor do we think the way to run an elite school is to turn it into Phoenix Online University.

You'd best get back to serving Walker and your corporate masters in Wisconsin.

Good question BoV Process. And it is particularly appropriate since this debacle stems from an apparent lack of attention to proper and fair process, in the first place.

E. Mendenhall -- you have identified another good question -- where did the sloppy language come from in the first place? Did Ms. Dragas feed the info to Carol Wood?

My opinions on the details of the mess have evolved to this -- although it is fairly common to offer employees, even high ranking ones, the opportunity to resign instead of being fired, why didn't Ms. Dragas bring up the matter in an executive session of the BoV rather than counting noses surreptitiously? In the absence of information to the contrary, I am led to the conclusion that she was not convinced her view would prevail in a full discussion. Sure, there would have been a chance of leaks, even from an executive session, but the BoV has been pretty tightlipped for two weeks, so that doesn't seem to have been legitimate concern, if it ever was one.

Didn't President Sullivan oppose paying a living wage to underpaid University staff? If so, I'd just as soon take my chances with someone else.

Weevil makes a good point -- U.Va. had quite a few problems before being gifted with the recent scandal. The groundwork for the Board's approach had already been laid by U.Va. in the way that it managed itself - it was hardly transparent or democratic and this disenfranchised many U.Va. workers, minority students and other non-traditional segments of the community. At some point the U.Va. paradigm caved in upon itself because the institution did not abide by its own creed. The current response by the U.Va. community is a somewhat idealist response, wishful thinking about the way U.Va. is supposed to be rather than what it was.

@Wisconsin Voter There's plenty of money around. It's just that thanks to a protracted gutting of the taxes on the wealthy it remains in their pockets for use in discretionary spending projects (like the non-Wisconsin-registered-to-vote Koch Brothers carpetbagging in your state recall vote process). And similarly here we see the wealthy who want to make quid pro quo donations to UVA. We need to tax those who have benefitted from our educational systems and infrastructure so that the money comes back without self-serving earmarks and gets spent toward the academic best interest of our society.

It's my understanding that those seeking and supporting a living wage are in the forefront of the effort to reinstate President Sullivan.

As opposed to this: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/virginia-politics/post/mcdonnell-att...

Standing near the front for the entire Rally, I was quite proud of the principled words and thoughts of Faculty and the sincerity and deep emotion by which they were communicated.

I also felt the words and warning presented by the Vice Mayor were fully justified and needed to be said. I have lived in the course of my life so far some 20 years in Charlottesville and in Albemarle County. From my own experience living in the area, I felt her words rang very true.

Mr. Jefferson's Academical Village, our Academical Village, is set firmly in the local context of Charlottesville and Albemarle County. We all need to remember that the destiny of all three are intertwined.

The spirit and the enthusiasm of those on the Lawn was wonderfui to experience and I hope people who could not attend take advantage the stream provided by the Faculty Senate to see the event.

Anonymoose in some threads has rightly urged caution and prudence. Hopefully, we will see our President Sullivan reinstated. But we cannot expect the intrigues against her and against the University to disapper. There are some fundamental issues here regarding state and federal higher education policy which are not going to go away. There are deep designs behind the scenes here.

We have no indication of whom the governor will appoint to the BOV in weeks to come. We have yet to carefully scrutinize what is at play legislatively in our state General Assembly and any impllications of that process for the University.

Thus, should President Sullivan be reinstated and should she continue, we need a Plan A. If this is not the case after this Tuesday we will need a Plan B. The warm civility may have to be tempered by some hard politics.

One would think that it is self-evident to all by now that Plan A should include democratic governance of our University. This would mean voting seats on the BOV for Faculty and for Staff. This may not be so simple to obtain but the current crisis certainly opens the door to the fight for this objective.

No Living Wage for Staff at Mr. Jefferson's University? Well, let's think about what that says...to the world.

"No Living Wage for Staff at Mr. Jefferson's University? Well, let's think about what that says...to the world."

Mr Jefferson had no problems paying many of his employees nothing, because they were slaves.

Seriously, leave the Living Wage out of this fight. We need a unified front. No point in bringind this up

Mr. Kiracofe continues to express my sentiments exactly. The rally was impressive. Much more so than the contentious ones 42 years ago. And he is right. There is something going on behind the scenes. We really don't know what this is all about. And as alumni and constituents of the University community we have a right to know. But will we ever have that right honored? About that I am less than sure. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty!

The University of Virginia owned slaves as well. What a poor way to start a University dedicated to Freedom and Democracy Mr. Jefferson! At the present time we are focused upon the corporate takeover of our university so we are, in the interest of unity, setting aside our age-old unredressed grievances at U.Va.

However it would help if the speakers at the rallies were more racially diverse! It was good that VP for Diversity & Equity (Dr. Marcus Martin) was allowed to speak on Sunday. Dr. Martin wasn't on the speaker's list however and his remarks didn't say a thing about how Diversity and Equity factor in to the present scandal. I hope that U.Va. doesn't think for a minute that everything was perfect before Pres. Sullivan's ouster. In fact, I think that the institutional practices at U.Va. laid the groundwork for the present scandal.

Romney white paper on education + Koch Brothers + McDonnell visit = New BOV then Demise of public education in Virginia

1. Wisconsin dude: Tax the heck out of the corporations and the extremely wealthy, Let's start with going back to corporate and wealth taxes of the Eisenhower administration. Our tax rates have never been so regressive. We would not be having this problem at UVA or any other public university if state politicians had not gone all corporate because our political system has been put up for sale by conservative decisions like the Citizens United case allowing the rich to buy politicians both dem and rep.

2. For all we know President Sullivan was just doing the bidding of the BOV on the Living Wage campaign and was picking her battles on that. But I hope when it comes up again, the lawn will be as full as it has been.

3. With regards to the Slavery and race issue, there is validity here. UVA has a long way to go here. But I do know that the UCARE group had recently met with President Sullivan about their action plans and change to improve UVA's history. I know that she listened and was engaged in these initial conversations and she was planning on following up on these discussion of reconciliation and repair this summer. The current issues surrounding transparency and honor should be a good foundation for further work here and I am confident that President Sullivan will attend to it in a way that no other UVA President ever has.

"The rally was impressive. Much more so than the contentious ones 42 years ago"

See also the UVa uprising of '58.

Let's get everyone out for Tuesday. Would love to see 4000 on the Lawn. A lot of local folks didn't come out. Its like it does not affect them or its not their fight.

This has financial ramifications for the local economy as Szakos said yesterday. It is about all public higher education. Please citizens of Charlottesville please support public education by coming out on Tuesday at 2:30 on the lawn. There are thousands of you who are not speaking out who could just come out and stand.

Is there a Dominion Power connection here? I believe Dragas and Kington are both on the board, as is CEO Thomas Farrell, a former Rector. Farrell apparently was in the same high school class as McDonnell.

And, Farrell reportedly applied for the job of UVa President when President Casteen retired.

was Teresa Sullivan at the rally? Does she want to be re-instated?

@Bleed: "when President Casteen retired"

Or was pushed ahead of his own timeline.

@ Citizen Party June 25th, 2012 | 5:05pm
".... There are thousands of you who are not speaking out who could just come out and stand."

Most of the staff at UVA have no choice of leaving their jobs during the work day to show their support for President Sullivan. There are bills to pay and leaving early is not an option. Minds and hearts are there.....does that count?

Totally counts. I was thinking about about citizens of Cville who might have the freedom to come out. I feel for the Staff who cannot speak out often for fear of losing their job, We saw this in the living wage campaign. I was really glad the Facutly Senate created an action team for outreach to Staff.

Where are the VA delegates, like Del Albo? Delegate Herring? It takes a village -- and the Delegates who spoke out on various UVA issues over the past year need to rise above the ashes and speak again!

Tom Farrell is the gov's brother-in-law, correct? Definitely a puppet-master, that old devil Tom.
Tom has has a reputation for having friends on both sides of the aisle.
Tom has a reputation for a few other things, also.
It is hard to imagine that anyone would seriously think Tom has the gravitas to be a U president.....hmmmm, not gravitas, I think, scruples , maybe the word.
He's always done good things, right?
Tom's had a good life, has a good family , we are sure, and enjoys his big corporate salary.
Tobacco been very very good to Tom.
He believes global warming is real!!!! really!

@Citizen Party June 25th, 2012 | 7:28pm
Thank you Citizen!

I'm sure a large number of the current and retired UVA staff will be thinking of the President this afternoon. We trust her. She made us (the staff that I know personally) feel that we are part of the SOLUTION; that we have a major role in the success of our University and she was counting on us.

Hopefully, in due time, staff members will open up and disclose their feelings about the work environment with their own supervisors. Trust is the core of the soul and it remains to be seen if the Faculty Senate action team can bridge the gap. Discussing other work issues will not be accomplished if trust is missing. I'm praying that the BOV will now trust the words and feelings of their own students, staff, faculty, administrators, alumni, and citizens of the Commonwealth. We do our job; now it's time for you to do YOURS! Do the right thing, reinstate President Teresa Sullivan TODAY!

"Why do you guys insist that the Rector/Vice-rector lied by representing to Sullivan that 16 members supported her resignation?"

Arithmetic. First of all, Dragas and Kington told Sullivan that they had 15 votes. 16 would have been unanimous. But three BOV members have since said that they knew nothing about Dragas' plans to seek Sullivan's resignation. If three weren't even asked, then Dragas' couldn't have counted more than 13 votes in favor. It is, of course, possible that what Dragas and Kington told Sullivan was mis-reported -- if they simply said that they had enough votes to oust her (ie, 12), then that may have been true; but if they said 15 or 16, then they almost certainly were lying.

In a letter to the editor in today's Virginian Pilot, one Waverley I. Berkley III, stoutly defended Rector Dragas. Berkley claimed that the BOV, in executive session, dismissed Ms. Sullivan. Berkley might be confused here. If the press reports of Dargas calling each BOV member one by one were accurate, the dismissal was not done when the Board was in any kind of session,

As others just pointed out Rector Dragas may have arithmetic trouble, If so, the content of her calls to other members might also have included numbers that don't add up.

Another confused person might be the Virginian Pilot headline writer. The Headline over Berkley's letter was”SUPPORT FOR DRAGAS WIDESPREAD” There is no indication in the letter that anyone else supports Berkley's position, although one might guess that Waverley I. Berkley II might agree with his son.