Dragas hugged: Controversial UVA rector embraced by Governor McDonnell

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has doubled down his predecessor's bet on Helen Dragas, reappointing to the University of Virginia Board for a second four-year term a person who controversially fired a sitting president before the president, Teresa Sullivan, was reinstated after news broke about potential improprieties in the process.

"How's that for a poke in the eye?" says 1987 UVA Law graduate Jim Severt. "Maybe both eyes?"

"This is not a time for recrimination," the governor said in a statement. "It's a time for reconciliation."

Professor Siva Vaidhyanathan, an outspoken critic of Dragas during the campus-rocking controversy, expressed little shock after what he saw as compromise following a major blunder by Rector Dragas.

"This doesn't surprise me," says Vaidhyanathan. "The whole process of getting President Sullivan reappointed must have involved some pretty serious deal-making among the top parties."

Sullivan and Dragas walked side-by-side into the UVA Rotunda on Tuesday, June 29, for a meeting that included repeated apologies by Dragas, who had inflamed critics the previous Thursday by issuing a 10-point list of woes UVA faces and which Sullivan, by implication, had somehow failed to address. By the end of the Tuesday meeting, Sullivan was the president again. Conspicuously, she had dropped any demand voiced by her faculty and by newspaper editorial pages across the state that Dragas must be ousted.

"The fact that President Sullivan pledged to be civil and respectful with those who had caused this problem," says Vaidhyanathan, "should have led us to predict that the Governor wanted to keep Rector Dragas on the board."

And that has many people in Virginia wondering why. Why keep such a divisive figure on board the state's flagship university?

The governor sounds a note of fairness to females:

"Just as I was disappointed to see the lack of transparency and communication surrounding the request for the resignation of the first female president of UVA, I am also concerned that the first female rector seemed to become the sole target of recent criticism."

Noting that both Sullivan and the outspoken Faculty Senate chair have gone on record to say they can work with Dragas– and with Dragas issuing her own statement enthusing about working with President Sullivan– the governor goes on to say that the reappointment came in a "spirit of unity" to help reconcile a bitterly torn UVA community.

"That kind of commitment to unity, healing, and advancement" writes the governor, "is crucial to the university's success in maintaining itself as a pillar of higher education to pursue the growth of knowledge and advance the human condition."

One person eligible for reappointment not on the governor's list is Robert Hardie. An executive in the family business run by his father-in-law, Richmond billionaire William Goodwin, Hardie does get to see his father-in-law appointed– along with former UVA chief operating officer Leonard Sandridge– appointed a "senior advisor" to the board.

Vaidhyanathan contends that one key to improving UVA is that the other people the governor appointed seem like more responsible and appropriate contributors.

"I'm pleased by the appointment of Dr. Linwood Rose," says Vaidhyanathan. "He's a career academic, he's exactly the sort of person who should be serving on these boards– bringing knowledge and experience rather than merely campaign contributions."

The Washington Post recently opined: "If this month’s fiasco at the University of Virginia has proved anything, it’s that success running a family construction company and writing checks to politicians doesn’t necessarily qualify you to oversee one of the nation’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning."

Double UVA graduate James B. Kiracofe of Western Albemarle says he finds himself "dumbfounded" by the decision to reappoint someone who created so much controversy– "even more than when the students were protesting the Vietnam War."

Although he wanted Dragas to resign for her secretive method of ousting Sullivan and thereby launching a national accreditation inquiry, Kiracofe now contends that a battle-worn Dragas may surprise UVA.

"it's bound to have affected Ms. Dragas," says Kiracofe. "Maybe she'll come back and do great things."

“Each of us on the Board looks forward to working in a constructive and inclusive way with President Sullivan, along with students, faculty, alumni, and staff on tackling the broad challenges that face the University," Dragas says in her statement. "Together, I’m confident that we can preserve and enhance UVA’s greatness for present and future generations.”

"She has a lot to prove," says Vaidhyanathan. "She clearly acted dishonorably and against the best interests of the University. It's her burden to show that she has learned from her mistakes."

"I do hope," continues Vaidhyanathan, "that the legislature looks into the governance habits of university boards across the state in the next session. There's a lot that we can learn from what just happened. I think a series of hearings would be healthy."


Note: Story corrected to remove mention of Glynn Key, a board member who was not eligible for reappointment but described otherwise in early draft of this story.

This story is a part of the The ousting of a president special.
Read more on: Helen Dragas


She did a 180 and did his bidding on ending the controversy and having the board present a united front. Done and done.

An outrage. This whole episode won't be over until it's chief orchestrator can do no further harm to UVA.

Her reappointment is, sadly, not unexpected. Regrettable, though. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/mcdonnell-re-appoints-dr...

The reason she was targeted with criticism is not because she is a woman, it's because, as far as anyone can tell, she orchestrated the whole thing! Silly Bob. This will just give those who want Board reform renewed energy and purpose.

Surely the Governor could have found another board or commission spot for Helen Dragas. Events of the past month suggest that Dragas is not well suited for higher education.

Thank you Gov Bob.....another insult to UVA. Helen Dragas caused more disruption and upset to the UVA community with her underhanded and secretive plot to fire President Sullivan than we could ever imagine. Why would you stoop so LOW as to reappoint her? Oh....that's right.....she has a lot of $$$.


Well, one small consolation is that she'll face a confirmation vote in the General Assembly. I very much hope that her role in recent events will be the subject of extensive and probing questions by members of the committees that, initially, will have to pass on her nomination.

"Just as I was disappointed to see the lack of transparency and communication surrounding the request for the resignation of the first female president of UVA, I am also concerned that the first female rector seemed to become the sole target of recent criticism." - Gov. McDonnell

Well, Governor, maybe that's because the men she teamed up with - Kington and Kiernan - tucked their tails between their legs and scuttled off as soon as their dishonorable behavior had been outed.

Time for the legislature to step up and stop the reappointment of Helen Dragas. And time for journalists to do some more digging .

"The question is not whether Rector Dragas has a majority of the House and Senate on her side, the question is will she even appear on the resolution on which a vote is then taken.

Here’s where the whole thing gets really sticky for the Governor if he did make the deal to reappoint Dragas. "


Anyone else think the Governor was in on " the project " well before he admits and is just protecting his honor ?

"As many of you know, no major decision of this kind can be made at Virginia without the support and assent of the Governor." –Peter Kiernan


BTW: is anyone surprised to see Edward Miller, former CEO of Johns Hopkins Medical, is also now appointed to the BOV?

Here's the strategy: surround her with smiling vipers. Turn every error into a grievous failing, every disagreement as a "failure to work with us as she promised ..."

It's an ancient strategy.

President Sullivan's gifts will be wasted at UVa. She deserves better and won't get it here.

I think it's despicable that the Governor would try to paint Dragas as a victim of gender bias. Weak try and no one is buying it.

What is the political angle here, how does it help the Governor to keep this story in the headlines? If he really is committed to "unity" he would have quietly let Dragas go rather than pouring more gas on the fire.

"She clearly acted dishonorably and against the best interests of the University."

Truer words were never spoken.

Friends of the Academical Village blog for ongoing data and background information:


By the way, Creigh Deeds, John Edwards and Donald McEachin are all on the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee which traditionally has the first crack at gubernatorial appointments.

I understand how he got to 5 appointments (4 members with expiring terms and a successor to Kington).

How'd he get to 6?

This is not surprising. McDonnell wants to be VP and he's catering to conservative campaign donors. Dragas will continue to push the ACTA agenda and try to privatize UVa. Dragas wants to be governor and needs the same conservative campaign donors...it's synergy. This is the time for the Hook and Cav Daily to be vigilant and connect the dots to what national agenda is driving this. McDonnell was very quick with the 'move forward' language.

More data points:

"The position will involve an appointment as the coordinating director of UVa’s Contemplative Sciences Center. It requires experience of teaching Indian non-Buddhist yoga traditions in theory and in hands-on practice,"


"John Campbell to Head Jois Yoga Greenwich?"

You had to figure that the governor was going to reappoint Dragas. She has been touted as a future gubernatorial candidate, and not reappointing her would have killed that possibility. This reappointment as rector gives Dragas an opportunity to rehabilitate her reputation. Will she act in the same nefarious way? Keep a close eye!

Yeah, so Bob knows he will not get Cville vote anyway... so whoop de dam dooo....

Cville really thinks the world revolves around them.

Keep up the investigation. It is not time to let guilty parties get away with this. Hopefully this will bring the Gov. down, as he deserves to be brought down. How can we now not believe Kierman's claim that this was all done "with the assent of the Gov."

See GT Shin's comment in a related post reprinted here. Thank you GT Shin

GT Shin on June 26, 2012
Ok, even though President Sullivan’s statement is a huge win, I am still really, really angry. This is very perplexing. So, let’s recap:
1. Dragas decides President Sullivan is not doing something enough. (What, exactly that is, is still unclear. How she came to this determination is also unclear, but it seems to involve reading at least a few articles in the NY Times.)
2. Dragas then does not tell Sullivan that she is not doing something enough. Repeatedly.
3. Dragas receives a detailed memo from Sullivan describing a strategic approach to address complex and inter-related problems at UVa, based on months of work consulting with the “Provost, the Chief Operating Officer, deans, and other key personnel”. Dragas then does not share this memo with the board.
4. Dragas then colludes with Kington and non-BOV member Kiernan to conduct a series of clandestine meetings with individual Visitors to garner their support to force Sullivan out for not doing whatever it was she wasn’t telling Sullivan she wasn’t doing. This takes months, over which time Dragas continues to not tell Sullivan that anything is amiss.
5. Dragas and Kington carefully avoid talking with three Board members who are widely believed to have been enthusiastic Sullivan supporters, and therefore unlikely to go along with such a subversive action.
6. Dragas lies to the Governor, saying that she has the BOV’s unanimous support for ousting Sullivan.
7. Dragas and Kington begin composing the announcement of Sullivan’s resignation a week before arranging a surprise, informal visit to Sullivan late on a Friday afternoon to inform her they have the votes to force her out. Stunned, Sullivan agrees to resign to save the University embarrassment.
8. Dragas then calls an emergency meeting for the following Sunday morning for an event she knew was going to occur at least a week in advance with complete disregard for the notice requirements as stipulated in the BOV Manual
SECTION 2.34 NOTICE OF MEETINGS—Due notice in writing of the Annual Meeting and all regular meetings and of any changes in the dates, times, or places of a regular meeting shall be given by the Secretary of the Board of Visitors. Such written notice shall be sent at least ten days prior to the meeting. Written notice of all special meetings shall be sent by the Secretary at least five days in advance of the meeting. (Emphasis mine)
So, either Dragas knew this and chose to disregard it, or she was acting in ignorance of the Manual. Coincidentally, the three prominent Sullivan supporters are unable to attend.
9. In fact, only three board members are able to attend to accept Sullivan’s resignation, which is far below the requisite 2/3 needed to do so as stipulated by the BOV’s Manual.
SECTION 4.21 ELECTION—The President shall be elected by the Board of Visitors and may be removed only by assent of two-thirds of the whole number of Visitors.
Now, while she may have garnered such assent informally, Dragas never convened a meeting of the board, which Sullivan would have been expected and required to attend, again as stipulated in the Section 4.21 of the BOV Manual.
The President shall attend all meetings of the Board and shall have notice of and the privilege of attending all meetings of its committees.
So, again, either Dragas deliberately disregarded these rules or was completely ignorant of them.
10. Dragas’ announcement of Sullivan’s resignation sets off a firestorm of protest, resulting in several actions unprecedented in UVa’s history, including a vote of no confidence by the Faculty Senate, Kiernan’s resignation from the Darden Board, Kington’s resignation from the BOV, and massive demonstrations by students, faculty, staff, and alumni.
11. Dragas hires a PR firm at $750 an hour to control the fallout, which fails miserably and only serves to make her case even more transparently insupportable. (Can we FOIA the final bill?)
12. The end result of Dragas’ subversive, illegal and/or incompetent actions is to force the board to meet in special session and reverse themselves publically while streaming live with thousands and thousands of people watching for the first time in UVa history, reinstating Sullivan.
13. In conclusion, the BOV votes unanimously to express its confidence in Dragas.
Now I know why I am angry. In reinstating Sullivan’s presidency, the BOV redressed a grievous error, but instead of following up the first motion with a second one calling for Dragas’ resignation, they let her get away with it. By expressing unanimous confidence in Rector Dragas, they utterly failed to hold accountable the chief agent responsible for that error, and made themselves accessories in the process.
So, either the confidence vote was a cowardly attempt to present the world with a veneer of integrity, or they really, truly don’t understand that what Dragas did was wrong.
SECTION 2.4 POWERS AND DUTIES—The powers and duties conferred upon the Board are to be exercised for the purpose of carrying into effect the Statement of Institutional Purpose contained in Chapter 1.
The major powers and duties are
1 the preservation of the ideals and traditions of the University and particularly encouragement of the maintenance of the Honor System by the student body(…)
The central purpose of the University of Virginia is to enrich the mind by stimulating and sustaining a spirit of free inquiry directed to understanding the nature of the universe and the role of mankind in it. Activities designed to quicken, discipline, and enlarge the intellectual and creative capacities, as well as the aesthetic and ethical awareness, of the members of the University and to record, preserve, and disseminate the results of intellectual discovery and creative endeavor serve this purpose. In fulfilling it, the University places the highest priority on achieving eminence as a center of higher learning.
While Dragas’ actions were reprehensible, the Board’s constitute a massive failure of governance and responsibility.

Truly dishonorable and disgusting. And the University wants to convince young people to be honorable? Sullivan needs to look for another position, as I expect she is doing. Virginia has become a den of vipers and fools I am deeply ashamed. I made a special donation to the College to show we alumni would continue our support since the BOV had done the right thing. But if Dragas is still there I am going to have to reconsider any financial support. It is a sad, sad day for the Commonwealth. But as I said before, "Two years, ten years, and the people ask the conductor, What place is this? Where are we now?"

Hawes: Factual correction:Glynn Key was not eligible for re-appointment. She was apppointed in 2004 and had served 2 4 year terms.

Hard to understand how any leader could reappoint someone like Dragas. GT Shin's outline posted by @outragedalumna is a strong case for removal unless she was somehow doing what she was told and is now being rewarded?

My friends are interested in the time line and timing. June 10 Sullivan forced to resign.
Sets up for just two weeks later Gov. McDonnell's grand entrance at the Romney event in Utah and next day Koch event in San Diego. Clever....

On 13 June, McDonnell's office denies fore knowledge of ouster but then subsequent reports say he was told two days earlier of the ousting, June 8 when Sullivan was confronted. Of course, he could have been involved from the beginning.

Going back over the broad outline: far right ACTA , a Washington DC based pressure group, has been working the culture war against higher education since 1995. They are backed by conservative foundations such as the old Smith Richardson Foundation renamed Randolph Foundation. They work with political leaders and business leaders to implement "educational reform." They target state legislatures and provide game plans to willing accomplices. They target certain business interests and players to implement their game plan.

What is the overlap between their game plan for Virginia and the General Assembly 2011 legislation on higher education?

Anne Neal of ACTA during the interim period prior to the reinstatement praised the ouster and called it a "precedent." She boasted prematurely. But she is a lawyer and the word/phrase "precedent" is a word of art for lawyers. Clearly, she and her allies hoped to use a successful attack on UVA elsewhere in the US as a precedent. As she runs a lobby outfit, she needs some meat to throw her donors...foundations, wealthy individuals etc. President Sullivan was to be some meat...

Anonymoose and others correctly warned about a Dragas reappointment. McDonnell has to look tough for his political aspirations (VP, Cabinet slot, whatever) and also they still want to implement their vision for Mr. Jefferson's University.

As I was demonstrating my concern at the Rally on Reinstatement Day, my two female companions both said ,to paraphrase, "Thie Sullivan ouster is a microcosm of what is wrong in our country and in the world." Indeed One friend pointed to the chapel as we left the event saying her father, an alum, was married there in the 1930s and taught at UVA. Her own children went to UVA. My other friend who has lived in the county over 60 years was deeply concerned and quite upset by the overall situation to include Jones and the Ashtanga yoga hustle. She has been into the yoga scene for 40 years and knows it thoroughly.

There is a long ways to go here. Next major objective should be one permanent voting Faculty seat on the BOV and then after that one permanent voting Staff seat. It is perhaps apparent that they will place an educator on the board and use that to deny the Faculty representation. Thus the James Madison person...just a thought. One the other hand, if he is there it is now logical for Faculty to have a permanent seat. All this is for the next governor and General Assembly.

Logically all 6 of the new BOV members and all of the old ones will need to be under watchful eyes now lest we have any repeats and lest ACTA's agenda be implemented in more subtle ways.

Thanks MB for heads up.


Observing from offshore (Annapolis, Maryland) , the internal Virginia stories are enlightening and complicated(McDonald for VP -really?). Nonetheless, from the start of this community experience, I've been drawn to the governance issue- what is the actual power of the GOV, BOV and the Rector . It's not a corporate Board, in my opinion. Then, let's consider the role. In any case, it seems Helen Dragas was not effective. Has she learned from the PR fiasco she created? Maybe. Can we forgive her? (I know, this is emotional). Maybe. We will see what new task forces are formed - better be quick. I do think the 10 points she raisein her email are a call to action. As alumni, staff, faculty, parents ,students , we need to look at all these points and stay involved. I am offering time to serve on any constructive planning efforts. It's going to take a lot ofleadership to harness the energy we are all feeling

I feel awful that McDonnell is patronizing women voters by reappointing an undeserving woman to a leadership position.

Compare each person on the board and their list of accomplishments. Dragas would never have made the top 100 unless she was a woman. This is not good for women. It's like a token position. Ugh!

Facebook is lighting up with outrage.

Is it true that new appointee, Miller was to be the replacement for Dr. Sullivan?

I want to hear from President Sullivan.

We need faculty and students with voting rights on the BOV!

This is so not over...

These new and renewed appointments show how very narrow the window of opportunity was to restore President Sullivan to her position. As of Sunday, Heywood Fralin and Glynn Key no longer are able to call meetings or galvanize action. The university is particularly indebted to Mr. Fralin for taking such vigorous action while he could.

And of course President Sullivan will work as productively as possible with the Board of Visitors, but I would be quite concerned if one of the people to whom I report had apparently been the preferred interim candidate for my position. If the press stories from around June 11-18 are reliable, the formerly ex officio, now-voting BOV member Edward Miller was also working with the Rector about moving the University forward without President Sullivan.

They won't try the blindside again, but it's unsettling to see that President Sullivan's main supporting BOV members are gone, and at least one who worked toward replacing her is now elevated to voting status. Pay attention to that more than reappointing Dragas, whose reappointment is more about state politics and donors than about UVA. It would be so easy for President Sullivan to become wedged between the interests of the faculty and the interests of the BOV, and with this BOV membership, it would be true of any President.

Bobbie Kilberg is a Republican politico who once ran for Lt. Governor. Ed Miller is the guy that Dragas had set up to replace Sullivan. Frank Atkinson is the Vito Corleone of the Republican Party of Virginia.

Maybe Rose or Harker will be a leader in the tradition of Heywood Fralin, but either will be terribly outnumbered.

"Is it true that new appointee, Miller was to be the replacement for Dr. Sullivan?"

That has been reported, in the Washington Post. Whether or not he was knowledgeable (to take the most generous BOV statements on their face) before Kington and Dragas told Sullivan to resign is not yet in evidence. Baltimore Sun reports him as saying he was asked the interim presidency (June 18: "Hopkins CEO Edward D. Miller said he was asked about coming on in an interim basis shortly after President Teresa Sullivan resigned")

Good luck in your next job, Governor McDonnell. It is true, of course, that Helen's appointment is subject to the approval of the legislature, so this presents a possible battleground to defeat her. The problem, of course, is that there are many delegates and senators who "ain't from around here," and may therefore be unimpressed with all the hub-bub. This would suggest a very serious email and letter writing campaign to them all.

But, let's step back, for a moment. Pretend that Helen is really a perfectly honorable woman who has been caught up in events which quickly outpaced her efforts to keep up. And let us pretend that all the criticism and fault finding is completely without merit. Even with all that, we have here an individual who is caught up in a swirl of controversy which strikes at the heart of the institution whom she presumes to govern. Exactly how can such a person effectively function? Not very well. Thus, she must be dismissed, even if perfectly innocent of the accusations laid against her. In fact, she should -if she is truly honorable- step down. If she stays, both she and the board will be tainted by distrust and suspicion.

And this will help UVA how?

Who will be Rector and Vice Rector?

There are reasons to keep an eye on Frank D. Atkinson who is extremely well connected in political and legal circles.

Bio: http://www.mcguirewoods.com/lawyers/index/Frank_B_Atkinson.asp

Significant indicator in bio: The Federalist Society

"The society was begun by a group including Edwin Meese, Robert Bork, Theodore Olson, David M. McIntosh, and Steven Calabresi, and its members have included Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia, John G. Roberts, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.[4]"


To decode the society, note that some critics of the society say that the society has assimilated elements of the legal philosophy of Carl Schmitt. Schmitt was an influential jurist and legal theoretician in the Nazi German era. Critics say his concepts of "states of emergency' and "the Leader" influence the concept of the "Unitary Executive" as advamced in the George W. Bush presidency and maintained under the Obama Administration.

Lawyers in our ranks will understand.

On Schmitt see and read in entire please if you would like to:

This is important so it is worth the effort.This is an ideological compnonent of some factions of the invisible political world in our country...ie those who create plots to fire people like President Sullivan.

Having been in the political world of Washington DC for over a decade and more years elsewhere in various capacities I would just say that concerned citizens should be aware of such matters.


I believe Gov. McDonnell is trying to send us a message. My hope is that Virginia's General Assembly will intervene and balance this polarizing decision. It is time they stepped up to the plate.


romney's vice president short list

Governor McDonnell pic/comments from Capitol Column is first up on Firefox browser.

Governor McDonnell has sent a message. He believes secret, back-door one-on-one conversations which hide issues from public view are an appropriate way to run a public institution. He believes lying, 'emergency meeting', to get around the open meeting laws is an appropriate action. He believes telling constituents with an interest in the actions of a public organization can be told to not interfere with the actions of the managing board of that public organization.

He accepted and now rewarded dishonorable actions on behalf of a public agency by reappointing the person leading the governing board member who LED the board during that action.

He's either hopelessly naive, a puppet of others, or believes laws are mere technicalities to be evaded rather than obeyed. I just wish he'd tell us which is the right characterization.

I still say she looks like Al Pacino.

how do board members acquire their knowledge of the univ. Can they just wander around classes and ask questions? Does the school provide canned briefings to all? Can they dial up a professor and axe him? i.e. is online learning effective, etc.?

Glynn Key was not eligible for re-appointment. She and Heywood Fralin had both served two terms.

The message the Gov. is sending is "Thanks for doing what I asked so here is your reward."


Title 23, Chapter 11, Section 23-115 of the Code of Virginia provides for the "Appointment of visitors generally; number and eligibility" for the BOV of Virginia Tech.

There is express provision for an 'ex officio' member.

Title 23, Chapter 9, Section 23-70 of the Code of Virginia provides for the "Appointment of visitors generally; number and terms of office" of the BOV of the University of Virginia.

There is no express provision for any appointment of an 'ex officio' member.

Did the Governor exceed his authority in appointing Ed Miller to serve as such a member?

"Om Shanti" mantra:

See aslo SHANTI and OM at UVA.

@Cheri Lewis: Thanks very much for the factual correction on Glynn Key. Not eligible for reappointment as you point out. Mea culpa.--hawes spencer

Once again from outside the state of Virginia......are we overthinking the politics or am I naive?

if you are outside the state of Virginia you do not have a vested interest in this topic. Why are you chiming in now?

Please educate yourself and read all postings at the TUMBLR link Friends of the Academical Village.

Is there a Paypal account set up for donations from anonymous sources on behalf of President Sullivan and the University faculty? If so, where? I cannot find it. Thank you.

Another bad day for the Big State School

when will MOODY's bond rating play a role in all this mess?

Does anyone have more information regarding Edward Miller, MD's speaking engagements paid for by major pharmaceutical companies?

It is understood that he was on the elite list and paid thousands for numerous one hour talks. He is also on the board for a major pharmaceutical company.

I just want to know what we are in for with the newly appointed board of visitors.

What are Edward Miller's ties to the pharmaceutical industry?

Stranger and stranger:


Would folks with an expertise in higher ed please read the cite above and discuss?

So Sullivan has been reinstated but she will now serve impotent, gutted, overseen by her adversary who has re-upped for four more years, endorsed by the governor, no less.
Have to say that Sullivan, if she is a person of character, must now resign. Her "leadership" going forward can only be a sham.

just started following this feed.

seems Bob's for Jobs has no merit. tangled words to support his political endeavors. where is Bob's support for UVa faculty, alum and students? lots more questions too Bob.

There would be no university without the faculty. Maybe UVA faculty should move on and accept recruiter's offers rather than wait for a catastrophic event.

President Sullivan is under the microscopic. I don't know of anyone in private industry that succeeded under this type of scrutiny. She should just negotiate a golden parachute and let it go.

UVA is deserving of less and less.

I will never again donate to UVA with knowledge this bias against a sitting president.

that bias against a sitting president existed in the first place.

Dragas' first pick was Edward Miller, brought to you by major pharmaceutical companies across the globe.

General Assembly for State of VA would never intervene in a stupid UVA disagreement. No benefit to siding with factions. No history of a win. No action government at its best. Polarizing government at its' best. Be proud State of Virginia for rousting the sleeping officials, and then letting them sleep in. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Think I will complete a few downward dogs and sleep this off. Whoa cares? No one!

What is a photo of Ronnie Wood, Rolling Stones guitarist, doing with this article?

LameDuck: It's the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia. You might know that, if you paid attention.

And, the General Assembly has a pretty good record of defending its responsibilities, against Governors of both parties.

only could a one term governor do this. he doesn't need virginia votes.

"That kind of commitment to unity, healing and advancement is crucial to the university's success in maintaining itself as a pillar of higher education to pursue the growth of knowledge and advance the human condition."

I applaud that part of Governor McDonnell's statement.

He must appoint Heywood Fralin as a "Senior Advisor" to the Board.

No one questions, really, that this was all part of the behind-the-scenes Sullivan reinstatement deal, does he/her?

ML - You can coordinate a gift through the Alumni Office. They have an online gift option but you could simply call them and identify the recipient component of UV you would like to gift. For example, there is a special fund for the President and some people have given to this to show support for President Sullivan. I give to the Library and to Historic Buildings and Gardens with the view that unless the Library is burned down by the Phillistines and the historic buildings are leveled for say Paul Tudor Jones for a yoga complex or whatever the gift should be relatively safe in the future. If things get too far out of control at UVA, I will instruct my lawyer to alter my will and direct the Executor to a more appropriate recipient than UVA.

BleedO&B, I hope democracy can weigh in on the higher ed issue. I think the fundamental issue here is: are we educating students for a life of democratic citizenship or are we merely training them for jobs. Strong Arts and Sciences would tie into the first. But, the educational "reformers" want job training and so A&S is slated for short shrift.

This is to say essentially: the Humanities versus "job training." It is a false dichotomy, of course but suits a vision for a future stratified society of the plutocrats presiding over drones devoid of critical thinking skills and the ethos of good citizenship. And so on. The plutocrats will even give the drones a new religion: Ashtanga Yoga, for example. And they will also give the drones pharmaceutical medication to feel good, say Xanax or whatever.

Drop German? Well how does a student do research on key aspects of modern European history without German? How does a student do research in some areas of Philosophy without German? And so on. By the way, how does a student who seeks a job in a German firm in international business particularly if based in Europe get along and go up the ladder without speaking German?

I have taught in a private University in Virginia where most all entering freshman in my Intro to Global Politics classes are devoid of geographic knowledge and world history. Thus, I have to use IT (information tech) to place electronically on a screen a map of the world using GOOGLE Earth. Then as we discuss events and places I can point to the location and we can zoom in. Say given the news this week, I might zoom in on the Syria-Turkey border. Students can pose questions and we can have dialogue and discussion. I can pose questions in Socratic manner. I can try to develop each student's critical thinking skills. I can try to develop their written communication skills by requiring term papers. I can require that each student go on the Internet and bring in one news article from a FOREIGN news source in whatever language they wish. We can discuss that and the student can translate the article for us if needed. I have to go into extensive lecture on the culture and history of the countries we focus on because students are devoid of historical and cultural knowledge.

I am trying to develop critical thinking and analytical skills of my students. I am teaching them from the basis of my own unique experiences in my education, and in my government days and so on. This is what teachers do, they teach from their own individual skill set and experiences to try to create a dynamic and challenging classroom environment which is reponsive to the individual students in that class.

The better students "get it" and are enthusiastic and thankful. Others don't get it, resent that Global Politics is required, and just want to have a job interview with Goldman Sachs or something and get rich. As this school has gotten more diverse in recent years, I find that my consistently best students are female Chinese nationals who have come to the US and who will return home.

Speaking of China, the Republican and Democrat (like Lieberman etal) right wing calls for more Mandarin in US schools as do many others and rightly so. TThe right wing narrowly sees this as being helpful to "business." On the other hand, the US is headed into a long term confrontation with China given the attitudes and policies of leading Republicans...and Democrats. There is a contradiction here between our higher education goals and our foreign policy.

Just since December, I have spent over a month in China. My world there is the world of the top government think tanks, and key universities, and various government related institutions. I lecture to Ph.D. students and senior level researchers, and so on. I have been invited to teach there and have accepted. I write for the Beijing Review weekly magazine and for the Global Times daily newspaper, both Chinese publications in English.

I teach part time in a public college in Virginia. I polled my first year students last semester whether or not they thought the required class on World History which I was teaching was relevant to their future. Well over half said World History was not at all relevant. Over 60 percent who were headed into the military as a profession said it had no relevance to them. Given that result, I undertook an effort to work with some of our institutional education specialists to analyze the survey, conduct focus groups, and see what we can do here. The real crisis is in the high schools and what then is being sent along to us at the college and university levels, many educators feel including myself.

When these young people, the US students, twenty or thirty years from now face a potentially Asia dominated world, their drone training may be helpful to them and the lack of democratic citizenship education will not be necessary in the American "Garrison State" which has evolved since the Korean War...

On McDonnell and his ilk, doing a Wiki on "Dominionism"


I pointed out previously that members of UVa's Board (Dragas and Kington, for example –– and cognitively-challenged members of Bob McDonnell's entourage –– have latched on to education privatization schemes of people like John Chubb and Terry Moe (who were referenced in Board e-mails).

Chubb and Moe are at the Hoover Institution, a conservative "think" tank that promotes "free enterprise" and the privatization of public education. Both Chubb and Moe are members of Hoover's Koret Task Force on K-12 education, funded by the Koret Foundaton. The Koret Foundation pushes "market-based K-12 education reform" and subscribes to the mistaken and easily disproved notion that "America's broken educational system lies at the heart of our nation's troubles" and drastic "reform" is imperative for "economic competitiveness."

Chubb and Moe recently (2009) wrote a book titled Liberating Learning: Technology, Politics, and the Future of American Education. In it, Chubb and Moe push all the conservative "reform" buttons: competition, charter schools, vouchers, merit pay for teachers. Technology is what will "make our children better educated." The problem –– and it's a big one –– is that there's little or no research to back any of it up.

Here's their web site. Click on Virginia in the map to find out about "recent developments" in the Commonwealth regarding technology and privatization initiatives.


Bob McDonnell had to have been involved in the effort to oust Teresa Sullivan. As Chubb and Moe noted, McDonnell pushed very hard in the last legislative session for more charter schools and "virtual school opportunities." Conservatives, especially Republicans (but also business-oriented "fiscal conservatives like Helen Dragas), view education simply as a commodity to be bought and sold. They refuse to acknowledge the historical foundation of public education as a central civic responsibility of government in a democratic republic. More than two thousand years ago, Aristotle understood the importance of public schooling to democratic citizenship, noting that "each government has a peculiar character...the character of democracy creates democracy, and the character of oligarch creates oligarchy, and always the better the character, the better the government."

With his latest appointments, especially those Bobbie Kilberg and Frank Atkinson, McDonnell – like his national Republican cohorts –– has opted for oligarchy.

Bobbie Kilberg worked previously for Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and both Bushes. She’s been a big fund raiser for Republicans, and said that “she had initially decided to back Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi, if he ran for president.” Haley Barbour? The same big-money tobacco lobbyist Haley Barbour who now works with Karl Rove at right-wing American Crossroads, a group that refuses to disclose its donors? The same Haley Barbour who said in reference to racial segregation in the South that "I just don't remember it as being that bad?” The same Haley Barbour who as governor of Mississippi issued pardons to eight men who’d killed their girlfriends or spouses?

As head of the Northern Virginia Technology Council, Kilberg enthusiastically supported McDonnell’s “Top Jobs” legislation. McDonell touts “Top Jobs” as “a pathway towards awarding 100,000 more degrees over the next 15 years and will bring more innovation and accountability and STEM concentration to Virginia's colleges and universities.” Never mind that there now is and never was a STEM crisis in the U.S. Far from it.

Technology “innovation” is one of the major components of McDonnell’s “Top Jobs” plan. The notion of “innovation” includes virtual schools in K12 public education and “aligning higher education and the business sector.” That “alignment” uses terms like “reform-based investment and innovation” and “technology-enhanced instruction.” The term “reform-based” is never defined, but given the current and past state and national Republican policies, it means privatization. As McDonnell himself notes, “I have said many times before that 'Virginia is Open for Business’.”

One commenter (BleedOrangeandBlue) called Frank Atkinson the “ Vito Corleone of the Republican Party of Virginia.” Perhaps. He does have a long track record, and one that usually hides his fingerprints. Atkinson was Deputy Chief of Staff to Attorney General Edwin Meese as the Iran-Contra (weapons for hostages) scandal unfolded. According to the special prosecutor in that scandal, life-long Republican Lawrence Walsh, "Attorney General Edwin Meese III became directly involved in the Reagan Administration's secret plan to sell weapons to Iran in January 1986, when he was asked for a legal opinion to support the plan. When the secret arms sales became exposed in November 1986, raising questions of legality and prompting congressional and public scrutiny, Meese became the point man for the Reagan Administration's effort, in Meese's words, 'to limit the damage’.” In other words, the Attorney General of the United States led a cover-up of illegal and unconstitutional acts in “a conspiracy among the highest-ranking Reagan Administration officials to lie to Congress and the American public.”

Atkinson worked closely with former governor George Allen when he allowed a small group of conservatives to seize control of writing new state education standards, and when foisted the standards of learning testing program on public school systems (and on taxpayers) claiming that it was “revenue-neutral.” Instead the program has cost taxpayers close to $500 million to develop and sustain, with higher costs looming.

Atkinson is a member of the Federalist Society, co-founded by Ed Meese and co-funded by the Koch brothers, a conservative organization that pushes an “originalist” interpretation of the Constitution (except, of course, whenever it get in their way). Outside the Federalist cabal, the “original intent” theory of constitutional interpretation has virtually no credibility among constitutional and legal scholars. As Judge Walsh said in his aftermath book on Iran-Contra, "In calling for the narrow construction of constitutional grants of governmental power, the Federalist Society seemed to speak for right-wing Republicans. I was especially troubled that one of White House Counsel Boyden Gray's assistants had openly declared that no one who was not a member of the Federalist Society had received a judicial appointment from President Bush."

Frank Atkinson is also on the board of directors of the conservative Mercatus Center at George Mason University. The Mercatus Center focuses on “economic development” and “privatization.” Ed Meese is also on its board, as are several others with very close ties to the right-wing Koch brothers (who funded Americans for Prosperity and the Tea Party), including Charles Koch. Make no mistake. Atkinson is on the UVa board for very specific reasons.

Taken together, McDonnell did indeed “double down” on has plans for UVa with the reappoinment of Helen Dragas and the added appointments of Kilberg and Atkinson. The message to Teresa Sullivan is clear: comply quickly, or get out of town. So too the message to the UVa community and all those who were outraged by the duplicity and deceit: You didn’t win, the “inevitable” is only postponed.

As I noted before, the money people are going right back to work. Quickly.

Is there anyone who still believes that "The evidence so far does not point to this being political...?"

I hope this didn't surprise anyone. Sure didn't surprise me. If you think that McDonnell wasn't in on it from the get go you are sadly mistaken and grossly naive.

As one far less informed than most of you on the matter of how/when/how long these folks are appointed -- DOES the GenAss have power over this decision, as one or two bloggers suggested?

@Clifford Kiracofe: Thank you for your thoughtful post. I didn't realize so many current students were so unaware of geography and history.

democracy, many thanks for your insights based on what is certainly deep knowledge and reflection.

The culture wars launched against higher education appear to come out of the 1980s and 1990s Washington DC inside the Beltway political culture of the Reagan years, Wall Street financial culture generally, and the like.

I recall back in the 1980s being invited to a very select and small seminar hosted at the Hoover Institution. After a day's sessions with the likes of George Schultz, we had a small private dinner. It was in the Carnelian Room Restaurant 52 floors up overlooking San Francisco. The night time view with the lights and all was most spectacular. My dinner partner seated to my immediate right was Ed Meese. I know this political milieu first hand.

To review: do a Wiki on the Federalist Society; do a Wiki on Dominionism.

Then,do a Wiki on "American Liberty League" a Big Business lobby from the 1930s following elements of European Fascism such as the Croix de Feux, for example:

Then note that the American Liberty League, while it closed in the 1940s, had operations which persisted. For example, the Pew interests financed a variety of right wing operations to include the ISI of which one offshoot became ACTA.

I provide some analysis of the transformation of the Republican Party from that of Ike and Taft to Irving (Kristol) in my book: Dark Crusade: Christian Zionism and American Foreign Policy (London: IB Tauris, 2009).

By the way, just where is Larry Sabato and the professors at UVA and elsewhere to "profess" to know something about Virginia state politics? So far, I have seen no substantive analysis done under there own names. It would be helpful to those of us who are not specialists.

Every one go to http://conview.state.va.us/whosmy.nsf/main?openform and urge your state Delegate and Senator to vote against Dregas's reappointment to the BOV. It is not over yet!

Democracy, I appreciate your insights and agree with your conclusions

DT, yes this is a big problem with the students I work with. National Geographic for years has been raising this issue and trying to help, for example. I remember taking Political Geography and Economic Geography at UVA way back in the 1960s. Great courses and the professor made a real difference in my life.

At dinner the other evening a friend told me about her late husband's challenge as a member of a huge New York law firm. He was involved with the recruitment of law school grads and then their transition into the firm. She said that the famous firm had to have courses not only on foreign cultures and so on but also on basic table manners and etiquette. These young people had to be transformed Pygmalian style as they would have been an embarrassment to the firm when meeting clients from abroad or traveling abroad.

As to "business", if one is trying to do business in traditional societies such as the Arab World, Muslim world generally, or Asian world...an important issue is your cultural acumen and ability to interact with the people you are doing business with on a human level. It is understood that you can crunch numbers, run computer programs, and all that...it is the human touch that counts and that is quite often decisive. What do you know about their history and culture. Do you respect it, do you respect diversity? This is an issue relating to Humanities and a well rounded education.

We can consider the title of one of the plotter's book( Kiernan) "Becoming China's Bitch". Kiernan as a role model for business students?.....at UVA?...really now...Fuld and Blankfein as models? Jamie Dimond as a model? Paul Tudor Jones as a model? ...Dragas as a model?

What do we think is going to happen when students return this fall and start asking themselves and faculty serious and searching questions about what has just transpired? Particularly in Arts and Sciences. Will they be lied to that no politics at all was involved? Are such lies what we want students at Mr. Jefferson's University to be fed?

To be honorable is to lie...that is the message? To be honorable is to engage in plots such as we just witnessed? To cheat? To steal?

Politics? Well how about Pat Buchanan's column on what has happened to the Republican Party as a result of the purges by Kristols, father and son? Could Republican politicos explain this to the people of Virginia? Taboo?

And again, just where is Sabato and the professors who profess on state and national politics? Where is their analysis? Silence so far....why?

To Review: Federalist Society, Dominionism, American Liberty League, ACTA


Teresa Sullivan has been effectively surrounded by a nest of vipers who have a clear agenda to humiliate any efforts to maintain UVa as a first rate university. Mr. Jefferson's "academical village" won't be tolerated, and will be turned into a mere profit center.

Sadly, this is a fait accomplis; President Sullivan cannot win this, no matter how nobly she works to do so. This can only be won by the electorate. She should seek a position elsewhere ... There are places where her gifts and courage will be valued and where she will have actual colleagues to work with.

So, democracy, do you view Sullivan as staying to fight these forces? She surely knows what's up by now. She is not without other options.

Disgusting!!! I cannot believe the decision.
He did not even listen or care about the community by making this decision based on greed - money.
She is anti all that the University stands for --- what an unbelievably self-serving decision.
We all know she wants her estate close to Charlottesville -- get her OUT OF TOWN>
Dragas is BAD for the University - students and faculty.....OUT

Why does Virginia keep electing Republican governors?

Two women trying to run a University ...LOL

Bad decision by the Gov, but really folks . . . Dr Sullivan has kicked the BoV's butt. She knows it, and they know it. There may be a few vipers among them that would LIKE to move Sullivan out, but they know that if they do give her a hard time she has the overwhelming support of the University community, and can call on that support any time.

I can't account for this decision, and I hope the general assembly asks some pointed questions during the confirmation hearing, if there is one, but I wouldn't worry about the Board thwarting Sullivan during the remainder of her contract. They don't want another beating.


perhaps Larry Sabato can explain that to us and relate it to the present situation at UVA. Why is he, and why are other professors professing to teach political science silent? Now is the time for them to step foward and urgently to help us understand the situation we are in.

As a student at the University, one professor who later became my advisor got me very interested in the subject of political ideology. He taught courses on "Ideological Influences in International Relations" and we worked through meticulously Marxism-Leninism, Maoism and so on in a Cold War context. We studied the ins and outs of the Communist parties of Eastern Europe, Russia, and China. Adding to this as an undergrad and grad student I was able to study with Prof. Leng and learn still more about Communist China. These teachers were real influences on my life and career. The analysis of political ideology became one of my areas of research.

Another profound influence was Prof. Ramazani. I was his research assistant at one point when he was working on studies of India and Iran and the Persian Gulf. He would give me very complex research topics and when I asked how he wanted me to approach them, he would say, "Just use your imagination." How many hundreds of times have I said this to students in years past. So let's USE OUR IMAGINATIONS.

So how has the political ideology of the Republican Party changed over the years from the Ike and Bob Taft era in which many of us on this blog grew up to today?

Today, the dominant political ideology within the party is "Neoconservatism." Old line progressive Repubicans and moderates have been all but purged. Look what just happend to the very moderate Senator Richard Lugar in Indiana. The far right of the party (which is dominant) knocked him out of the primary. To be sure, he was vulnerable on the residence issue (dumb) but it was the Tea Party backed by big money organized by Dick Armey and Steve Forbes etal. which did the trick.

The Tea Party is divided into two broad factions: the Christian Fundamentalists and the Ron Paul Libertarians. The Fundamentalist/Dominionists seem to have the upper hand in Virginia., Perhaps Bell can explain that to us. The fundamentalist faction is backed by Dick Armey and his network.

At any rate, the core political ideology of the Republican Party today is "Neoconservatism." It has nothing to do with Lincoln, let along Mr. Jefferson.

For Neoconservativism as a political ideology see Wiki:


A careful examination of Neoconservatism leads to the influence of the German legal theoretician Carl Schmitt, well known in the Nazi era. I mentioned this before.

One way of looking at the matter is to compare the present Republican Party ideology and action (and I would not exclude the Obama Administration either) with the Fascist European right of the 1920s and 1930s. Former President Jimmy Carter has just blasted the Dems and American politica leaders as a whole for falling into authoritarian ways. He certainly has a point.

The interface between the right wings of the Republican and Democratic parties to European Fascism was noticed in the 1930s. Then the "American Liberty League" was active as I mentioned earlier and its ideology is making a comeback today repackaged within Neoconservatism and as expressed in particular by the Republican Party.

So, to review, wiki: Federalist Society, Dominionism, Neoconservatism, Irving Kristol, Carl Schmitt, American Liberty League.

[Now back to dealing with a huge tree which fell across my shed and damaged a couple of plum trees (a Santa Clara and a Burbank) in my small orchard as well. Long weekend here with chain saw and so on. What a storm. Sorry for all the typos ]


Most people don't come to a university to fight. They come to learn and teach.

Whenever President Sullivan takes exception to anything they do, or seeks a more thoughtful ("incremental") approach to change, these Tea Party Visitors will accuse her of not "collaborating."

If the faculty supports her, then she'll be accused of causing conflict. Eventually, it will be agreed that she needed to go - that Helen Dragas was right.

In other words, they will see to it that Helen Dragas is proven right.

President Sullivan has no meaningful support on the BOV and it's not enough to simply work with the faculty when you're the President of a great university. She will be sabotaged at every turn by these people.

Her BOV - now more bellicose than ever - will include the chair who dishonestly tried to unseat her; Ed Meese's former "black bag" carrier; a major proponents of the Koret-funded (Koch, Rove) movement to privatize public education and to place public education entirely at the beck and call of commercial interests ... there is simply no one to work with, and no shared sense of mission to work towards.

President Sullivan has not kicked anyone's butt; she shouldn't have to. She deserves better. She deserves a school that deserves her.

Let McDonnell et al have UVa and do what they will. History will judge them, if the electorate doesn't.

University of Penn President, Amy Gutmann's new book, "The Spirit of Compromise, Why Governing Demands it and Campaigning Undermines it", spells out reasons why Gov. McDonnell is behaving badly. McDonnell is running his own private campaign for the Vice Presidential nod from Romney.

Penn State launched its first FREE online class this week via Coursera.

Tom Wolfe's, "I am Charlotte Simmons" (said to have been based on his daughter's experiences at Duke) spells out reasons why a new Basketball arena may be the worst thing for education at UVA.

Questions about the Jones' Yoga Facility: once built, where will funding come from in order maintain, staff, provide heat and air? Will there be outcome studies that prove it significantly improves higher education? Is it going to be "green"? Can someone enlighten me?

Helen Dragas was considered a major contributor to Steve Forbes campaigns. What does this tell us about our Rector?

The irony about UVA: the university's honor system leaves absolutely no room for forgiveness and reconciliation. Once you violate the so-called community of trust, we throw you out forever. It just goes to show that the rules are very different for the rich and powerful.

University of Pennsylvania's 32 member Board of Trustees is made up of the following:

5 Trustees serve in an ex-officio capacity based on their position within the University or Commonwealth, and include the President of the University, Governor of Pennsylvania, state secretaries of Ag, Education, Conservation & Natural Resources.

6 Trustees are appointed by the Governor.

9 are elected by the ALUMNI.

6 are elected by organized Agriculture societies within the Commonwealth.

6 are elected by the Board of Trustees representing Business and Industry.

University of Pennsylvania has a much more balanced approach to its board selection process. All interests of the Commonwealth are represented. On the other hand, UVA BoV selection process unfair, and does not represent the Commonwealth. It is time Virginia's General Assembly take responsibility and change BoV selection process.

Insanity: "doing the same thing over and over again hoping for different results".

UVA's decline in ratings has everything to with the makeup of the Board of Visitors.

@ Mary Louise -

Exactly. This is a long term matter for the electorate to tackle. But in the meantime, President Sullivan's being led to the slaughter.

Mr. Kiracofe - or should I say Prof. Kiracofe? Thank you for your thoughtful response to my query. Although I am familiar with some of the people and ideas to which you refer, I have some more reading to do. Careful with that chainsaw.

mlb - If you have enough money you contribute to whomever it is that may advance your interests. For some reason this calls to mind the old adage that "there is no honor among thieves." I understand that former governor Kaine (D) appointed Ms. Dragas. I assume she contributed to his campaign as well as to Forbes's.

mlb, very interesting

mary louise, very helpful concerning governance, Penn is WAY ahead of us in terms of democratic governance it would appear. The Penn example should be held high.

Logically, a study of governance at all state universities in our 50 states would be interesting. Compare and contrast.
many thanks for that Penn reference, just what I needed.

this comes as no surprise from the anti-intellectuals running the state. You've got people that attended Regents running things for Christ Sakes. This was not the first assault on higher education. Psychos like cucinelli have been attacking UVA since the moment they entered power. They view places like UVA as a danger because they educate the ignorant masses. It's well known that the likelihood to vote progressive/liberal rises in direct correlation with one's education.

McDonnell is a snake and I sure hope real Virginians remember this and vote for Kaine later this year.

The GOP's stranglehold on VA is quickly slipping away with the population boom in NoVa, and it will only become less likely for them to thrive here, so they may sense the end of the Good Ole Boy Virginia and are doing everything in their power to set it back 50 years before they're gone for good.

What disgusting subhumans they are.

Wonder what happened to Mark Kington, Dragas' most overt co-conspirator in the first phase of their campaign to ditch President Sullivan?

He resigned almost immediately after the news broke, and hasn't been publicly heard from since, that I know of. His email exchanges with Dragas were a key piece of the puzzle early in the investigations. Now he's off the screen entirely, while she is virtually basking in notoriety and the all-important "name recognition."

Wonder why he spooked so early and so easily?

Karla K. Bruno, author of "Relationships Key to Avoiding UVA mess", is an avid supporter of ACTA.

See Karla Kraynak Bruno's Facebook page, and who she has "friended". The FB link, GoPetition. - Gov. McDonnell Allow WRITE-IN VOTES in GOP Presidential Primary is interesting.

GoPetition may be an effective route for UVA to facilitate change in the BoV appointment process, and rally support of General Assembly. After all, on the day of President Sullivan's ouster, the board deemed a quorum valid because it was an emergency situation at UVA. Just a thought.

"What is the political angle here?"

McDonnell's reappointment of Dragas plays well with the base. Her beliefs in strategic dynamism and online courses are a cornerstone of the right-wing education agenda as dictated by the Kochs and ALEC. Keeping Dragas is the politically expedient thing to do.

Yes, the legislature can stop the Dragas appointment, but I doubt if they will. Collateral damage would be high and the payoff too low. They will most likely keep their powder dry for a bigger issue.

Cliff and Democracy -- good stuff here and thanks

I too wish Larry Sabato would speak out and I wonder how Mrs. Sullivan, humiliated twice by Dragas, can continue ....


Bruno works for the Leadership Institute, a "movement conservative" training institute established by Morton Blackwell of New Right days. Through the years it has been an extremely effective organization developing cadres of young people to support conservative causes.

" Karla Kraynak Bruno is a former English teacher and librarian, with over 20 years as an educator and researcher to her credit. A published author of historical fiction (Mischiefs and Miseries: a novel of Jamestown 1607) and frequent guest columnist for two regional Virginia newspapers, Ms. Bruno esteems strong verbs, well-chosen points, logical argumentation and the people who use them.

Ms. Bruno holds a B.A. in English and an M.A.Ed in Secondary English Education from The College of William and Mary, as well as a Master’s in Library and Information Science from The Catholic University of America. A life-long lover of liberty and conservative values, she has written grants, reports, newsletter articles, and other fundraising materials in support of several conservative organizations. Her son Evan is a LT(jg) serving in the U.S. Navy. In her copious free time, she is active in higher education reform and presidential politics."


She makes some interesting comments on governance at William and Mary.

Dr. Kiracofe

Thank you for the background information regarding Karla Bruno.

Leadershipinstitute.org was interesting to view, "online grassroots activism is about relationships and authenticity".

I hope UVA students & faculty centralize their digital efforts and come up with a plan that includes voting rights on the BoV.

Is there pending legislation in Virginia that changes the BoV makeup to include faculty, alumni and students?

If any good comes out of this more people will get out and vote. That is your recourse against McDonnell.

I'm Republican and lean to the right of most Republicans and I won't vote McDonnell for anything. He and George Allen are lifetime blacklisted.

After reading these latter comments I am sick to my stomach. I was a Young Republican when it was unfashionable to be one and when it was, I believe, anathema to many. I am not sure that I have changed so much as the Republican Party has changed. While voicing small government values it seems to favor a "benevolent" fascism and militarism. And I say this as a former Naval officer. I left years ago and have not looked back. My former colleagues, including two Virginia governors, would probably not understand. But then again, I am not a politician. I mean what I say and, I hope, I stand for the principles I really believe in. Funny, I bought into the whole Jeffersonian ideal (not necessarily the reality). How quaint!

Now, why doesn't Sabato say something? Probably because despite tenure it would not be politically expedient to do so. It seems to me he makes his money and fame by being neutral and usually obsequious to those in power. He was no different as an undergraduate, in my opinion. I would not look to him or to most present professors to lead a protest. Who will want him to be a regular commentator in the media controlled by big money if he takes them on in this venue? After all, it apparently took an idealistic graduate student to organize the rallies that led to Sullivan's reinstatement.

If even one-half of what has been recited in these comments is true, U.Va. is in for serious trouble. Maybe the Faculty Senate can stop what seems to be the inevitable. But I doubt they will step up to the plate. My experience with Faculty Senates in "plantation" universities is that they will mouth platitudes but do nothing. And U.Va. is quickly becoming a plantation. I would never in my wildest dreams have thought this was possible.

My guess is that Sullivan will be at U.Va. for one more year. She then will go to another institution that has not been politicized. A loss to us and to the Commonwealth.

In reviewing state board appointments of Robert McDonnell, it appears that merit is not his first consideration. Money--big--and politics are more important.

Nick Payne

Mark Kington is most likely hanging out at his paid gig, Dominion Power along with Dragas and Farrell.

Just got power back so unable to comment until now, but the FORBES Ms. Dragas contributed to was not Steve Forbes. The sitting congressman in her district is RANDY Forbes.

@democracy and @old wahoo are spot on.

The reinstatement of President Sullivan was a wonderful and partial victory, partly brought about by widespread citizen participation and pressure.

In the plantation system only the elites count and the rest of us citizens don't. So maybe the capitulation statements by Sabato, Sullivan, and Cohen on just accepting the reappointments and the rest of the corporate appointments are reflections of this. "Thanks peon faculty and citizens for coming out to support us, but we got it from here so let's all just settle down and kiss the Governor's benevolent hand". But we expected the leaders to fulfill their promise as listed on the Faculty Senate website and that promise included resignation of Kington and Dragas, and a change in the appointment process.

There will be two tests of whether or not UVA is finally a plantation:
1) the President and the Faculty Senate go back to business as usual, don't pick up the mantle of protecting public higher education at UVA, the State, and the Nation, they forgive and forget, reconcile without a a full accounting, show no leadership for real change as a result;

2 )the treatment of non-star faculty and staff by administrators will be the same way that the BOV treated Sullivan UVA has a reputation as an elitist-run plantation already. The African-American Community in Charlottesville refers to it this way all the time (and were absent in this recent "unpleasantness." There will be no transparency or shared governance at the level of schools and colleges and departments.

While I appreciate the bone of the President from JMU and Leonard, it doesn't come close to the reform of corporate controlled appointments to the BOV. In fact it merely is s sleight of had trick.

At the risk of sounding crass and my intention is not to be so and with all due respect, A friend asked me today: If Ms. Love was to forgive George Hugely, would that mean he wouldn't need any further punishment? If a student had done this would they have been kicked out by the honor system? The hypocracy is beyond belief. If the orchestrated political show, love fest, at the end of Tuesday was meant to put an end to the problem that was illuminated by the failed Dragas-led attempted corporate hijacking of public higher education, shame on all of us!

I didn't get into this simply to get one privileged and well-paid, woman her job back. I got behind this because I expected leadership from her and the faculty in leading a roll back of conservative, corporate-driven privatization of public higher education.

I expect leadership from President Sullivan and George Cohen and Sabato on this now. Its not time to take a break and reconcile us into pre-Dragas trance of civility and complacency. Time for them to put their money where their mouths are. If they don't and this happens again...not sure we will be there behind you.

At: Citizen Party

Get off your third world approach to remedy.

There is another option, and that would be an uprising of faculty, staff and alumni at UVa who demand a VOICE. The value of the faculty far exceeds manipulation from donors at UVA. Take the donors on. Look at historical value at UVA's prestigious faculty. BoV is legally required to be financially responsible to the Commonwealth - where is that portended to be among the UVA's Board of Visitors?

As the Robinhood Foundation tries to pretend, that children have voices; children do not have voices that count! UVA, YOU ARE ADULTS! Just because the board, and Darden's Foundation supposedly support the poor and the disadvantaged doesn't mean it's true. The faux RobinHood Foundation, supports kids up until they reach the age of 18. Where do those 18 year old children find support? Absolutely no where! Follow those children, often times left on the street, homeless! Robinhood Foundation should be so proud!

What foster children, who are becoming adults in their states are left unwanted? Mostly ALL of them. What children, who are no longer considered children because they turn 18, are cared for by the Jones' and the Kiernans and Kiersons and the rest of the Wall Street, NONE! ABSOLUTELY NONE, ZERO! The Jones', Kiernans and Kiersons are marketing experts; they are taught to publicize their efforts on behalf of children because that is what tugs at our purse strings, and it does - these are children who are already supported by the States. These kids grow to be 18, and then where are they? Prison, homeless or the military.

Your wallstreet group does not care about the adult children who have been subjected to the foster system once they turn 18. Don't tell me the Robinhood foundation is about children. If you have a child, you clearly understand my position. Our children deserve better, particularly the disadvantaged youth in this nation. This Wall Street minutia is all about public image, and everyone falls for it. No one follows kids once they reach the age of 18. No one.

This is the time for faculty, alumni, and students to move mountains, and not sit on your laurels. If you do continue on your complacent path as the Wall Street Gang hopes, you deserve the outcome which will be business governess, corporate monies, and quorums.

Let your voice be heard

We hear your concern. How do you suppose we hold anyone accountable? Not possible. You need rest. You need FOIA!

BOV: You have proven there is no leadership in your decisive move to oust President Sullivan. Might I suggest you rally around her thoughtful progress rather than remove her from Presidential position & stain the University's image further? If you do not support the President, you should not accept placement on the BoV at UVA; after all, that is why you are on the BoV. Correct?

Overwhelming support for President Sullivan came by way of digital media. Seems digital media will keep you resolute and compliant of the law?

Old Wahoo,

Your points are well taken. I recall from undergraduate days the stong Jeffersonian ethos pervading the University. Retired Prof. Dumas Malone would give a lecture on Jefferson from time to time, Prof. Nichols was working on the Rotunda interior restoration, Prof. Mario di Valmarana came on to the faculty and projected the spirit of Palladio, Merrill Peterson was in History, etc. and aside from visible manifestations we had the invisible presence of Mr. Jefferson felt by many. As the years went by, Monticello was really brought along with restorations. I remember when you could just drive to the top of the mountain, get out of your car, and just walk right to the front door.

As I recall, student politics were fairly laid back and Sabato organized his dorm and whatever other scraps of support here and there and became "President" or something with not many voting. My recollection of that is dim so maybe others will know more.

All I can say is that I have not seen the slightest bit of analysis from him or political science faculty or history faculty and so on. It was a bold English faculty member who in her remarks at the Rally for Honor went to the heart of the Wall Street corrupting influence issue. The only speaker so to do that I recall, and she was from the ENGLISH department.
Perhaps the ivory tower modeling by the empiricists in some departments has them so far removed from reality, political and historical reality, that they are unequipped to deal with real world issues in a meaningful manner.

Both political parties suffer from cancer. President Jimmy Carter just blasted the Democratic Party and our broader leadership. Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul do the same from the Republican side. So what we are seeing at the University is indeed a micrcosm of American national politics.

It is thus not surprising that Dragas and Kiernan are Democrats of the Lieberman stripe and combine with Republicans of the McDonnell-Dominionist-Neoconservative-Federalist Society stripe to attack Mr. Jefferson's University.

It is notable that Mr.Fralin and Mr. Buford Scott who staunchly defended the University are traditional Virginians. The attack against the University was apparently unleashed by New York/Wall Street/Greenwich based Jones and Kiernan and others yet unknown.

Here is a piece on Mr. Fralin's role:

It would seem to me that alumni such as Messrs. Fralin and Scott now recognize the bigger picture behind the attack on the University. Hopefully, they and others will begin to organize resistance among alumni to the plans of those who have been exposed and the others behind them. There should be a separate group /organization of "Concerned Alumni" outside of the regular alumni association to address these issues.

roger that. here is a piece on Dragas' political connections:

perhaps Kington's lawyers have advised him to be silent. Questions about violations of state law in the Sullivan case apparently were raised by some critics but I have not seen any analysis yet.


yes, fraud and force.

Lies about weapons of mass destruction (WMD) then the Iraq War
Lies about nuclear weapons then a coming Iran War?

Lies about STEM "crisis" then a culture war against UVA.

The method of the Big Lie. It is also the method of the "Noble Lie" of Prof. Leo Strauss, a major contributor to Neoconservative political thought:


Strauss was the star student of Carl Schmitt but was unable to remain in Germany so he brought his ideas to the United States. Strauss' influence is present in academia particularly in political science and philosophy departments and in law faculties.


Just in:

"Already, a social media campaign has started to lobby the General Assembly not to approve McDonnell's reappointment of Dragas....."


Hill and Knowlton etal at work on damage control and spin. Dragas etal getting their money's worth it would seem.

Article quotes indicate the disinformation/spin theme of "lack of communication" as the problem. Oh really? Not political agendas and culture wars? Not sleezy secret plots?

Note reference to George Mason U and to....Ed Meese.

Friends of the Academical Village

Love you all but think you are smoking something if you believe the faculty are going to storm the Rotunda.

UVA faculty and administration are the least activist of any university I have ever known in the US and UK. Most want to keep their heads down and just get paid. Most don't have the courage of their convictions.

@ Tig, who asks, “do you view Sullivan as staying to fight these forces? She surely knows what's up by now. She is not without other options.”

Let’s consider what options Teresa Sullivan really has at this point:

1. She can “fight the power.” But “the power” of conservative big-money forces on the Board just increased and McDonnell’s minions now have very firm control. If she “fights the power” at UVa, she’s toast.

2. She can continue focusing on incremental change. But incremental change is what got her in trouble with Dragas and the other corporate gun-slingers in the first place. Unless Dragas and Atkinson et al agree that an incremental approach –– turning up the heat slowly but surely –– is the best way to boil the frog, that’s unlikely.

3. She can comply, and do precisely what the Board (i.e., Dragas, Atkinson, and of course, McDonnell) wants her to do, and get reappointed when her current contract is up. Then, UVa and the Commonwealth are the losers. And Sullivan will have surrendered her integrity.

4. She can try for “reasonable” accommodation of Board demands, and if she feels the Board is unreasonable, she can quit. At this point, she can find another job elsewhere with no trouble.

Still, we don’t know what agreements were reached between Sullivan, Dragas, and McDonnell when Sullivan was reinstated. But it would seem that McDonnell and the Board have Sullivan backed into a corner.

@ Clifford Kiracofe and Old Wahoo, who ask “why doesn’t Larry Sabato say something?”

Where is Doctor Dial-a-Quote when you really need him? Sabato has been known for his willingness to opine on almost all things political, but he’s been strangely silent in offering up any analysis on the Dragas-Sullivan debacle. What he has said is not reassuring.

Sabato said initially that the ouster of Sullivan was “absolutely outrageous.” Then he complained that the Sullivan fiasco had given UVa “the worst two weeks of publicity” since he’d been there, and he was “sick at heart.”

But after McDonnell reappointed Dragas, and named uber-partisan conservatives Bobbie Kilberg (Haley Barbour for president? Really?) and Frank Atkinson to the Board , Sabato said this about Atkinson:

“I can endorse him wholeheartedly, and I’m absolutely delighted that he’s agreed to serve. He realized the importance of this and agreed to do it when asked.” Huh? Choke.

One commenter described Frank Atkinson as the “Vito Corleone of the Republican Party of Virginia.” I’m not so sure he’s the Godfather, perhaps more the consigliere, the trusted advisor and Mr. Fix-it-and-make-it-happen-and-don’t-leave-our-fingerprints-on- it type of guy. Had Atkinson been on the Board when the Sullivan putsch took place, it would have happened very differently and probably out of the public eye.

I’ve already noted Atkinson’s long and close association with Ed Meese, who according to Iran-Contra special prosecutor (and life-long Republican) Lawrence Walsh, led “a conspiracy among the highest-ranking Reagan Administration officials to lie to Congress and the American public” about illegal and unconstitutional acts.

And Sabato is “delighted” to have him on board? Please.

What Bob McDonnell plans for UVa is not much different that what he (and Republican nominee MItt Romney) intend for public education in general. For K12 education, as Diane Ravitch describes it, it’s “a rehash of Republican education ideas from the past 30 years, namely, subsidizing parents who want to send their child to a private or religious school, encouraging the private sector to operate schools, putting commercial banks in charge of the federal student loan program, holding teachers and schools accountable for students' test scores, and lowering entrance requirements for new teachers.” It’s “support for using taxpayer money to pay for private-school vouchers, privately-managed charters, for-profit online schools, and almost every other alternative to public schools.”

For higher education, the emphasis is on "innovation and skill attainment" and not "time in the classroom" or on campus. As Ravitch notes, the (misguided) belief is that “ higher education will become more affordable when more students enroll in online universities, most of which are low-cost and for-profit. Of course, online universities are cheaper; they have no capital costs, no library, no facilities, and minimal staff. Some are under investigation for fraud because of their methods of recruiting students; they have fended off federal regulation by a heavy (and bipartisan) investment in lobbying.”

See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/11/mitt-romney-blueprin...

Or: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/jul/12/mitt-romneys-school...

McDonnell’s reappointment of Dragas and his new appointments are very much political. And, in essence, they are all about the future of public education in Virginia (and in the country).

What makes you think Larry Sabato knows anything?

Dragas, if she had any scruples, would have resigned immediately after being reappointed.

What is a Board of Visitors anyway? I think it is actual Bored of Visitors, Looking for Contributors (the LOC)

Rest assured there will be complete compliance, spinelessness, and no fighting any power.


many thanks for the insights and helpful references.

In the Richmond Times article I cited just above, enter none other than...Ed Meese:

"But Alan Merten, who retired last week as president of George Mason University, said he sees lack of communication at the core of the trouble at U.Va.

As the U.Va. crisis unfolded, he received a phone call from Edwin Meese, the former U.S. attorney general who served for six years as rector at Mason.

"Ed called me in midst of the U.Va. issue and said, 'You know, Alan, I don't think that could have happened to us because we were constantly talking to each other,' " Merten said. "We didn't agree on a lot of stuff, but we were always talking."

He doesn't think the crisis is exactly the academic vs. corporate power struggle that some people believe.

Over the years he has seen "the corporate world looking more like the academic world and the academic world looking like the corporate world," he said.

"They're different, yes," he said. "But I think if we spend all our time on the differences, people aren't going to get it right."

Sabato endorses Atkinson? Thanks for pointing this out and sharpening our analysis. Old Wahoo's point and yours converge on Sabato issue. Time will tell what faculty does or does not do.

Looking at the bigger picture, the attack on UVA with the intent to seize it for the special interests discussed in Hook blogs is becoming clearer. Seizing Mr. Jefferson's University and imposing a Neoconservative and Dominionst ethos (and Ashtanga Yoga) is part of the game. George Mason is fairly "conservative" I hear. So, naturally UVA targetted. At some point, VA is the big prize institution to seize.

Agenda of concerned faculty, alumni and friends should be in the near term, IMO:

1) attempt to block Dragas reappointment in order to begin some political moves in the legislature.
2) campaign for reform of governance to include BOV voting seats for Faculty and Staff and other measures as appropriate.
3) monitor carefully the situation at UVA
4) organize a group of concerned alumni, particularly A&S, as a permanent organization to protect Mr. Jefferson's vision. Facebook and social media is fine, but more is needed because the fight is really in the legislature, General Assembly.

If their is no serious continued opposition to the "project" of Dragas-Kiernan-Jones-Kington, McDonnell, etal, then we will indeed get rolled. Straight hard ball politics.

The process at the national level reaching down into the state level? "Synchronization" (bringing into line) of say big business, religion, education, culture?


A German Language Department could translate and fill in the details. A Modern European History scholar could compare. A Poltical Scientist could analyze. Sociologists could comment. A Classics Department could reference Tyranny in Ancient Greece or the influence of wealth on ancient Rome. Humanities could give insights.


I think Dan Friedman probably has it right in saying that "there will be...compliance." Whether or not it is "complete" and "spineless" remains to be seen.

Certainly there are those who think the issues and problems were resolved with Sullivan's reinstatement. Not so. They've just started.

And clearly there are those who have little or no "courage of their convictions." Maybe Sabato is one of them. SkipD asks, "What makes you think Larry Sabato knows anything?" He may not know anything, yet he is much closer (academically and politically) to the arena of action than most are. And his job, besides teaching, is to analyze political events, and the Sullivan debacle surely qualifies as one. In fact, that's where Sabato has made his national reputation, as a political analyst. But there sure is a dearth of that analysis now, isn't there?

And there are those who think this whole flim-flam was only about UVa. That's the most egregious error of all.

The reinstatement of Teresa Sullivan is surely not the end of this story. It’s only the start. And it’s not just about UVa.

I wish Larry Sabato would repeat the words I heard with my ears when discussing Sullivan's resignation. He later later called for her reinstatement, but initially he concurred with the BOV's assessment of the past 2 years, and went further the citicize last last half of Casteen's administration.
Kingston chose to protect his family.
Board governance experts will tell you that 32 members is too large to be effective, though they are commonly found.

In my opinion, Sullivan has momentous power right now, and should tackle the ugliest task on her to-do list while she walks on water. Maybe now would be good time to clean house of some Casteen staff holdovers.

Democracy and Cliff -- you are both right on. I also like Elizabeth's idea of cleaning house. However, I am not hopeful about UVA or Cville for that matter. As UVA loses prestige so does the town, despite our vibrant dining scene. Boulder, I saw recently, named "most creative community" in the US. Cville not mentioned. Madison WI, Durham, Burlington VT all lauded.


thanks and thanks to democracy and others for helping me to understand this situation better. this has to be a group effort as it is too complex and dynamic for any single person to stay on top of.

You make a key point and that point was made also by the Vice Mayor in her excellent presentation at the Rally for Honor. This is not just about UVA and the Grounds. It is about the community in Charlottesville and Albemarle County for sure. There is an economic impact and other sorts of impacts. Also, I would think Greene County and Orange and Nelson are impacted as probably some Staff and Faculty live out beyond Albemarle country. If tourism takes a hit in Cville/Albemarle it can impact Orange also with Madison's home and all. Thus the Vice Mayor was fully justified in her points IMO and I am glad she made them.

Didn't Outdoor Mag or ? name Cville some years ago as a great place to live? I notice that Lewisburg, West VA has been named a great small town to live in. I think the Vice Mayor had just this sort of thing in mind.

Democracy, I agree entirely, this is a national issue and we have just been hit.

TIME Magazine makes this point specifically in its coverage, and being a national magazine they certainly should have a feel for the issue:

"the issues the drama brought to the forefront are likely to echo across college campuses nationwide for months to come. "

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2118140,00.html#ixzz1zNW0...

Anne Neal of ACTA has already made new threats against UVA saying they would laser focus on UVA now.

Of course, the more the enemy attacks, the more it will be noticed here and around the country. The political issues will thus be more firmly placed into the public's attention. I have already seen news articles appear in Australia about the mess and opinion pieces in the United Arab Emirates. So clearly this is moving out internationally as well.

@ Elizabeth: Thanks for your update on Sabato. Looks as though he put his finger to the shifting political winds and became “sick” and then “outraged,” and then “delighted” with Frank Atkinson’s appointment. If Sullivan sacks some of the “Casteen staff holdovers” how does she spin it to the UVa community? And who does she replace them with? And if she does replace them, then does she want the newbies committed to option 1, 2, 3, or 4 outlined in my comment above?

There was an interesting article in The Post several days back, titled “Online testing revolution comes to schools.”


Some excerpts:

“educators and experts point to a host of potential problems. Shrinking school budgets could make it difficult for districts to purchase new equipment, and states that pioneered online tests have dealt with network meltdowns. Some worry that the move to online testing could take time away from learning.”

“states that have already experimented with online testing, including Virginia and Wyoming, provide a cautionary tale against shifting to computer-based tests too rapidly.”

“Online testing was such a debacle that voters threw the state superintendent out of office and the state sued NCS Pearson, the company hired to design and administer the test.”

“Over a decade, Virginia expanded online testing incrementally, starting in high school and moving down to earlier grades. The state also invested nearly $650 million in new technology."

"But despite its careful rollout, in 2007, nearly 10,000 students were unable to complete online exams — administered by Pearson Educational Management — after a series of technical glitches.”

I noted in other comments that Pearson purchased SchoolNet, the expensive “glitchy system” in the county schools that The Hook reported on multiple times. The county school superintendent and the school board are still withholding 268 SchoolNet-related emails from an FOIA request by The Hook. Two hundred sixty-eight!

Anyone who’s become relatively adept at using technology knows something about becoming involved in multi-tasking.

Consider the following, reported in 2008 by Christine Rosen:

“Numerous studies have shown the sometimes-fatal danger of using cell phones and other electronic devices while driving, for example, and several states have now made that particular form of multitasking illegal. In the business world, where concerns about time-management are perennial, warnings about workplace distractions spawned by a multitasking culture are on the rise. In 2005, the BBC reported on a research study, funded by Hewlett-Packard and conducted by the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London, that found, ‘Workers distracted by e-mail and phone calls suffer a fall in IQ more than twice that found in marijuana smokers.’ The psychologist who led the study called this new ‘infomania’ a serious threat to workplace productivity.”

The threat to workplace productivity is not made lightly. Rosen added:

“One study by researchers at the University of California at Irvine monitored interruptions among office workers; they found that workers took an average of twenty-five minutes to recover from interruptions such as phone calls or answering e-mail and return to their original task. Discussing multitasking with the New York Times in 2007, Jonathan B. Spira, an analyst at the business research firm Basex, estimated that extreme multitasking—information overload—costs the U.S. economy $650 billion a year in lost productivity.”

Public schools are not exempt from this cautionary information.

In his 2003 book, The Flickering Mind, Todd Oppenheimer wrote that technology was a "false promise."  That is, all too often technology is no panacea to improving learning and often undermines funding that might have
gone to reducing class sizes, and improving teacher salaries and facilities.  Based on his many classroom observations, Oppenheimer said that "more often than not" classroom use of computers encouraged "everybody in the room to go off task."  

He noted that a UCLA research team investigating results from the Third International Math and Sciences Study (TIMSS) reviewed video from 8th grade math and science classes in seven different countries.  One
difference stood out:  while American teachers use overhead projectors (and increasingly now LCDs), teachers in other countries still use blackboards, which maintain "a complete record of the entire lesson."

A recent Texas study found that “there was no evidence linking technology immersion with student self-directed learning or their general satisfaction with schoolwork.”

Th New York Times reported recently on classroom use of technology in Arizona, where “The digital push aims to go far beyond gadgets to transform the very nature of the classroom.” As the Times reported, “schools are spending billions on technology,even as they cut budgets and lay off teachers, with little proof that this approach is improving basic learning."

But it is quite beneficial to the companies that peddle computers, software, and technological gadgetry. And the big push now is for “technology-enhanced instruction” and “innovation” and virtual schools (on-line instruction).

To McDonnell and his new appointees, I’d argue that reform spelled another way is p-r-i-v-a-t-i-z-a-t-i-o-n.

Helen Dragas is one of the worst things to have befallen UVA ever. For the governor to reappoint her is inexplicable. She doesn't seem overly intelligent. She's not especially articulate. There's no evidence that McDonnell or any other principal in this debacle is sleeping with her. I'm baffled.

Excellent stuff here.

I came to the English department when Fred Bowers was in charge. Aside from him, the wonderful Peter Taylor (a Sewanee grad), and Del Kolve (who hired me but later left for a better school -- UCLA), the place was filled with hostile people who took zero interest in teaching grad students and avoided undergraduates like the plague. It's the people skills Cliff mentioned -- no one who taught in the English dept had any. I knew what good schools looked like. I came here from a place where WH Auden was professor of poetry, where Tolkein still taught undergrads, and where AJ Ayer gave weekly public lectures.

So at risk of bringing hellfire upon me and offending my friends protecting their jobs at Virginia I will say -- UVA has always had an outsize ego not backed up by reality. It's that "reputation gap" thing.

William Faulkner, by the way, did not come to the English dept because it was an august entity -- he came because he was chasing a woman who happened to live in Cville.

Online Education Industry? Education Management Corp, etal?
Follow the money...Remember the Wall Street Toxic Mortgage Scam, here is another:

"A Defense Department proposal will increase oversight of online, for-profit colleges that are attracting a growing number of U.S. troops and the millions of federal dollars that pay their tuitions, U.S. military officials said.

The policy, which the agency may issue in final form as early as December, will require online colleges to undergo the same reviews as ground campuses that operate on U.S. military bases, said Robert Gordon, deputy undersecretary of defense for military community and family policy, at a hearing today by the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations.

Concerns about the quality and cost of online military education have risen as for-profit colleges have begun offering degree and training programs over the Internet, said Susan Aldridge, president of the University of Maryland University College, who helped the Defense Department develop its proposal."

"These days, Pantzke, who has post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, yells at his wife and punches the wall when he can’t understand his homework assignments. He enrolled last year in the online division of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, owned by the for-profit college company Education Management Corp. His veteran’s benefit and other federal aid pay the $20,000-plus annual tab.

Sept. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Disabled Iraq war veteran Chris Pantzke talks about the frustration he's experienced while studying photography as an online student at Education Management Corp.'s Art Institute of Pittsburgh. The post 9/11 GI Bill, which took effect August 1, 2009, expanded military benefits for returning soldiers and has provided about half of the $50,000 in financial aid Pantzke has received. The for-profit college industry has tripled revenue in the past decade to nearly $30 billion by taking advantage of U.S.-supported federal loans and grants and is targeting the more than 1.2 million war veterans deployed since 2001 in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Source: Bloomberg)

Chris Pantzke, an Iraq war veteran, shows pictures he took of a helicopter rescuing wounded service members after his convoy was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq. Photographer: Britton Staniar/Bloomberg
Working alone on a computer in his Prince George, Virginia apartment, Pantzke has failed seven of 18 courses and dropped two others. The school rejected his pleas for face-to-face tutoring and simpler homework instructions, he said.

“I stare at the screen and fume and fume,” Pantzke, 41, said in an interview. “I’m kind of regretting my decision.”


"Kaplan University has become one of the most active colleges in the U.S. in targeting veterans -- and the increased government funds for their tuitions. Federal spending on veterans’ education will more than double this year to $9.6 billion from $4.2 billion in 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Kaplan University ranked third among U.S. colleges in 2009 in the number of students funded by veterans’ benefits, behind two other for-profit institutions, the University of Phoenix and Charles Town, West Virginia-based, American Public University System, according to the department.

Two-thirds of Kaplan’s students drop out, Kaplan spokesman Ron Iori said in an e-mail. Its graduates earn less than the national average, according to Payscale, a Seattle-based online provider of employee compensation data.

Kaplan recently curtailed some of the practices that brought in veterans, such as paying recruiters based on how many students they enroll. It offers a course for new students in academic strategies as well as online tutoring in math and writing, and has a higher graduation rate than many traditional schools that also serve a predominantly low-income student body, Iori said."

Online K12? Charter Schools?

"The children attend Agora Cyber Charter School, managed by K12 (LRN), the largest U.S. operator of taxpayer-funded online schools and part-owned by billionaire Michael Milken.

In a development that would have been unheard of a decade ago, about 200,000 U.S. school children are enrolled in full-time online programs. Eleven years after its founding, K12 has 81,000 students in 27 states and the District of Columbia. If it were a school district, it would be one of the largest in America. K12 expects to generate $500 million in revenue this year—it earned a $21.5 million profit last year—and its stock has doubled in value since the company went public in December 2007. The financial success of K12 has shown that Milken—the 1980s junk-bond king, convicted felon (securities fraud), and health-care philanthropist—has figured out how to profit from public schools. But while online education may have paid off for Milken and other investors, it's less clear that K12 is benefiting its students.

The company says its kids are making impressive gains in academic achievement, but a growing group of critics, including school superintendents and academic researchers, disagrees. They're concerned that online schools fail children and overcharge taxpayers—and that the money-making model that Milken has championed could be embraced more broadly as a way to overhaul public schools at the expense of actual education.

"This isn't going to turn out to be good for education or good for kids," says Diane Ravitch, an education historian and former assistant U.S. Education Secretary under President George H.W. Bush. "When you think about people in isolation, sitting in their basements at home, not having to learn how to deal with people, how to cope with cliques, how to work out problems with other children, how to function in a group, it strikes me this is a hugely dangerous direction for our society."

Peter Kiernan and Charter Schools:
"a founding board member of the Center for Charter School Excellence;"

New York City Center for Charter School Excellence Funders:
Our work is supported by local and national funders interested in building and maintaining a system of great public schools for all children in NYC.
•Pumpkin Foundation - Joe & Carol Reich
•Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
•Capital One Foundation
•The Clark Foundation
•Leon Lowenstein Foundation
•Michael & Susan Dell Foundation
•The Peter & Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation
•The Robertson Foundation
•The Robin Hood Foundation

Much can be learned from the privatization of prisons.

Paul Krugman's article in the NYT (6/22/2012), "Prisons, Privatization, Patronage"

"But if you think for even a moment the companies that make up the prison industrial-complex...are definitely not doing is competing in a free market. They are, instead, living off government contracts. There isn't any market here...

"We hear a lot about the hidden debts that states have incurred behind pension liabilities we don't hear much about the hidden debts now being accumulated in the form of long-term contracts with private companies hired to operate prisons, schools and more."

"...follow the money..."

Now it is crystal clear who also cannot handle a SIMPLE personnel issue - Governor Bob McDonnell. Instead of doing the right thing he insisted on playing games with the University of Virginia, the faculty and staff and the students. Now to resolve this issue - it is time for Governor Bob McDonnell to resign or it is time for us to begin the recall election process. A new governor can request the appropriate resignation.

Wrecktor Dragas resign - resign now,
and stop paying Hill&Knowlton with University money.

Newsplex.com Poll: as of 7/1/2012, 3:25pm est

Results: "Do you trust the Board of Visitors to act in the best interest of the University of Virginia?

Yes 7.5%
No 92.5%

The logic escapes me....the BOV is lacking trust. Gov. McDonnell reappoints the key figure who has the least amount of trust on the current BOV to a four year term. Until those people on the BOV who led and/or aided Ms. Dragas in the actions against our remarkable UVA President in June 2012 are replaced, the BOV will continue to be suspect in their dealings with all issues brought before them. Dr. Sullivan is deserving of a trusted BOV. Sorry, Gov. McDonnell, this is a, "do over."

Houston Chronicle Editorial. (This isn't a national issue? read the editorial)

"Over the past few weeks, we've watched with interest the fall and rise of the University of Virginia's President Teresa Sullivan, contemplating what lessons this scandal holds for the University of Texas.

For those who haven't followed the story, after two noncontroversial years serving as university president, the University of Virginia governing Board of Visitors pressured Sullivan to resign, citing "philosophical differences." Following her resignation, students, faculty and alumni - and the entirety of American academia, it seemed - united behind the former president and within 16 days she was unanimously reappointed.

University conflicts like this are rare, but not unheard of. Rice University alumni may remember when in 1969 the trustees appointed William Masterson as president without consulting any outside groups, only for him to step down after five days of protests.

What makes the Virginia situation special is that it stands as the most recent, and most heated, battle over the future of academia.".....


Friends of the Academical Village

@ Dan Friedman states....

...I'll second that Dan. All cloak and daggers a la UVA. It's been a sham for years and it will continue to be. The only difference is that before this drama many suspected but now we know its a fact without any doubt.

Even the student honor code is a sham as students at UVA live in fear of it. Students are petrified to help fellow students in their academic endeavors for fear of this code. This hardly mirrors Jefferson's Academic Village. Ask any UVA student if they would ever help another student with a paper? The answer will be no, for fear of a potential accusation, even if cheating is not intended. This is not in the spirit of Jefferson, and nor are the actions of our current President. They are the acts of self-preservation and selfishness, not acts of honor or selflessness! As the Greeks say, "the fish stinks from the head".

@ non smoker: You need to resume the vice, clearly.

If you can step aside from the current aftermath and unpromising possibility that this new BOV provides for the remaining years of the Sullivan administration, look ahead to the hiring of the next UVA President. It's entirely possible that a search will be launched about two years from now (presidents tend to give a year's notice before their current term expires), so this may well be the BOV that hires the next president. And despite faculty/student input on a search committee, the BOV can hire whom it wants. That's my main concern about these appointments -- like a U.S. President making Supreme Court appointments that have influence for decades.


This is exactly why the General Assembly should be involved.

The BoV must be changed to reflect voices from the faculty, alumni and students. Anything less is a disservice to the University.

Strategy is about the next 5 - 10 years.

Strategic dynamism is immediate so that no one looks at the long term consequences the majority must endure for years to come.

Team Sullivan: you do understand marketing and public relations? marketing is based on human responses to events/purchases/viewing...(marketing should be in the sociology dept.); and you understand that the BoV has a public relations force working 24/7, and right now silence from the faculty, students and alumni will doom the University and benefit the BoV positions, and quite possibly doom President Sullivan.

concerted efforts for the general assembly to change the board will be valuable - even if it fails. the general assembly does not want to participate in Gov. McDonnell's choices because it is an election year. what better time to propose a bill changing the UVA BoV!

presently, it is all about the waiting game, will history prove them right, and Dr. Sullivan supporters wrong? the PR firm is hoping history is correct, that the pro Sullivan faculty, alumni and students campaign will sour in the next few days, momentum will be lost because of the 4th of July holiday, and it's summertime, then what?

this is the 'perfect storm' for changes to take place that include the faculty, alumni and students.

@jkipling is right on target. There is an old saying that fits here: Don't bring a knife to a gunfight. Use some of the A&S writing and organizing skills to mobilize supporters to reach out 'en masse' to the politicians and media.

do not let Dr.Fralin's efforts die in vein because the University of Virginia decided to back off from controversy.

dr. Fralin is a man of few words; those he has spoken, have made all UVA supporters listen.

spelling error: "vein" should be "vain"

all in favor?




Why doesn't anyone investigate the Privatization of Prisons and apply the results to education (education of inmates is included in comprehensive analysis). Several studies have proven that wind fall profits are gained for the private section within 5 years; after that milestone, the private sector wants out. why is that? because the profits erode at the 5 year mark. Yes, there are no profits found in Prison privatization after 5 years.

So, what you are saying, is that privatization for online public schools may not be profitable after x years and then the private sector wants out? Yes

Tootsie Dragas is the best thing to happen to Cville since Crossfit. All you weaklings wait: UVA will soon rival Ruckersville as a destination nonpareil....

The Rector, as head of the Board of Visitors, has a fiduciary responsibility to conduct the deliberations and decision-making processes of the Board following good governance practices. What a pathetic and irresponsible decision to re-appoint someone who hasn't a clue.

Perhaps I missed it but does anyone know who hired Hill & Knowlton - for what purpose, how much are they paid, and where is the money coming from? FOIA opportunity?


"In 1990, H&K led over 20 other American PR firms in what has been called the "largest foreign-funded campaign ever aimed at manipulating American public opinion," according to the liberal Center for Media and Democracy.[8] H&K earned over $10.8 million for their work, paid by "Citizens for a Free Kuwait," an organization funded almost entirely by the Kuwaiti government.[8]

One controversial maneuver was the arrangement of the testimony of the Kuwait ambassador's daughter as “Nurse Nayirah” to the Congressional Human Rights Caucus on October 10, 1990. Nayirah falsely testified that she had witnessed Iraqi soldiers killing hundreds of premature babies at the al-Addan hospital in Kuwait City.[9] This lie had an enormous emotional impact on the decision in US-American politics and public to support the war against Iraq.[10] It was mentioned several times by president George H.W. Bush and other war-supporting people to manipulate the public opinion.[11][12]"

Also given it's representation of BCCI and ANGA (gas fracking) these guys seem like the big guns brought in by the neocons for damage control.

I am disappointed with the BOV. They should have voted unanimously for the ouster and went forward. Their value has been diminished and their future decision making questionable at best.

This is a really sad development for Virginia. The governor was in on the ouster plan from the beginning. Any possibility of questioning Dragas under oath before a General Assembly committee? If she tells the truth she will not be confirmed; if she lies she could be indicted for perjury.

Teresa Sullivan is in an impossible situation. If she packs it in no one of any caliber will take the position. I think the governor may have just degraded UVa's reputation with this Dragas reappointment. It might have bounced back without a hit had he got rid of the shrew, but not now.

Exactly, George.

Teresa Sullivan deserves a school where she'll be with colleagues who want to work with her. At UVa she'll just be paddling around in an anti-intellectual shark tank carefully stocked and nurtured by McDonnell.

Imaging sitting between Dragas and Miller (Edward "Fast Eddy" Miller, former CEO of Johns Hopkins Medical ... NOT an academic, but a medical exec. - the toady Dragas and Kington lined up to replace Sullivan) - and trying to guide a great University with these jackals.

We are all justifiably irate at the Gov's duplicity, lack of moral courage and all the other adjectives we can throw at him. Ok, he has shown his true colors. The real work begins with an effective plan to replace the BOV and the Gov. May his future political career reflect this episode. Lets direct our energies there. Together we got the job half done last Tuesday, and the underhand forces hope that we will go way and lie down. Starting with the General assembly is a good place ,but we should not let ourselves be too hopeful.
Over to you Bob T and Clifford Kiracofe.
To Mr. Friedman, I had wonderful professors to whom I am eternally grateful.

@ outragedalumna:

Agree completely; this is now a matter for the electorate to address. General Assembly and Gov's office need to hear from their constituents clearly and often; trust this: they are not following all the excellent work being done to shed light on this here in the pages of the Hook, or anywhere else for that matter. It needs to be brought to their attention often and with commitment over the coming weeks and months.

George, Nick, Outraged, all concerned,

Yes, we must as concerned citizens work hard on the General Assembly to defend our University. No doubt, we will find allies there and then can expand that. Democrats, Independents, and Republicans can all work to build a better future for our University. It should not be a partisan issue but these are partisan times.

As we have learned, reform of the BOV is a top priority. Including a Faculty voting seat and a Staff voting seat among other appropriate measures should be goals. such as a voting seat representing Alumni.

I think that young lady who so courageously put together the Rally for Honor and websites might consider organizing "Teach Ins" this fall for students to get them up to speed. Faculty can speak at these Teach Ins and I think the dialogue and discussion would be fruitful in many ways. (Remember "Teach Ins"?)

We know precisely who some of the enemy are. The right-wing American Council of Trustees and Alumni which has a nationwide culture war against higher education. Advocates of so-called education reform such as John Chubb and Terry Moe have been identified in our discussions (and in the infamous emails).

But we have a lot of allies across the country in the world of education, progressive politics, and so on. So we need to connect with these fellow concerned citizens also.

Dr. Mark Schulman has written an excellent piece entitled "The University of Virginia is Just the Tip of the Iceberg." I was really excited to read it today. He is the President of Saybrook University and so knows exactly what is confronting President (my that sounds nice this week) President Sullivan.

The Friends of the Academical Village is posting as much data and analysis as we can find. We hope this can spark research, discussion, and action. The General Assembly is indeed the right place to begin.


John Gault,
You mentioned BCCI. As it happens, I was involved in the investigation of BCCI working along with Senator Kerry and his staff. One day, Senator Kerry's lead investigator, my colleague and friend Jack Blum, buzzed me in my office and said "Cliff, we need to talk." I said sure and walked across the hall to see what the problem was. Jack said that forces were working to shut down our investigation. A powerful Washington lawyer-lobbyist named Clark Clifford was calling Senators and putting on pressure to halt the investigation and water down the findings. I said to Jack that we would deal with that and that I ws confident that my side, the Republican side, would back Senator Kerry fully. We did. So, on a BIPARTISAN basis, we were able to bring the investigation to an positive conclusion and issue a final public report. We can deal with Hill and Knowlton and all the rest, we just need determination.

I do want to underline the difference between the immediate tactic of urging rejection of McDonnell's appointments (probably won't happen, but a clear protest is important right now) and the longer term strategy of BOV reform.

Both are important; one is more urgent; neither should be put off.


That's supposed to say "Nick Payne" ... sheesh.

er/nick payne,

yes action for the immediate near term is important to focus on and to keep up some momentum. should the focus run straight to Dragas as the symbolic evil doer, or extend to Atkinson and assorted others?

Question to all as I am notl familiar with VA state politics and legislative procedure:

What is the procedure in the General Assembly for approval of BOV appointments? Committees have hearings? Vote out of committee? Then to floor of House and Senate?
Also, when would all this occur? We are in July now so...? Timing? Witnesses for hearings?

Then also, what is the timing for any legislation on BOV reform? Logically a bill would need to be introduced which we could organize around for final passage. Who might draft a bill and introduce it? I imagine it would be referred to the committee with jurisdiction such as the Education Committees. Are there any other committees with concurrent jurisdiction?

And so on.

Does anyone have a link to FOIA communications dated 5/3/2012 through 6/9/2012 from UVA, re: what led to President's Sullivan's resignation?

Thank you

Both the delegate from Charlottesville, David Toscano, and the state senator encompassing Charlottesville, Creigh Deeds, have statements of support for Teresa Sullivan on their state government websites. They woud know the mechanics of advising and consent on board members. I think a group consisting of students, faculty, administrators, and ordinary concerned citizens needs to be formed to meet with these people for starters. Also the delegates and state senators for Va Tech, JMU, William and Mary, and other schools need to be contacted as well, because it will not stop with UVa.

"June 22, 2012 - from Carol Wood, U.Va. spokesperson....While invoices will be submitted through the Board of Visitors office, no state funds will be used to pay for Hill+Knowlton's services. The funds will come from other sources of University funds, including the endowment. "

So is Hill + Knowlton STILL providing "services" to Rector Dragas? Or not? Nice to know the endowment is helping to pay for it. A total waste of endowment resources and a slap in the face to every donor who has given over the years.

Dr. Kiracofe @ "Friends of the Academical Village" on Tumblr just posted breaking story that will not surprise many...Governor, Dragas, kiernan, and dot dot dot - all understood what was going down...

I still would like a link to FOIA request for communications from UVA and BoV during the time period 5/3/2012 - 6/29/2012.

thank you

BREAKING NEWS regarding UVA - see Dr. Kiracofe @ "Friends of the Academical Village" on Tumblr - he has BREAKING NEWS

According to "Friend's of the Academy":

"On June 14, the same day that Peter Kiernan resigned as chairman of the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees, Dragas told the dean of the graduate business school that “Peter played absolutely no role in any (board of visitors) decision regarding the President.”

Kiernan, a former partner at Goldman Sachs, had acknowledged in an email on June 10 that he knew of “this project” weeks before it happened, even though other members of the board of visitors did not.

Dragas’ email to Darden Dean Robert F. Bruner, released on Monday in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by The Hook newspaper in Charlottesville, culminated a series of messages showing the rector and other U.Va. officials scrambling to manage negative publicity about Sullivan’s ouster.

The board ultimately reversed the decision, reinstating Sullivan on June 26 after more than two weeks of pitched protests in Charlottesville and negative news coverage across the country.

Dragas, who planned the move against the president with Vice Rector Mark J. Kington, rebuked U.Va. Provost John Simon the same day he was quoted in a newspaper as calling Sullivan “one of the stars” of higher education.

“Yes, quite an unhelpful comment,” Dragas told Simon in an email late June 11.

The day, the Washington Post had reported him saying of Sullivan, “We had all kinds of projects in the works, things we were trying to do to advance the university.”

In response to the rector’s rebuke, Simon wrote the next day, “I will do no more interviews. My intent is not to make it harder than it already is.”

Kiernan’s email already had made it hard for Dragas and Kington, who had asked for Sullivan’s resignation on June 6 after weeks of planning but without a vote of the full board of visitors.

Sent to “Fellow directors” in the U.Va. community on June 10, the day Sullivan’s resignation was announced, Kiernan wrote that he had been contacted several weeks earlier “by two important Virginia alums about working with Helen Dragas on this project.”

“It pained me to keep this information from you and from Bob (Bruner), but I was sworn to keep the process confidential,” he said.

But the secrecy of the process and suddenness of the decision ignited outrage across the U.Va. campus. The day after Kiernan’s email, the Faculty Senate Executive Council denounced the board for its “inadequate and unsatisfactory” explanation of Sullivan’s resignation.

This has been a breaking news update. For a detailed report on the newly released emails, see tomorrow’s Richmond Times-Dispatch.”


The Washington Post reported today that Governor McDonnell, who is chairman of the Republican Governors Association, will also chair the Republican National Committee Platform Committee. McDonnell was quoted as saying,

“I look forward to hearing from voters across the country as we seek to give voice to the concerns, priorities, and values of the American people,’’ McDonnell said. “This process is about more than writing; it is about listening. Voters deserve a party who listens to them.”

Who did the Governor listen to in reappointing Helen Dragas to another term on the Board of Visitors? The 99% or the 1%? Who do you think he is listening to in putting together the RNC Platform?

Great job Hawes getting more of the relevant emails. You might have to go after texts in the future because the BoV might tire of all of their emails beoming public!

McDonnell is a panhandler for the State of Virginia's wealthy elite, dragas, DOMINION. McDonnell's supposed absence (even with all the social media/facebook/twitter/tumblr) during the most trying time for the UVA! What a blatant lie! McDonnell cannot claim ignorance because he was across the Pond. Give us a break!

McDonnell makes republicans, such as myself, want to just ...ick to the Nth degree. McDonnell this and that...who cares about a one term Governor - I guess the Commonwealth of Virginia does! Thank goodness he won't be around after 2 MORE LONG YEARS. This guy should be recalled!

RECALL MCDONNELL for horrible leadership particularly his decisions regarding the esteemed university of VIRGINIA. RECALL PETITION. RECALL MCDONNELL TODAY!

McDonnell is such a bold faced LYER!

Hats off to HOOK!

This story is not going to go away as UVA is ground zero now for the national higher education issue. As President Schulman of Saybrook University just said, UVA is the "tip of the iceberg."

Link for the newest email release:


George, yes concerned citizens should meet with Messrs. Toscano, Deeds, and Bell. Bell needs to deal with this on a bipartisan basis as a loyal Cville-Albemarle County delegate. If he cannot manage this crisis in the interest of UVA, then voters will need to consider someone else next election. Allies in the General Assembly need to be identified and contacted. Eight delegates who are alumni are already on record by the letter in support of UVA. All eight need to be contacted.

Congressional candidate, Gen. John Douglass, should be contacted and made aware of 5th District concerns about the issue. John is very concerned about the overall education issue from my conversation with him on that topic earlier this year. So this would be a good opportunity. UVA receives federal funds thus the federal government has oversight into the recipient of those funds. When in Congress, Douglass could keep a close eye on UVA developments not to mention the inside the beltway lobby, ACTA one of our enemies.

There is the return of Dragas issue. There is the longer term issue of BOV reform. BOV reform will take legislative action. This is a complex process and a lot of thought needs to go into whatever proposed legislation comes out. It may take a couple of sessions to get something desirable. Persons with real expertise on university governance need to be involved.

I would just note that Mr. Jefferson's University up until 1904 was run entirely by FACULTY. So let us think about this and the Founder's intentions. The Bruce History of UVA is online thanks to the UVA Library folks. Friends of the Academical Village just posted a link to it.

I still think that a reasonable reconstruction of events is: McDonnell was involved all along in the general plan. June 10 Sullivan forced to resign. Two weeks later, McDonnell at Romney donors bash in Utah and then after that to Koch brothers Republican Party policy bash in San Diego. Sullivan being axed, McDonnell could make a grand entrance at both as champion of higher education reform. VP slot?, Cabinet position? Secretary of Education? Commerce?

Have any state laws been broken? Have any Federal laws been broken?

Recap and summary:

I’d like to re-emphasize several points I that I made earlier regarding the UVa debacle.

First, there is a cognitively-challenged cadre –– on UVa’s Board, and in political circles –– that subscribes to conservative, ideologically-driven privatization schemes, like outlined by John Chubb and Terry Moe (whose work was cited in Board-emails.)

Chubb and Moe are both associated with the Hoover Institution, a conservative "think" tank that promotes "free enterprise" and the privatization of public education. Both are members of Hoover's Koret Foundaton-funded Task Force on K-12 education. The Koret Foundation pushes "market-based K-12 education reform" and claims (incorrectly) that "America's broken educational system lies at the heart of our nation's troubles" and drastic "reform" is imperative for "economic competitiveness."

Chubb and Moe recently wrote a book titled Liberating Learning: Technology, Politics, and the Future of American Education (2009). In it, they push all the conservative "reform" buttons: competition, charter schools, vouchers, merit pay for teachers. Technology, they say, is what will "make our children better educated." The problem –– and it's a big one –– is that there's little or no research to back any of it up.
In a 2003 book (The Flickering Mind), Todd Oppenheimer reviewed the research on technology and learning and and concluded that technology was a "false promise."  Technology is no panacea to improving learning, and speinding on it and often undermines funding that might have gone to reducing class sizes and improving facilities.  Classroom observations found that "more often than not" classroom use of computers encouraged "everybody in the room to go off task."
More recently the New York Times reported recently on classroom use of technology in Arizona, where “The digital push aims to go far beyond gadgets to transform the very nature of the classroom.” As the Times reported, “schools are spending billions on technology,even as they cut budgets and lay off teachers, with little proof that this approach is improving basic learning."

Second, Bob McDonnell had to have been involved in the effort to oust Teresa Sullivan. As Chubb and Moe noted, McDonnell pushed very hard in the last legislative session for more charter schools and "virtual school opportunities." Conservatives, especially Republicans (but also business-oriented "fiscal conservatives like Helen Dragas), view education simply as a commodity to be bought and sold. They refuse to acknowledge the historical foundation of public education as a central civic responsibility of government in a democratic republic. More than two thousand years ago, Aristotle understood the importance of public schooling to democratic citizenship, noting that "each government has a peculiar character...the character of democracy creates democracy, and the character of oligarch creates oligarchy, and always the better the character, the better the government."

Third, McDonnell’s reappointment of Dragas, and his new Board appointments show he’s chosen the character of oligarchy over that of democracy, and that’s especially true in his naming Bobbie Kilberg and Frank Atkinson to UVa’s Board.

Bobbie Kilberg worked previously for Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and both Bushes. She’s been a BIG fund raiser for Republicans, and said that “she had initially decided to back Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi, if he ran for president.” This is the same big-money tobacco lobbyist Haley Barbour who now works with Karl Rove at right-wing American Crossroads, a group that refuses to disclose its donors. The Haley Barbour who said in reference to racial segregation in the South that "I just don't remember it as being that bad.” The same Haley Barbour who as governor of Mississippi issued pardons to eight men who’d killed their girlfriends or spouses. Uh-huh.

As head of the Northern Virginia Technology Council, Kilberg enthusiastically supported McDonnell’s “Top Jobs” legislation. McDonell touts “Top Jobs” as “a pathway towards awarding 100,000 more degrees over the next 15 years and will bring more innovation and accountability and STEM concentration to Virginia's colleges and universities.” Never mind that there now is and never was a shortage of STEM workers and professionals in the United States.

Frank Atkinson is the consigliere to conservative Godfathers. He’s the trusted advisor and Mr. Fix-it-and-make-it-happen-and-don’t-leave-our-fingerprints-on- it type of guy. Had Atkinson been on the Board when the Sullivan putsch took place, it would have happened differently and probably out of the public eye. Atkinson has a long and close association with Ed Meese, the Reagan administration Attorney General, who according to Iran-Contra special prosecutor and life-long Republican Lawrence Walsh, led “a conspiracy among the highest-ranking Reagan Administration officials to lie to Congress and the American public” about illegal and unconstitutional acts.

Frank Atkinson is also on the board of directors of the conservative Mercatus Center at George Mason University. The Mercatus Center focuses on “economic development” and “privatization.” Ed Meese is also on its board, as are several others with very close ties to the right-wing Koch brothers (who funded Americans for Prosperity and the Tea Party), including Charles Koch himself. Make no mistake. Atkinson is on the UVa board for very specific reasons. UVa’s Larry Sabato says he is “delighted” to have him on board. Delighted?

Fourth, What Bob McDonnell plans for UVa is not much different that what he (and Republican nominee MItt Romney) intend for public education in general. For K12 education, as Diane Ravitch describes it, it’s “a rehash of Republican education ideas from the past 30 years...subsidizing parents who want to send their child to a private or religious school, encouraging the private sector to operate schools, putting commercial banks in charge of the federal student loan program, holding teachers and schools accountable for students' test scores, and lowering entrance requirements for new teachers.” It’s “support for using taxpayer money to pay for private-school vouchers, privately-managed charters, for-profit online schools, and almost every other alternative to public schools.”

For higher education, the emphasis is on "innovation and skill attainment" and . As Ravitch notes, the (misguided) belief is that “ higher education will become more affordable when more students enroll in online universities, most of which are low-cost and for-profit. Of course, online universities are cheaper; they have no capital costs, no library, no facilities, and minimal staff. Some are under investigation for fraud because of their methods of recruiting students; they have fended off federal regulation by a heavy (and bipartisan) investment in lobbying.”

Fifth, e-mails released under Freedom of Information Act requests by The Hook and Cavalier Daily have helped to reveal the machinations by Dragas and Kington (and others), and to expose their commitment to corporate-style, business-model “reform” (other FOIA requests pend). Without those e-mails, what transpired might have remained unknown, the dirt unseen by the public. I noted in other comments serious problems in the county schools with SchoolNet, the expensive glitchy technology system that’s been a disaster. (The Hook reported on it multiple times.) The county school superintendent and the school board are still withholding 268 SchoolNet-related emails from an FOIA request by The Hook. Two hundred sixty-eight! The county superintendent sits on McDonnell’s higher education “reform” commission.

Lastly, as I’ve mentioned several times, this whole sordid affair is is not just about UVa, though there are many who’d like to believe that. It’s about the future of public education in Virginia and in the country.

Democracy, many thanks for that helpful summary. As it happens, I had a very small part in the Iran-Contra Investigation though I was not on that specific investigating committee staff. Aspects of the affair were investigated by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with Senator Kerry taking a strong lead.

Looking at the Internal Revenue Service 990 Forms for American Council of Trustees and Alumni I noted that it is a small operation with Anne Neal and a fundraiser as the two reported employees. Ed Meese III is listed as a board member in the 2010 filing.
Link is at the Friends of the Academical Village blog which is academical-village.tunblr.com

I find that citizens of Texas rallied to defend their public universities in 2011 forming an organization to resist their own right-wing Governor Perry. I also note Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has just been made pres of Purdue. Something up here with right-wing governors and higher education?

The Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education just released a statement about UVA as a warning to Texans. Their website is:


Perhaps some heavy hitters like Mr. Fralin might consider forming something along the Texas Coalition lines to protect higher education in Virginia. Seems there are some close similarities with regard to the challenges.

Is Governor Perry of Texas a role model for Gov. McDonnel of Virginia for higher education policy? Curious parallels here, packing boards, getting rid of presidents....:

"The recent hiring of Rick O’Donnell, a higher education reform advocate with a healthy doubt of the value of academic research, as a special adviser to the board of regents at the University of Texas System has some observers — worried about the implications for the University of Texas at Austin — playing connect the dots.

The leadership of the Association of American Universities, the country’s most elite collection of research universities, has already expressed discomfort with reforms being implemented at the Texas A&M University System. Senate Higher Education Chairwoman Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, worries that “if they tie this into the governor through Jeff Sandefer and through the appointments of these most recent UT regents,” the AAU could see something more than simply a convergence of like-minded thinkers. They might draw the conclusion that a coordinated statewide effort is afoot.

The Jeff Sandefer in question is a successful Austin businessman, a friend and donor to Gov. Rick Perry, and a board member at an influential Austin-based conservative think tank known as the Texas Public Policy Foundation — the source of many of the reforms being implemented at A&M that have set the old academic guard off kilter.

I don't know if anyone caught the July 1 Richmond Times Dispatch article that said that during her 2 years at UVA Theresa Sullivan gave $322,216 to the University- which is 1/2 of her annual salary including retirement!

As of June 10, 2012 the TOTAL amount Dragas gave was $153,046 - and it appears she intends to get the tax deduction and then have the University pay for her PR fees! Not from state funds - just from the University endowment funds. Wrecktor Dragas has to go.

Trapulator - See, the Dragas is simply a superior businessperson.

Democray, many thanks for an outstanding summation.

I think McDonnell set Dragas up as the puppet for all of this. He was unhappy with Terry Sullivan (especially her hesitation to institute online learning) and set Dragas up to take the fall for everything...which is why she is still sitting high and mighty on the BoV throne.

Perhaps Sullivan would never have accepted re-instatement if she had known who was going to join the board. With Frank Atkinson's appointment, McDonnell is bringing in a pro at dirty infighting.

Sullivan's association with Elizabeth Warren is behind the rightwing drive to oust her. This is victory-at-all-costs politics, pure and simple.

By the way ... ask Frank Atkinson about Thomas Jefferson. If you catch him in a moment of rare candor, he'll tell you he does not hold Jefferson in high regard.

@Leo Perdue: I agree. Not only Atkinson's appointment, but several others make McDonnell's intentions very clear. He's stacked the board with right wing extremists who are politically motivated to put academia "in its place" as servant to short term business goals.

And "Fast Eddy" Miller, former CEO of Hopkins Medical (and a notorious anti-academic, who had been pre-selected to take her job once she was thrown out - Sullivan and anyone who supports her are being given a clear message: "You're surrounded. Give up and get out."

Yeah, but ask Atkinson about Ed Meese ... now there's a "great 'Murrican ..."

@ Democracy says: "Lastly, as I’ve mentioned several times, this whole sordid affair is is not just about UVa, though there are many who’d like to believe that. It’s about the future of public education in Virginia and in the country."

Right on! So shouldn't UVA, a symbol for public education to promote citizenship and democracy be the launching pad for a national movement to reclaim public education from the forces of privatization?

Why not invite all the presidents of Public Universities to the Rotunda to launch a national association and movement to protect the integrity of governance of public universities? Time to roll back the attach that has already claimed U of Ore, U of Wisc, etc.

Where is our equivalent of The Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education? How can this be formed in VA now?

Seems to me that having a low regard for TJ would be something of a disqualifier for being on the UVA BOV.

Regarding the debate over online courses, I would like to hear more from the educational technologists at UVa. Big changes are coming, and this is no time to keep quiet.

The university has stellar credentials in educational technology going back many years. UVa was a pioneer in the Text Encoding Initiative in 1990. Since the advent of the Web the school has broadened its work into online education and courseware development. In fact, UVa offers a doctoral program in instructional technology.

Is the Board of Visitors aware of the talent in their own backyard? They don't act like it. Siva Vaidhyanathan, a media studies professor at UVa, wondered in an interview why the board didn't ask him for advice about online courses. It's a good question, though largely a rhetorical one. He knows very well why they didn't consult him or anyone else: Online courses are viewed as a marketing issue, not an academic matter. The standard procedure is to outsource these projects.

In the fast moving world of online education UVa compares well with anybody in the country. I would like to see some professors and students make a little noise to remind the community of their presence. How about doing a presentation for the BoV on creating online courseware? Maybe put it online, too (and include a tutorial on email navigation, especially that pesky reply button).

Now is the time for UVa's experts to showcase their talents. Media studies, instructional technology, and computer science departments, and the libraries, of course, need to weigh in on this discussion. It doesn't make sense to outsource something you can do better in house.

@Clifford Kiracofe: Thank you for your comments on Mario di Valmarana. I met him through the Center for Palladian Studies, and we became friends. He was a tribute to the university.


With regards to technology at UVA you might look at:




Technology like any other tool can be used for efficiency and making money (doing what we do now only more efficiently) or it can be used for improving quality or innovating (e.g., using technology to engage in education in ways that are not possible currently and without it). These two, sometimes conflicting values, often influence the way in which technology is interpreted by policy makers and administrators. My sense of UVA is that the are not interested in becoming an online diploma mill like Phoenix. As far as copying Stanford or Princeton or any other Ivy, I would say we are not a private and we should strive to be better and different that those places not the same.

I think in the economy there is always pressure to copy the money makers. I don't think this is analogous in higher education.

@Citizen Party:
Thanks for the informative links. I agree with you and also believe the Harvard-MIT approach is not a good fit for UVa. The university would do better to focus on humanities computing applications using hybrid techniques and teacher-assisted computing methods (face to face), in my opinion.

The board's sense of urgency is disturbing. They seem to want to offer online courses for profit immediately. My point is we need to slow this train down. The UVa educational-technology specialists will tell the board the same thing Terry Sullivan did, that online courses are labor intensive and costly if they are done right. It's a preemptive move on the community's part that may serve to temper the board's future actions. We saw what happened when they tried to fire a popular president. 

With Governor McDonell's new board appointments the pressure will intensify to offer online courses for profit. UVa's educational-technology experts can get in front of this issue and stake out a public position explaining why the idea will not--cannot--work. My hope is the board will back down in the face of community opposition. Siva Vaidhyanathan is doing an excellent job of getting the word out. Now where are the others?

@Bridgeforthallen - online universities have redirected funding (legally) from the states/feds to pay for students of today via student loans (which the student/parent are responsible even in a bankruptcy). Take a look at any for profit or non-profit university and one of their biggest programs is student loans/student finance etc. Corporate America has discovered that pushing for student loans is pretty risk free. College students and parents are on the hook and cannot be absolved via bankruptcy...much like taxes. No way out once in at an online university that gets you the funding. No way out at all.

Student funding - student debt should be scrutinized!

DEATH, TAXES & STUDENT DEBT - why do you think investors are buying into the online university theory? they are speculating! Hello! anybody listening?

Would the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) celebrated by Dragas, Kington, Jones, Walker, et al., have any traction if they were not associated with a prestige research university?

Moreover: what would the enrollment (nevermind the not-yet-existent revenue) be if, say, Sebastrian Thrun were just an excellent teacher at Universität Erfurt?

The instructors of the MOOCs trade on the institutions' brands more than their own.

@Mula bandha - MOOC supported by Dragas et al would not have traction. The funding will be through STUDENT DEBT - AMERICAN TAX PAYER DEBT - eventually. And, the non-revenue producing (unless you want the certificate - then you pay) from Thrun cannot exist without funding. That is why it is a short term solution to a global problem/perspective on education. The United States cannot serve its' people well presently, & it certainly should not be educating the masses of the world for FREE. Who will step up to the plate and say enough?

The concept behind MOOC is to grow to great scale using VC $ then figure out the business model ala Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. If you have millions of customers you can figure out a way to profit from them.

Funding Posted on April 4, 2012
'Elite' Online University Gets $25 Million in Funding

The institution plans to open in fall 2014.

Who needs Harvard? Investors in The Minerva Project are hoping to reinvent American higher ed, VentureBeat reports.

The San Francisco company behind the project—an elite online for-profit university, opening fall 2014—announced yesterday that it has brought in $25 million in seed funding from Benchmark Capital. That’s the most the VC firm has ever invested; the money will be used to gain accreditation and hire academics.

New "Elite University" Gets $25 Million in Seed Funding
April 3, 2012 - 9:47pm
Audrey Watters

With all the talk about how the Internet will democratize education, making it possible for anyone anywhere (well, with an Internet connection of course) to access knowledge and connect to experts, the news today about a "elite university" might sound a bit odd. But it's not odd enough to stop Benchmark Capital from giving it $25 million in seed funding, the largest amount in the investment firm's 17-year history.

The new university is called The Minerva Project, and according to CEO Ben Nelson,

Manerva Project: Priority Research Topics

In 2011, the Minerva Research Initiative released a Broad Agency Announcement seeking proposals for innovative basic research in seven high-priority thrust areas:

Strategic Impact of Religious and Cultural Changes [description]
Terrorism and Terrorist Ideologies [description]
Science, Technology and Military Transformations in China and Developing States [description]
National Security Implications of Energy and Environmental Stress [description]
New Theories of Cross-Domain Deterrence [description]
Regime and Social Dynamics in Failed, Failing, and Fragile Authoritarian States [description]
New Approaches to Understanding Dimensions of National Security, Conflict, and Cooperation [description]

What are the most important remaining fundamental knowledge gaps for defense social sciences? In Winter 2012 the Minerva program staff invites government communities of interest to send proposals for which topics the Minerva program should prioritize for future university research solicitations.

Please submit your ideas, or your questions, to erin.fitzgerald.ctr@osd.mil by March 31, 2012 for possible inclusion in the 2012 research BAA.

@FundingForOnline: "That’s the most the VC firm has ever invested; the money will be used to gain accreditation and hire academics."

The normal path for a for-profit venture is to buy a controlling share in an already-accredited institution.

Maybe that's not to far from the attempted putsch at UVa.

Udacity http://www.udacity.com/ and Coursera https://www.coursera.org/ are 2 others

With $25M From Benchmark And Larry Summers Advising, Can Minerva Build An Online Ivy?
Rip Empson
Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012
Screen shot 2012-04-03 at 4.57.07 PM

Well, we’ve said it before: Technology is changing education. It’s flipping the classroom, bringing instructional videos to the masses, and dragging online higher education into legitimacy. Investors have begun to hear the call, as was evidenced today when Benchmark Capital made its largest seed investment to date — $25 million — in a startup/university called The Minerva Project.

Sure, it’s not quite the $41 million Color raised pre-launch, but it’s certainly head-turning for an education startup. Hopefully it can avoid the rough early start and crushing expectations that come along with big seed rounds. To help it take flight, the startup is announcing that Larry Summers, former Harvard President and U.S. Secretary of Treasury will chair its advisory board.

At first blush, with this kind of big, early funding, well-known names, and outsized ambition, the project is intriguing to say the least, if not full of bravado. What do I mean? Well, describing itself as “the first elite American University to be launched in more than a century,” The Minerva Project is aiming to rethink the role of colleges and universities, taking into account the ways in which the Web has completely altered the distribution of and access to information.

Minerva Founder and CEO Ben Nelson (who is also the former CEO of Snapfish) points out the fact that the resources of the country’s elite universities are already constrained, as he cites the example of Yale, which recently made the decision to add 250 students to its incoming class. Doing so cost the top university a quarter of a billion dollars. Albeit just one example, the tuition rates at both colleges and universities is rising, saddling students with debt that often takes years, if not decades, to pay off.

Yep! That's why all is well when the professors are off on their "academic" theories - that the BoV @ UVA can sit pretty.

Follow the money. Academics must look at the economics now.

Academia must look at the dollars funding online, Pheonix, Apollo (one in same) & all those that benefit from the educational dollar. The educational dollar is in the form of STUDENT LOANS, and those are from the Federal Government (for the most part).

A trillion dollars in student debt will eventually BUBBLE, just like dot com; just like Wall Street. No way around it!


See the familiar faces in YouTube: "Jois Yoga Greenwich: 1st Week + Grand Opening"

"He said Udacity has already partnered with more than 20 companies who verify and accept the certificates of course completion. Some are already hiring graduates of Udacity courses. Thrun is also working with other companies to design and tailor classes to specific needs in the work force. Soon, Udacity will be launching in-person testing centers to verify a student's knowledge and skills."