Dragas to Simon: 'Quite an unhelpful comment'

Coping with the earliest suggestions that her action was not resonating quite the way she might have hoped, University of Virginia Rector Helen Dragas lashed out at the provost, John Simon, after he informed her that he'd given an interview to the Washington Post which quoted him calling the ousted president, Teresa Sullivan, "one of the stars" in higher education.

"Yes, quite an unhelpful comment," Dragas tells Simon in an email sent at 10:12pm on June 11, just a little over a day after Dragas and two fellow UVA Board of Visitors members, including the now-resigned Mark Kington, accepted Sullivan's forced resignation.

"Helen, What are you referring to?" then asks Simon, who was also quoted in the Post story saying, “We had all kinds of projects in the works, things we were trying to do to advance the university.”

The emails were released following a Freedom of Information request by the Hook. They show Dragas trying to stanch what became an irresistible tide of outrage that included numerous protests and which culminated in the unanimous reinstatement of Sullivan June 26.

The emails show Dragas refusing to attend an open meeting at the Darden School– the graduate business program that awarded MBAs to both Dragas and Kington– if press attend. And she attempts to assuage upset Darden faculty members after the Darden Foundation chair, Peter Kiernan, seemed– via his infamous "Trust me, Helen has things well in hand" email– to both relish and participate in Sullivan's ouster.

"Peter played absolutely no role in any BOV decisions regarding the president," Dragas writes in a June 14 email to Darden Dean Robert Bruner. "My conversations with Peter centered around service to the university through application of his experience and skill in strategic thinking and complex problem-solving."

Kiernan resigned that same afternoon.

The released messages were sent in fulfillment of a request for emails connecting Dragas or Kington to UVA donors Paul Tudor Jones, Thomas Farrell, and William Goodwin. No emails to Goodwin were produced, and the ones with Jones– whom the Hook has identified as a pre-ouster confrere– dealt only with avoiding potential conflicts in asset management.

As for Farrell– the former UVA rector who makes $14 million a year running Dominion Virginia Power (and who helps transfer about $200,000 a year into the pockets of both Dragas and Kington via their service on his board)– the only email released by him has him warning the pair that a hunger strike waged in February to support higher wages for UVA staff might produce 10,000 emails.

"You should get a block put on," writes Farrell, "because they are sure to come!"

The UVA official fulfilling the Hook's request indicated that "several" emails that met the specifications of the request were withheld under the statutory exemptions allowing the University to conceal certain personnel, fundraising, and legal matters.

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


Good job locating this email. Anyone plan on sending this to the Governor?

The CEO of Dominion Virginia Power makes $14 million a year? How can any business or corporation justify a salary like this? No wonder my electric bill has doubled in the last decade. If it doubles again, maybe they can pay him $28 million a year.

$1.16 million a month, wonder how much he takes home after taxes?

$290,000 a week...... how much after taxes?

If we break it down even further, 40 hours a week x 52 weeks = 2080 hours.
$14 million divided by 2080 hours = $6,730 an hour salary. While many people try to survive on $7.25 an hour. Mind numbing figures!!!

I should have gone to UVA when my father offered to pay all the bills. Stupid me!!!

Nothing shocking--just further illumination that she is naive about how a public institution works. Making decisions with little input and then clamping down on dissent is not an effective strategy for managing the message on a public board. My guess is that she is a bit more sophisticated on this topic now--thanks to a couple of weeks of public relations disaster experience.

Is it possible the other visitors will decide to elect a new rector? I am not sure how that works.

Thanks, keep digging. Maybe you'll find the smoking gun that will cause her to resign.

Don't feel too bad GSOE. I went to my 40th reunion at UVA last month and none of my friends ever made $14 mill in one year either.
And while it's still obscene compensation, usually most of those dollars are tied up in stock options, etc. which may or may not be that valuable when they vest. They didn't hand him a monthly check for $1.16 mill a month.

My take on the Hill and Knowlton fiasco is that it is still ongoing. And H and K are being paid, at least partially, out of the endowment according to a statement attributed to Carol Wood. I don't think these Dragas people have given up, not one bit.

The University is using its own endowment money to destroy itself? Incredible.

There might not be any smoking guns in these e-mails, but they do build the case that Dragas is the servant of a political ideology that aims to squash any democratic discussion of the future of UVa. Her e-mail to Dean Bruner was embarassing for it's lack of substance and blatant lying. She has no limits to whom she will disrespect. She obviously is confusing loyalty to ideology with honor and dignity. Governor McDonnell has certainly shown his hand in re-appointing her. The power they both wield is obscene.

Thanks to Hawes, Courtney, Dave et al. for staying on the case. Please continue!!
Recall how long it took for the truth about Watergate to come out after the burglary was discovered.

There are very likely major players in the "project" whose identities and roles have not been revealed. The lack of accountability for those whose roles have been revealed is simply staggering, most conspicuously and astoundingly exemplified by Dragas's reappointment.

Putting those two observations together suggests that there is a political dimension and motivation to he project that extends to Richmond.

Perhaps one avenue to get at the massive portion of the iceberg that is still submerged is to FOI emails from the fall of 2011 going forward.

There is no Helen. Only Zuul.

Is it possible that emails were deleted and not turned over in the request ? Are there other personal accounts that could be looked at if they contained BOV business. I'm sure Ms. Dragas has more than one email address .
No one I know trusts this woman how can the University go forward with that level of suspicion, the same goes for Strine.

They both need to resign.

The Freedom of Information law exemptions are too broad, allowing boards to hide information, including misdeeds, that should be made public.

please continue to stay on her arse. this is a dangerous woman and I doubt she will back off. Sullivan may have been brought back, but Dragas will still work to find a way to undermine her and drive Dragas's own agenda. I would wonder if sullivan can outlast her during this next 2 yr term.

Fall 2012
RELH 3559: New Course in Hinduism
"Yogic Traditions of South Asia"

The continued presence of Helen Dragas on UVa's Board of Visitors is an embarrassment for the University and a signal to the world that the State of Virginia did not learn its lesson from the botched ouster of President Sullivan. Any gains in stanching the wound inflicted by the Board by reinstating Sullivan are countered by this gross error in the Governor's judgement since reasonable academics considering becoming members of the University community will know that the root causes of the fiasco are still in place: an imbalanced board and a grasping, unethical leader at the helm with the wrong priorities. Dragas has shown nothing to convince that she understands what she did wrong and much to show the opposite. Not only did she not take the blame for the near death experience she caused, she continues to blame the University community and those around the country who expressed solidarity with us as a "mob" whose voice has no place in the school's decision-making process and who lack the position to see what only the Board can see. One wonders what she is privy to -- it cannot be an understanding of those factors cited as existential threats to the University, in particular the digital culture which she and her colleagues proved themselves to be risibly ignorant of. What is left but special interests and the details of shadowy deals based on perceived market opportunities?

If donors and board members are financially benefitting from their positions, beyond tickets to sporting events, they should be stripped of their wealth and tossed in the pen. Let them get dynamic behind bars.
I like to think that most donors and board members are ethical; not self-serving. Shame on anyone who supports abuse of power.

Not only has the University of Virginia pasted almost every square inch of their copious land with ugly brick buildings, it's also quite apparent that the ruling cadre of the school have mostly bricks for brains. Over the years, they've turned a nice old school, with a decent number of students, into an institution that is bloated and mediocre----just another rinky-dink state school. ----Not only have They overbuilt with new buildings, but they've also managed to make the Rotunda seem innocuous----of all things! They talk about taking the original Academic Village back to its 'original' appearance, and have commented that the magnolia trees on either side of the Rotunda were not part of Jefferson's construct. Likely, there were no, or very few, trees in the beginning, anywhere on the grounds. It was rather barren, and built in the middle of nowhere. Will they take us back to that? When I went to UVA, back in the early 70s, one could walk into the Rotunda at will, show visiting friends and relatives the cavernous, cool interior, then mosey around the magnolias, with their huge blossoms scenting the air. Cool your feet off in the fountain pool. It was pleasant, open, and made you feel like an integral part of history. Now, on a tour of the Rotunda, you get to see plush carpeting, plush rugs, fancy rooms full of furniture on steroids. Big deal.

Not Hill & Knowlton, but Shill and Knownot. Just keep track of the billable hours, and we'll say or do anything for our clients.

I agree with several of the earlier posters that Dragas is an embarrassment to UVA. If the Governor had any brains, he'd appoint a special counsel or panel (bipartisian of course) to dig through all the Dragas detritus and get to the bottom of this on going soap opera.

Simon may be the Brutus of this drama and, perhaps, should be the one to move on. He seems to be playing both sides against the middle. Earlier reports suggested that he had several private meetings with the Dragon Lady and provided negative information about various programs.

Bon mots to The Hook team for continuing to follow this dreadful Dragas drama.

Whoops, wrong name, should be Strine. My bad! :-)

@lawn lounger - thanks for the clarification. UVa is lucky to have Simon as Provost and Dragas had him cowering...

This is hilarious. The players here clearly had no idea their emails are not private. It's like "The Onion" wrote some of this stuff. If Dragas would stay on the board for life and keep writing emails, I'd never have to buy another ticket to a comedy movie again. Long live Dragas, our own Queen of Mean!

The Richmond Times-Dispatch (now a Buffet paper!) is running a devastating reading of these emails. Dragas outright lied to Dean Bruner about the involvement of Kiernan: “Peter played absolutely no role in any (board of visitors) decision regarding the President.” Same quote as above in the Hook article, but called out as contradicting everything Kiernan has said. And, fatefully, emailed to a wide list!


There is no moving the needle for your already set opinions. The project that Peter Kiernan referred to was not the project of requesting Sullivan's resignation, it was the broader project of getting some invigorated Wall Street money interested in improving faculty compensation, and therefore shifting his role from the Darden Foundation to the Visitors, perhaps. Dragas reached out to measure his level of interest. Kiernan's poorly worded message is to blame for so much of the incorrect framing of this story, and was completely misinterpreted. The governor's assent he mentioned is required for his appointment, not for the Board's personnel action. And, as I've written here before, the Rector spoke for 16 members of the BOV in seeking Sullivan's resignation. There is plenty of evidence that people left her hanging later, but that does not change the fact that they supported the action prior to June 8th. Your anger doesn't change those facts, either.

Mrs. Mendenhall, I have no doubt that what you are saying is absolutely true. The Hook rarely ever uses quotes within their intended context; however, at this point in the game and knowing all that we know, what the "project" really refers to is of no more importance than how Al Gore fared in Wyoming during his presidential bid. In short, you're rearranging the deck furniture on the Titanic.

She's the wrector of the perish.

Just the notion of the "boss" condo-developer policing the speech of someone as decent and distinguished as Simon make me want to puke. I can't believe she's still on the board.

Elizabeth Mendenhall, it's fair to say "the project" was not necessarily Sullivan's ouster itself, but setting up a search committee to replace her and to pursue "strategic dynamism" in the future. Is not fair to characterize it as you have, since the email clearly states otherwise. Here is the full-text: http://www2.dailyprogress.com/news/2012/jun/12/full-text-darden-foundati...

As for the 16 votes, I have seen no evidence of that, nor the "evidence that people left her hanging." Instead there are many instances of powerful non-BOV people toadying up and then toadying out when the winds shifted. That is a different matter. The problem was likely Dragas had left *them* out to dry by appearing to speak for a unanimous, fully consulted board.

I would be glad to discuss those people explicitly, officials and funders, though why you think it would help Dragas's case is beyond me.

Here is the letter, in context: "In very short order an interim President will be identified and a search process will commence for a replacement for Terry. There will also be a strategic planning initiative commenced by the Board of Visitors with a focus on strategic dynamism.

"A number of you have asked if we were surprised by this announcement. Here is the truth. Several weeks ago I was contacted by two important Virginia alums about working with Helen Dragas on this project, particularly from the standpoint of the search process and the strategic dynamism effort. It pained me to keep this information from you and from Bob, but I was sworn top keep the process confidential."

The T-D implies Dragas lied when she told the Dean that Kiernan, the author of the email, "played absolutely no role in any BOV decision regarding the President.” It think that is fair, unless you want to say the "project" he describes is absolutely disjoint from the BOV accepting Sullivan's resignation.

Ah, my mistake. Kiernan's email was already public, wasn't it, when Dragas wrote to the Dean? She was denying Kiernan played any role in the BOV decision, despite his involvement in planning around it. Well that is even odder, and does not reflect well on Dragas, though it is not the type of lie I said the T-D was implying. My apologies.

Her emails like that show why the deans switched sides. They show so much more spin than fact that the deans must have felt they were being left to hang out.

The series of events and communications that led to the assumption that Dragas lied are not the factual set. It is admittedly hard to unwind perception, but that is an issue for the perceivers, not for Dragas. She is not responsible for Kiernan's words, his use of jargon, nor his decision to retire from the Darden Foundation, all of which granted him larger status on this matter than he had. It set the table for doubts that ensued and persist. Dragas has elected not to debate these facts publicly, perhaps her biggest mistake but not one of dishonor. The board members who verbally told her & Mark Kington that they supported the method and the action have also stayed quiet. Until those who changed their minds did so publicly--but even then they didn't admit publicly that they had originally favored this request. (Heywood Fralin subtly referenced their unanimity in his preamble to resolution at reinstatement meeting.) This is not her responsibility, either, it is theirs. She has preserved their right to privacy at her own expense, as I see it. All the character assassination and calls for vengeance will not change what actually, truly happened. This, by the way, is not to say that you must share the Board's desire for a different president. I recognize that as a matter of judgment, and prefer to focus on the facts.

While we are on Kiernan, let's consider the concept of "strategic dynamism". Here is one take. One of the issues here is apparently a management "philosophy" issue: so-called "strategic dynamism" of Kiernan versus "incremental change" approach by Sullivan. I would not that there seems to have been a huge mess at Texas A&M revolving on management "philosophy." Bob Gates (former head of CIA, SecDef and so on) was attacked for his "inclusive style" by the right wing educational reform types around Governor Perry advised by the Tfar right Texas Public Policy Foundation.

So, "strategic dynamism":

"Peter Kiernan, the Narcissistic "Hedge Fund" Manager Behind the UVA Fiasco?

A commenter in the earlier thread linked to the informative CHE piece (subscription access) on the unfolding UVA fiasco, in which a key player was former Goldman Sachs partner Peter Kiernan, who is now one of the idle, busybody rich (having retired with his fortune in his mid-40s!); an excerpt:

The e-mail, which Mr. Kiernan sent to fellow Darden board members, suggested Ms. Sullivan's resignation would usher in a fast-paced series of unspecified changes.

"The decision of the Board of Visitors to move in another direction stems from their concern that the governance of the university was not sufficiently tuned to the dramatic changes we all face: funding, Internet, technology advances, the new economic model," Mr. Kiernan wrote in the e-mail, which was published in several Virginia newspapers. "These are matters for strategic dynamism rather than strategic planning."


So what is "strategic dynamism," and who are its practitioners? Quite the opposite of the methodical, long-term visions found in most universities' strategic plans, strategic dynamism implies a near-constant "stirring of the pot" within an organization, explains Donald C. Hambrick, a professor of management at Pennsylvania State University's main campus.

That could mean wild changes in asset allocation within a company's investment portfolio or a radical alteration of a business's marketing approach. Proponents of strategic dynamism value the potential rewards of substantial, fast-paced change more than the stability of a gradual strategic evolution, Mr. Hambrick says.

There's another thing about executives who embrace strategic dynamism: They're totally in love with themselves, Mr. Hambrick says. In 2007, Mr. Hambrick co-authored a study that found a strong correlation between a chief executive's level of narcissism and his or her penchant for making frequent changes consistent with strategic dynamism.

The study used five indicators to measure a chief executive's narcissism, including the prominence of the executive's photographs in a company's annual report, the frequency of the executive's name in company news releases, the disparity between the chief executive's compensation and that of the company's second in command, and the frequency with which the chief executive uses first-person-singular pronouns in interviews.

For those keeping score, Mr. Kiernan's e-mail to Darden trustees contains 19 first-person pronouns...

Unless someone reins in fools like Mr. Kiernan, there could be tough times ahead for UVA.

Posted by Brian Leiter on June 15, 2012 at 10:45 AM in "The less they know, the less they know it", The Academy | Permalink"

@E.M. - Dragas is dishonorable. An honorable board member would have resigned by now. Dragas was the catalyst in this fiasco. I don't think you know what you are talking about regarding Kiernan's involvement. Quotes are quotes.

"as I've written here before, the Rector spoke for 16 members of the BOV in seeking Sullivan's resignation"

Repeating this ad nauseum does not make it true. Three BOV members are on record as having no prior knowledge that Dragas and kington intended to seek Sullivan's resignation. Do you understand that when you claim that Dragas didn't lie about this you are necessarily calling those other visitors liars? I don't know what subtle reference to unanimity you are reading into Fralin's comments, but would ask what you think we should infer from this quote from the preamble to his motion to reinstate the president:

"As I have previously stated, I do not agree and have never been presented with facts that in my opinion justify asking for the resignation of President Sullivan."

Just to clarify, I should have added that the statement in Fralin's preamble to the effect that "every member" knew that Dragas intended to meet with Sullivan is at odds with previous comments from others about being in the dark.

Fralin is the member who said that he had not had sufficient interaction with Sullivan to make a judgement. He did not ask that the Rector refrain, he simply withheld an opinion. From his preamble: "It is clear that every member knew that the Rector and the Vice-Rector intended to meet with President Sullivan to ask for her resignation." What 3 others are on the record as actually saying (not what the media has reported) is that they did not have a lot of advance knowledge of this plan, and that is true. But when apprised several days beforehand, they supported it. Those board members have loyalties to the prior rector and their support was not sought as it wasn't needed for 2/3 support, if you were actually counting votes. This was not a vote. You can stick to your negative views, but these are important distinctions. A rector who had lied and conspired and would have resigned by now, but this one did not. Beware that much of what you believe is untrue.

Michael--what I'm attempting to chip away at here is that the story that has been accepted is at odds with what actually happened. Clifford--just because the Rector sought his financial support does not mean that he would have been appointed by the Governor. This is one aspect of the checks and balances that are in place to avoid any singular agenda becoming dominant. No one on the board wants UVA to become a vocational training online strategic dynamism institute lacking German. Trust me.

@Elizabeth Mendenhall, are you a Graduate student from Johns Hopkins? Studying international relations? From same university as Ed Miller - new appointee by Gov. McDonnell to BoV at UVA?

Any FOIA inquiries from the Hook requesting all correspondents since new appointments to the BoV @ UVA. This would be interesting to peruse. They may have more information about what led to the quorum.

correction: FOIA correspondence...

1) "invigorated Wall Street money"

Kiernan, Jones, used to have Fuld/Lehman Bros and Blankfien/Goldman Sachs on board

For background on Wall Street: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ozw-OKm5yE

What/whose Wall Street money would Dragas-Kiernan etal have in mind? Any strings?

And for what purposes?

2) It is still unclear to me: Did ALL 16 BOV members KNOW in advance that Dragas-Kington intended to force a Sullivan resignation in a meeting on 8 June? Dragas has said she let the governor know 2 days before....but was he already for some time in the know of the objective to fire her, and Dragas was just updating him as to the specific day of confrontation? When did the project to fire Sullivan start? WHEN?

I agree that FOIA needs to go back some months to 2011. Extensive further investigation is needed.

Have any state or Federal laws been broken?

3) The released emails include discussion on money management....anything here that we might be missing? Conflicts of interest? Violation of state or federal laws?

4) Is there any relationship between Governor Rick Perry's attack on Texas higher education and McDonnells/Dragas ? There are a similarities it would seem: packing university boards, firing presidents. The ideology of the attackers appears similar with respect to the arguments used and focus on "business models."

No I am not connected to Johns Hopkins nor Ed Miller but I have had a uniquely close view of recent history and am pained by the inaccuracies that have been left breathing, which led to the even more painful rupture in a community I hold dear.

Well Elizabeth I'm willing to be persuaded, but then why a surreptitious and precipitous Sunday afternoon dismissal with only 3 BoV members present? I would think that most leaders with good judgement and discretion would be able to anticipate the fallout from proceeding in that fashion. Let's allow for purposes of argument that replacing Terry Sullivan was a good move. Then we're still left with a rector who made a very damaging error that has cost UVa how much in actual expenses and lost donations? The savvy leader would have worked out a diplomatic "we're all pursuing new endeavors" solution that would have left Sullivan's dignity intact and not provoked the orange revolution that ensued.

People who make egregious, hubristic mistakes get canned, and Helen Dragas has shown herself the political savoir faire of a fish monger. For this reason alone I think she should resign, dynamically, if you will, in the best interest of UVa's future.

Elizabeth Mendenhall,

How can you possibly countenance removal of President Sullivan without the matter being taken up by the full board in open session? In fact, that should have been the last resort after several previous board meetings where the board discussed future plans with Dr. Sullivan. I am sure that had there been an irreparable rift Dr. Sullivan would have submitted her resignation. Instead Dr. Sullivan was told she was doing a good job and then blindsided by Degas and her cabal. The last thing Degas wanted was an open discussion by the full board.

Would you care to explain the wastage of endowment money spent at the direction of Degas on the Hill and Knowlton propaganda firm?

"Dragas has shown herself to have the...", rather. The embedded typo never fails.


I trust in God, human nature being what it is.

What checks and balances are you referring to? Specifically?

Are you the Elizabeth Mendenhall with the National Realtors group? Or? I recall an Ambassador Mendenhall but his daughter was named Anne, I believe.

As further data emerges from FOIA and other sources, the analysis should be sharpened and more will become clear one would hope. There is no rush, things will emerge.

Please sub "Dragas" for "Degas" in the above. I have a block even spelling the woman's name.

@EM - your husband from the Darden School, Intellectual Capital Manager? What is that anyway?

Do you have information that could help us understand why you are trying to rescue Dragas' reputation & Kiernan's? I am all ears. Any FOIA correspondence from May 3, 2012 through June 9, 2012. Do you know where we can get that information?

Dr. Robert Mendenhall, (wife Elizabeth). Dr. Mendenhall is President of the Western Governors' University (ONLINE).

See Huffington Post article by Dr. Mendenhall dated 5/2/2012 "Quality Higher Education Doesn't Need to Cost So Much"

Western Governor's University is an online university boasting about 32,000 students.

Dr. Robert W. Mendenhall is the President of Western Governors University, a nonprofit, online university with more than 32,000 students in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In the past several months, Dr. Mendenhall has been invited to the White House and the Senate to present the WGU model and show how WGU uses technology to change the way higher education is delivered. WGU offers more than 50 bachelors and masters degrees in the high-demand fields of business, information technology, K-12 teacher education, and health professions, including nursing.


@ Clifford, what do you think?

Miss Mendenhall-

Just how long have you been employed by the Dragon Lady's PR firm or are you her sister of the soppy letter in the Daily Progress?

Please identify yourself or stop posting. Holding your hands over your ears won't make the truth go away.

I will bet we don't hear from Elizabeth again.

Anybody spot "Strategic Dynamism" here:


Dear Elizabeth Mendenhall: here's the thing. "Emergency" has a meaning. You do not call an emergency meeting when there isn't one. Not one single thing relating to Sullivan's tenure couldn't have waited a few days. If you know of one, say say. If not: Helen Dragas is not an honorable person. The end.

Western Governor's University, from their website:

"How This Program Works
WGU offers degrees, not classes."

'nuff said.

I would love to be a fly on the wall at the Mendenhall house tonight! If my spouse ever attempted something of this nature - let's just say it would not be a happy 4th of July!

Going over to see what credible sources have posted on "Friends of the Academical Village".

I have been sitting here thinking about the events of the last several weeks and how they tie toether.

It finally came to me. We should, going forward, refer to the Erector Set as Derecho Dragas. She did, as much, if not more damage to our beloved part of the world as the storm did.

Let's hope she decides not to buy the farm in the area. Property values are down enough as it is!

None of those cited above is I. Having trouble with internet/ smart phone, and will try later.

Some of the greatest things I have learned from this fiasco is that the faculty at UVA is filled with genius talent. They have displayed such compassion to teach, share and learn about the facts behind what led to the demise of President Sullivan. And, they have supported President Sullivan. That spells volumes.

Still, Dragas must go; she is not credible, not a leader, and above all, she has put a shadow on the face of the University of Virginia. This may be the only time to implement Strategic Dynamism - get rid of her immediately!

Some should be one! sheesh!

Where does Western Governor's (online) University receive their funding? Acceptance rate? Cost? Graduation rate and employment rate?

Where does the funding come from for Michael Milkin's online educational endeavor, K12? You remember Mike, the guy indicted on 98 counts for racketeering and securities fraud. Bloomberg Business Week June 2, 2011, "Education According to Mike Milkin".

I do not understand why all these "philanthropists" are heavily investing in online education (federally funded student grants, loans etc.) Why they attended brick and mortar Ivy League colleges, yet, push online education? Why? The money to fund student's online higher education - for the most part - is coming from federally funded assistance.

Student loans cannot be forgiven so there is relatively no risk unless enrollment declines.

Has enrollment been declining at University of Phoenix or others? What's the graduation rate? What is the employment rate at graduation, at 30 days post graduation? What is the acceptance rate for every student who applies to the University of Phoenix?

Acceptance rate at each online university? What is being purchased with the student loan? Ipods? I don't know. Anybody?

A distinction must be made between the value of online ed vs. brick and mortar; particularly when it comes to higher education.

I'm astonished that Helen Dragas still heads the University of Virginia Board of Visitors after her extremely dishonorable coup attempt. She still wields control over certain UVA-connected foundation funds that are regarded as private, she still issues her pronouncements through official U.Va. channels. She still has a taxpayer funded staff who must obey her orders. The Governor has created a situation that calls for a serious response, the next time with the involvement of the returning students who must take matters into their own hands and send a resounding message that is sustained over several months that they will not allow the University of Virginia to become an instrument of the Governor's or Dragas' whim.

@globe - agreed. dishonorable Dragas should resign before there is more fall out.

Donors are changing their wills, students are confused, parents don't want to spend their money on a school that was run by a rogue quorum, Dragas, Kiernan, Kington. The quorum breached their fiduciary responsibility and 2 have resigned in disgrace. Dragas must join them to allow the BoV to move forward in support of President Sullivan. I expect no less!

UVA - I will always side with the academia over corporate governance when it comes to higher education. I see corporate influence as "strip mining".

Harvard and their endowment having a 5 year plan to get in, get out, of Africa. Once Harvard's $17.5 billion endowment has its' returns, who will see to it that Africa has benefitted? There just has to be some conscience oversight of these monies. Is this next for UVA. Pillage a 3rd world country for their greatest assets and then get out? No strategic plan. Just get in, get your money and get out?

No wonder the world looks at America as opportunistic narcissists.

I was under the impression that Elizabeth Mendenhall was either Dragas or her sister.


you should see other posts by ELIZABETH MENDENHALL via the Hook, Cavaliere Daily...she has a few students snowed but they don't know who she is.

Some gal, Corkie supports Elizabeth's claims. By the way, Elizabeth Mendenhall's claims are completely unfounded, and cloaked to support of Dragas based on who knows what? Personally, I prefer facts. Mendenhall claims she has all this insider information which can't be right if the FOIA applies to this situation.

If in fact Mendenhall has FOIA emails & such, she must disclose to the public; or the FOIA requests must be fulfilled in their entirety or the spirit of the law is no longer in tact.

FOIA: Mendenhall state she has information (maybe from May 3, 2012 through June 9, 2012).

FOIA laws are not singular, nor for the benefit of one person, like Mendenhall. Otherwise, the university and Dragas are subject to many HUGE lawsuits. Lawsuits that the university can ill afford.

Mendenhall has relations with: Governors Western University, an online school that is completely against higher education at "brick and mortar" schools. Why? Because their funding comes from student loans, and federal government, NOT to exceed 90 percent. What a sham!

Dragas will drag the Governor down down down.

Elizabeth Mendenhall has been completely discredited. I believe Corkie is an intern with Hall and Knowlton, the PR firm assigned to promoting Dragas' reputation. Not working. Have you Wiki'd Hall and Knowlton - not exactly the Public Relations firm I would have chosen. Hall & Knowlton are so controversial with respect to their relationship to the tobacco industry. Hall and Knowlton are responsible for leading America into believing they can SMOKE cigs and not get cancer. What has that cost America? Hall & Knowlton have their fingerprints on every digital component related to the Dragas/UVA Board - they have ghost postings on Facebook, and anything digital like this post. They have a contract, and they will attempt to promote Dragas or at least monitor the situation. Hill & Knowlton cannot win if they are up against the faculty. Hill & Knowlton may not offer as many paid internships next year to UVA but who cares except Dragas.

Why they continue to post, go figure. I believe their IQ's together would not meet triple figures. Hey, but I am just a mom of a UVA alumni!

I don't like it when a disguise such as EM, lies about herself once discovered...

Yet,based on her IP address - is related to someone from Dr. Bob Mendenhall's address. Dr. Bob Mendenhall is the CEO of Western Governor's University. The non-profit online business university that received the majority of its' funding from the tax payer.

It might be useful for "Elizabeth Mendenhall" to clarify who she or he is and their real verifiable name. Also the unique vantage point she or he claims to have of the UVA situatuation. Perhaps from Hill and Knowlton or ??? The main facts are clear: there was a group of persons who undertook a coup against President Sullivan and UVA. Some are known and some are not yet known.

Meanwhile, deomcracy got us thinking about the connection between the UVA scandal and the situation across the country. One interesting issue now seems to be the similarity between the attack on UVA by Governor McDonnell's forces and what Governor Perry has been up to in Texas.

So here is a preliminary sketch of the overall situation which Friends of the Academical Village posted today at academical-village.tumblr.com

I"n the aftermath of the attempted coup against President Sullivan it is clear that the University of Virginia became “ground zero” in the national higher education culture war.

Since the 1990s, right wing organizations have launched a culture war targeting higher education across the United States. These organizations want to place universities on a “business basis.” Thus the corporatization of the university opening the door for financial exploitation of academic institutions.

So far, in the discussion and analysis of the UVA crisis, several organizations and activists in the culture war have been identified. The list includes:

American Council of Trustees and Alumni - a Washington DC lobby with Anne Neal as president and Edward Meese III on the board.

Hoover Institution - California based think tank with Terry Moe and his colleague John Chubb at the forefront of education reform.

American Enterprise Institute - Washington DC based think tank with Neoconservative ideology. Frederick Hess and Richard Vedder.

Placing the UVA crisis in national context it is clear that the culture war has hit higher education in other states causing similar crises in universities across the country.

The most aggressive attack on higher education appears to be that of Governor Rick Perry of Texas. Governor McDonnell of Virginia may well have been inspired in part by his colleague Governor Perry. Perry’s attack caused prominent Texans to form their own organization to defend Texas.

The point of the spear with respect to Governor Perry’s policy is the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a right wing activist think tank. The chair of TPP, Wendy Lee Gramm, wife of former US Senator Phil Gramm, has links to the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia.

Concerned Texans formed the Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education to counter Governor Perry’s attack.


Virginians, it would appear, should take note of the situation in Texas. "

An interesting factoid in Mendenhall's first comment about Kiernan is that Dragas reached out to him on " the broader project of getting some invigorated Wall Street money interested in improving faculty compensation." Likely it was a structural change they had in mind, breaching an essential boundary. These donors are on an escalating ego bubble to not only put their own names on buildings and sports centers and pieces of sports centers, but on entirely new schools and institutes. Some attempts have been made in the past to get into faculty hiring & degree curriculum. That is the boundary the Wall Streeters likely had in the sights.

Back in 2000 Halsey Minor and two other donors proposed a "Digital Academical Village," both an infrastructure project an a multidisciplinary curriculum. Minor later cancelled and told Forbes Magazine that UVa was "run by a bunch of bow-tied Southerners." Why does this matter? Because what Minor wanted was to control faculty hiring and curriculum, presumably including the hottest of tripwires, tenure. The reason you have a board and committees and provosts and such is to insulate the administration of the university from the donors. Otherwise you end up with things like the Smithsonian's "Hall of Achievement" donor disaster. A slightly retrograde idea for the history museum became ridiculous when it turned out the $38m donor wanted to help choose the great Americans who would populate the hall. Likewise, museums and symphonies and theaters have structures to keep donors from choosing their own bohemian children as the new painters, composers and playwrights.

Jump forward a decade from the "Digital Academical Village" and the Wall Street boiler room / yoga studio / financial wizardry culture is more dug in than ever, has confidently survived unscathed the latest in an escalating series of fantastic blowups, and is again knocking at the door. All they ask is that you give up your place, your university, in trade for paying them a perpetual rent, and staying out of the parlor.

That is what "invigorated Wall Street money interested in improving faculty compensation" means.

Some of these hedge fund managers are skating on ice so thin it can't be reliably measured. I think what is in play here is the University's five billion dollar endowment.

Why didn't Dragas tap one of the supposedly wealthy donors for the propaganda effort rather than hit the endowment? Why didn't she pay for it herself? What do nine out of ten "property developers" like Dragas have in common? They are bankrupt.

This is 6th try @ posting,. If everything I can share is discounted as a lie then there is little value in struggling to post. I think that this is a forum that may foster negativity and suspect the worst under the guise of getting @ the truth. Sometimes a chair is just a chair, and there's nothing hidden under it.

Ms. Mendenhall, a chair is a chair except when Rector Dragas is sitting in it, then it is a conspiracy to take over the University of Virginia presidency. The conspiracy part comes in as a result of Ms. Dragas not actually sitting in her chair when she carried out her actions, that would have been on the record, she chose to carry it out in secret, ducking and weaving below the radar that is our public right to know what our public officials are doing in our name. When the scheme was uncovered and the coup failed due to overwhelming public opposition, even Dragas called it a "near-death" experience. Now Ms. Mendenhall you post here as her apologist?

If memory serves, CPA's are sworn not just to avoid a conflict of interest, but also the APPEARANCE of a conflict. This idea would be the best guidance for any person or organization which represents and relies upon the public trust. Violations occur not only because of deliberate agendas or individual acts of corruption, but also because actions or policy with wide ranging impacts on the constituency are pursued in a secretive manner and dispatched suddenly. While I personally believe the most generous characterization of Helen Dragas is that she is disingenuous, it would hardly matter if she was as pure in heart and mind as new fallen snow. It is the actions THEMSELVES which are disreputable, it is the imperious and indifferent conduct which breach the boundaries of trust, and of honor. No one really NEEDS emails or other substantive evidence of nefarious motives and conduct, for the actions taken and the results arising from them tell the story. We may never know, really, all that contributed to this debacle. But what we DO know is it could not possibly have been the consequence of good will and high moral character. It was something else. I don't need to know the chemistry and biological processes which give the rose its distinct fragrance. I need only to sniff. And the sniff test in this case leaves an impression of something vastly different from a rose. But of course, all the background and all the detail may help prevent a recurrence, and thus may be helpful. But we don't need it for proof, anymore than we need the weather maps to inform us that we recently experienced very bad weather.

As to Helen's appointment to another term, this appears to be imprudent, at best. But at least this empress has been stripped of her wardrobe, and people have a high index of suspicion about her motives and wide latitudes she navigates to have her way. From this point forward, everyone who endures her statements and claims will simply think, "Yeah, sure, whatever you say, Helen." Her credibility has evaporated. She is the figurehead at the bow of a ship; no one believes she has the capacity to steer it, and few would be likely to entrust the ship, its crew, passengers, and cargo to her.

Extremely good work here by Hook readers finding out EM.

@ lye:

Great post w/Smithsonian and w/Halsey examples, both of which I knew but had forgotten. Thanks.

7 world leaders were ousted in 2011.

I am sure each loved their countries but the people made their voices heard.

With regard to " the broader project of getting some invigorated Wall Street money interested in improving faculty compensation," it may be worth noting that because the Darden School has gone private/for profit? its faculty, unlike the rest at UVa, have not had their salaries frozen. It's hard to check because of course unlike other faculty at UVa their compensation is not a matter of public record so taxpayers don't have a clue.

No surprises here. It will be a big loss for UVa when Simon moves on, I can't imagine he will stay to work with Dregas.

Thomas Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Happy 4th of July!


Thank you for the information about the Texas Coalition for Higher Education.

Not surprised at all by Governor Rick Perry's lack of commitment to education.

Gov. Perry exposed his lack of intelligence during the Republican Presidential Debates.

Hey, this calm in the storm on the 4th of July does NOT mean we have thrown in the towel! Be ready for the next wave!

Online diplomas without classes. Discount education. Sounds like the 10 ounce pound of coffee we now have. Serious lack of respect for teachers. A rip off for students. Reduces the diploma to a mere consumer product. Maybe Amazon or Walmart could offer a degree.

@uva fan,

thanks. when democracy suggested we take a look at the national picture, I started looking around. Clearly there is a national culture war going on and Texas appears to be at the leading edge. I suspect McDonnell etal here in VA are influenced in part by what Perry the Texas Public Policy Foundation are up to. ACTA as another influence.

Today, the Washington Post on its National Page has a story about Sullivan crisis in national context. The Texas situation is mentioned.


One would hope at some point major media would focus on what the Washington DC lobby called American Council of Trustees and Alumni is up to nationwide. They supported the ouster of Sullivan and now say they will "laser focus" on UVA. Ed Meese III is a board member.

Given what we have just been through, and given the new UVA BOV situation, it is logical that there be some sort of very close BOV Watch by concerned citrizens. Every meeting will need careful monitoring.

Look at bill Hansen, on the curry board. Former lobbyist for apollo group and board member for educational corporation management (the group Anne Marie called attention to). Look at his contributions to Tom Luna in Idaho of all places. Look at proposed curry institute for innovation in education. Regarding Texas look at bobby jack perry and how much he has given to McDonnell and how linked he is to John nau, also on curry board.

The Post story linked to by Mr. Kiracofe ignores the evidence that McDonnell was behind the Sullivan coup and instead credits him with her re-instatement. That's a pretty outrageous twisting of the facts. Time is tight today and I don't have the time to register and correct the record there, but someone reading this might.

"At Virginia, the school’s Board of Visitors fired Sullivan in mid-June after she was on the job less than two years in a dispute over how to handle challenges ranging from state budget cuts to the ascendency of online learning. An outcry by students, faculty, alumni and even the state’s governor led the board to bring back Sullivan just two weeks later."

the link again:


Many thanks for research leads, we are not specialists in higher education policy so these really help. As everyone else, we are learning as we go on this...."lifetime learning".

It is clear that we will need full biographical data on each BOV member to include all political connections and activity such as donations. Given what we have just been through we need to "laser focus" as ACTA head Anne Neal says...but on each BOV member, and the minutes of each meeting, and any FOIA materials which may be appropriate.

Also relevant data on other members of the UVA community linked to the Dragas etal policy is essential to the overall analysis. The conections and activities of various board members relating to the various components of the University must be included as the Kiernan situation clearly poimts out.

As to ACTA, the required Internal Revenue 990 Forms for annual filing are at:


Ed Meese III is listed as a board member on the 2010 filing. We have not yet had time to tabulate and analzye all board membes listed since 1998. Prior to that the organization established in 1995 had a different name and that requires another search. Neal's salary in 2010 is listed in the $137,000 range. Researching contributors to ACTA requires different data which I believe is publicly available through other reporting requirements.


A former candidate for the positions of President and Provost at UVA just wrote a very significant analysis of the situation. She supports Sullivan and Simon strongly overall. However, what is also notable is her critique of the Ashtanga Yoga Center. She indicates this is not something to get UVA back up in rankings.


Friends of the Academical Village is developing a data base on the situation at UVA and relevant matters nationally. The blog site minimalist design has a good "Archive" feature so you do not need to scroll through the entire blog to find something of interest. Each posting is presented in the Archive with hyperlink.


Funny how everyone is now saying that U.Va. is no longer a top-flight institution. When did that happen? All the PR from the U. for the last 20 years is how we are constantly improving. Has this all been "puffing"? Has the intellectual rigor required to do well really declined? I find that hard to believe, particularly given how difficult it is now to obtain admission, at least to the undergraduate schools. But the Star article is right in one regard - a "Contemplative Sciences Center" does not add luster to the crown. While I do not denigrate the use of yoga in mental and physical health, it is hardly a panacea for the ills of man. Otherwise India would not have the massive problems it has. I would rather see big bucks spent on faculty salaries in the humanities and other neglected areas. And if I were to be in the market to employ someone I would rather hire a graduate who can write and reason well, i.e. an educated critical thinker, rather than a technician who thinks he/she knows a lot of "stuff."

Ms. Mendenhall,

Heywood Fralin made quite clear in his statement that Ms. Dragas did not speak for him. Further, two additional members of the Board were ambushed and led to believe they were facing a fait accompli. Two more members, the fourth and fifth, consider that material misrepresentations were made to them leading up to Ms. Dragas' fiasco. So, you may write as many times as you desire "that the Rector spoke for 16 members." However, she did not.

Mr. Fralin did not reference “unanimity,” “subtly” or not, in his statement. The word he used, “knew,” does not indicate unanimous support for Ms. Dragas' actions.

As for your assertion that Mr. Kiernan's e-mail referred to "invigorated Wall Street money" and his potential appointment to the BOV, it is laughable. If Mr. Kiernan writes that poorly and confuses different subjects so dynamically, he needs to consult a neurologist. The timing of his reply-all, "well in hand" email coupled with the rapidly following P.T. Jones op-ed of elation make your tale fantastical.

The problem with what has occurred has nothing to do with "the incorrect framing of this story." The problem is that incorrect behavior led to an incorrect outcome.

This on Hansen, from the NewYork Times:

"Mr. Romney’s campaign held an elaborate “policy round table” fund-raiser at a Washington hotel, featuring panel discussions run by lobbyists and former cabinet officials or members of Congress.

James Talent, a former senator who runs the lobbying and public affairs firm Mercury Public Affairs, led a panel on infrastructure, according to an invitation. William Hansen, a former deputy secretary of education who is president of the lobbying firm Chartwell Education Group, led the education panel."


bio data posted at academical-village.tumblr.com

thanks @curious!

Old Wahoo,


@ Old Wahoo

Maybe Contemplative Sciences is the next wave in education. Everyone can learn telepathically, thus no more expenses associated with the technology to deliver content online.


According to ProCon.org - Mitt Romney is the only person clearly FOR No Child Left Behind Act.

According to National Center for Youth Law (youthlaw.org) - "Recently released results from the 2008 administration of the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP)1 suggest that the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is failing to close the achievement gap between minority and non-minority students.

The results call into question whether NCLB, officially described as “An Act to Close the Achievement Gap,” is having its intended effect."

According to an official UVA release:

"The Joneses' initial inspiration for funding the center came as a result of their devotion to their Ashtanga yoga teacher, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, and a desire to honor his life and legacy, she said.

The Joneses added that, in the next five to 10 years, they would like to see U.Va. emerge as the world's center of thinking about how higher education, and society at large, can be transformed by contemplative and yogic practices, ideas and values"


Mrs. Jones has a business promoting high end for profit Ashtanga Centers: Islamorada, Florida; Greenwich, Conn,; Escondido, CA with more planned it appears. Linking the Ashtanga cult to UVA is a way to mainstream it and leverage PR for Mrs. Jones' business, arguably. The $12 million is in effect written off PR costs to promote the founder of Ashtanga and thus Sonia Jones' business it would seem.

UVA began a Tibetan Studies program way back in the 60s or 70s. It was an internationally recognized center of scholarly research, I believe.

Why not continue to build that program at UVA rather than promote the Ashtanga cult? Humor Jones for the Ashtanga as he dangles the $100 million ...for? The wonders of invigorating Wall Street whatever...what sort of due diligance was done on the Ashtanga thing one wonders.

@uva fan,

"As Deputy Secretary, Hansen functioned as Department's chief executive officer, managing 5,000 employees and overseeing an annual budget of $100 billion. He earned the highest ratings from the Office of Management and Budget for the effective implementation of President Bush's agenda, and was one of the architects of the No Child Left Behind Act.[1][3]

Following his government service, Hansen took a board seat with First Marblehead Corporation, a private student loan provider,[1][4] and he co-founded, with former U. S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige, the Chartwell Group[3] a company which, among other things, created and sold materials to assist schools in complying with the No Child Left Behind Act."

@ Zee Hall: "Everyone can learn telepathically"

You mean: can learn things other than Yoga (or "Contemplative Sciences") which will be "hands-on practice":


Kissing feet of the guru:

From Jois Yoga Greenwich (CT) Facebook page:

"Guru Purnima, the day we honour those we are fortunate enough call our teachers, fell on July 3rd, the birthday of Shri K. Pattabhi Jois, the guru of Ashtanga yoga. In Mysore we gathered together at the shala to celebrate both Guruji and his legacy. The tribute to Guruji began with a short talk from Sharath about the role of a guru, who, by direct translation of the word, is one that dispells darkness."

Gov McDonnell was at a SECRET political rally/fundraiser (go figure NO publicity) for Rep Hurt on Sat, July 30th . It was put on by Virginia Uranium (want to mine Uranium) and many of their investors, workers and supporters were present. There has been a TOTAL news blackout of this event in spite of MediaGeneral and other news folks being invited/present. WHY?

Isn't it time to either give back the John Paul Jones Arena to John Tudor Jones or sell it to the City of Charlottesville for $1. The University Hall is a perfectly suitable basketball venue for the school. And just refuse the absurd Yoga center farce altogether? These people degrade the University with their gifts and their presence.

from the FOIA emails in evidence --

Jeff Walker to Mark Kington (June 3):
"This ['online learning'] was the topic of a Jeffersonian Dinner we recently had in a Lawn Pavilion with John SImon, Mark Kington, David Germano, and other great thinkers."

"Jeff has been involved in a variety of mindfulness-based programs including the Mind Life Institute, co-created a Mindful Leadership course at UVA, has supported various programs at the Kripalu Yoga Center and is on Matthieu Ricard’s (Karuna-Shechen) Foundation Board for work in Tibet and Nepal. "

Walker and Depak Chopra

Pursue on with Walker and Chopra; Paul Jones and Chopra; Walker and Jones and Chopra and Anthony Robbins; and so on.

Deus meus! We are being overtaken by a cult of rich bozos! What next, The U.Va. Scientology Center for M-Grams?

Back in the 60s, the religion department I remember was diverse and contributed to my education. I took several courses. The course on Hinduism from Prof. Rao has served me
in good stead from my official travels to India back when to recent visits to India. In India, I meet with academics, military, diplomats and so on from various faiths: Hindu, Muslim, Sikh.

In a recent visit to India, I met colleagues in Chandigargh who teach at Punjab University. Other colleagues came from Kashmir, Amritstar, and other locations in the north to meet. It was interesting to me that they all commented that it was very rare that an American professor came to visit that region. If UVA had an interest in India per se, there is a huge amount that could be done. And with China also.

No doubt there are alumni with considerable knowledge of India and China who could contribute to serious progarms.

But this level of interaction is not, apparently, within the ken of the Wall Street nouveaux riche of Greenwich who seem to have "projects" for UVA. They may have B-school degrees and a wad but so what?

Please check the date as it is important. July or June 30th 2012

Mr. Kiracofe: We certainly could use more folks who have knowledge about India, Hinduism, China, etc. When we were in school there was little on any Eastern subject available. I did not know about Mr. Rao. I guess I was too busy to explore a lot of departments outside of history - to my great regret I might add. When I was in the Navy I found that there were not nearly enough folks who really knew much about or appreciated the history and culture of even our allies, let alone our enemies. The U. S has always suffered, I believe, from a lack of "standing in the other man's shoes" and from a lack of "human intelligence" in the sense that the CIA and State Department would use that term. I was lucky in that my U.Va. education led me to continue educating myself about other countries and cultures. But your are right that the proposed "projects" don't fill that void.


In Colorado several of the abandoned unanium mines there have huge mounds of tailings that have to be sprayed with giant sprinklers to try and reduce the amount of uranium dust that gets into the air. They are Superfund clean-up sites that no one has figured how to clean-up. Uranium mining would be a disaster for Virginia.

Of course the term "opportunistic whore" does not begin to describe our governor. He apparently will sell out any thing, any body, any school, at any time for personal gain.

Old Wahoo,

Quite agree. From a national standpoint, during the Cold War Era the concept of "Area Studies" was developed and with Federal assistance "Area Studies Centers" were established at various universities in the US. They were interdisciplinary so you would have language/culture, history, political science, sociology, anthropology and so on focusing on say East Asia or South Asia or Russia. Students in these centers then could move on to graduate school, a job in government or in the civilian sector, and so on.

I was the graduate student assistant to the Director of the Russian and East European Studies Center at UVA, for example. This helped me in my career.

A serious approach to say, India, would be to strengthen a "South Asian Studies Center."

After the Cold War, the area studies centers were precipitously de-funded. Thus, the US national ability to educate cadres of students who could move into government, for example, in an areas studies mode was undermined completely. Without this pipeline into graduate studies and then to government our overall national security has been impaired. The gutting of HUMINT at CIA by Schlesinger did not help either to put it mildly.

We have one of the maximum world experts on China on our facutly. How about major funding to build up East Asia studies?

Let's look at it another way. Students graduating today are going to face a world in which India and China will be very influential. Five centuries of domination of Asia by the white race is over now. India and China are coming back to the positions they occupied 500 years ago as the most powerful economies in the world. The US .... well... we just blew 5 trillion on an unnecessary war of choice in Iraq/Afghanistan.

Ashtanga Yoga and some B-school degrees in finance are not going to deal with this...

There seems to be an underlying profit motive for Hansen and the Jones'. Are there no conflict of interest laws that govern school board members (ie. Curry School & Hansen)?

You guys are making the case for the BOV's discontent. A $100M gift needs to be steered toward something like a faculty salary initiative.


You noted that Media General was part of the secret fundraiser sponsored by Virginia Uranium for Rep. Hurt. on June 30, 2012

Until June 25, 2012, Media General Board member, is Republican House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor's wife Diane.

Wikipedia: "Diane Cantor, the wife of House Majority Leader, Republican Eric Cantor, sits on Media General's Board of Directors, RTD's former parent company.[2] Because the paper serves much of the congressman's 7th district, some controversy over coverage is noted, but generally dismissed as there is no evidence that she is involved in the paper's content at all. Also, her association with the paper is noted at the end of any Times-Dispatch story about Rep. Cantor. On May 17, 2012 Media General announced it was selling its entire newspaper division, expect properties in Florida such as the Tampa Tribune, to Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary BH Media. Because of this sale, which closed on June 25 2012, Diane Cantor no longer has any connection to the former Media General newspapers."

@Outragedalumna . The date of June 30th (last Saturday) is correct.

Taking into consideration Ashtanga Yoga centers, online education obsessions, elimination of German and Classics, jumpy BOVs, and all the rest we are learning about one wonders about UVA.
The University may need to develop a clearer vision of what it is that it does and where it is headed. Perhaps a deep breath (even yogic) is needed.

Presumably this is, in part,what President Sullivan and the Provost are working on.

Hopefully, they can dialogue in a civil manner with BOV and BOV can dialogue with them in a civil manner and thus something good for the University can emerge. Hidden agendas and extremist ideological blinders on the part of certain BOV types is "unhelpful." The academic types and the business types MUST reach a level of understanding in the interest of the University.

IMO, this development of a vision and effective stratetgy should be in the context of the present state of the world and where it might be headed We are trying to prepare students for their futures and for democratic citizenship at home within a now globalized world. This must be done in the context of the core values of the University which are "Jeffersonian". UVA has a unique heritage and the entire Academical Village, to include BOV, has a great stewardship responsibility in this regard.

Are salaries the real issue? Yes, no, sort of?

Throwing money at salaries may not be a cure-all if it is not related to a broader vision. The overall approach needs to be thought out carefully and "incremental" management strategy appears warranted. And again, the broader vision needs to be "Jeffersonian" in character and thus suit our unique institution and traditions.

In the globalized world which is upon us, strong and vibrant multidisciplinary/interdisciplinary areas studies programs, based in A&S are, for one thing, essential IMO. Thus money to strengthen these programs to include salaries but also to include other elements such a Library resources, IT, and so on may be advisable. These area studies programs can be linked creatively to Law, Business, Engineering, Medicine. Students from outside A&S can benefit. Protecting and strengthening Humanities should be a fundamental goal. Humanities are the heart and soul of Mr. Jefferson's University.

@ uva fan,

I am wondering the same thing. Given what we are learning, this would be an important matter to address. Conflict of interest situations would be hard to detect if, as some have said, B-school salaries to include outside consulting fees are not subject to public inspection. This is PUBLIC university, how can that exception to disclosure be legal? Do e-school professor do outside consulting which is not subject to public inspection? Also, are B-school and E-school professors required to report/disclose outside income to the Deans?

@MB, good stuff. I am told that the Ascended Masters frown on Ashtanga. No clear light there...

David Germano has been quite quiet throughout this Sullivan v. Dragas/Jones mêlée:

Does the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 apply to school boards, BoV?

Wikipedia: Ethics in Government Act: "Title I Requires men and women in the public service sector to fill out financial disclosure forms which include the sources and amounts of income, gifts, reimbursements, the identity and approximate value of property held and liabilities owed, transactions in property, commodities, and securities, and certain financial interests of a spouse or dependent."

Thank you for sharing the youtube link. Maybe David Germano should lead the University of Virginia into the next 100 years? Sheesh! I believe we are on the 14 Dalai Lama?

I enjoy Yoga ($5 mat classes), and learned to meditate online.

There is no way a prospective UVA student will use the Yoga center as a deciding factor. Bonus, sure, but like another person on one of these threads stated, "contemplative sciences" will not improve UVA ranking.

All taxpayers and UVa alumni/donors and VA regulatory authorities should scrutinize the real estate transactions in regards to "Featherridge." I don't know -- does anyone? -- if the ownership interests in the estate passed from John Kluge (and Maria Kuttner) to UVa along with other known and generous donations, and if so, what stipulations might apply to which beneficiaries.

@uva fan

Earlier in discussion, I indicated that McDonnell embodies the "Dominionism" Christian Fundamentalist ideology which has taken over a good chunk of the Republican Party and its base. The Tea Party is divided between the Dominionists and the Ron Paul Libertarians.

Cantor represents the "Neoconservative" ideology which permeates Republican Party policy and Lieberman type Dems.

Cantor was pushed up the ladder in the House by Roy Blunt (R-MO) then Congressman now US Senator . Blunt is a Dominionist type. The Dominionist-Neoconservative alliance is rarely commented on. But we can see it symbolized in: McCain (Neocon)-Lieberman (Neocon)-Lindsay Graham (Dominionist), for example.


So why doesn't Larry Sabato explain things like this? Someone just told me he lives in a Pavillion on the Lawn or some such??? How much does he make? And he likes Atkinson?

"Ashtanga Goes McYoga with Millionaire-backed Chain Expansion"

"Among his followers, Mr Jois inspired a cultish devotion. But his students were not unaware of their teacher’s contradictions. What had happened, for example, to the yogic principle of ahimsa, non-violence? A good number of Mr Jois’s students seemed constantly to be limping around with injured knees or backs because they had received his “adjustments”, yanking them into Lotus, the splits or a backbend. And what about the yogic principle of brahmacharya, sexual continence? Women followers, it was said, received altogether different adjustments from the men. Most mysteriously, why had Mr Jois himself apparently stopped practising his sort of yoga decades ago? Was that another instance of the wisdom of the East?"

"What Ashtangis can learn from the Anusara scandal"

@UVA Board of Visitors: I do not want donors influencing public education like the Jones'. This is WRONG! I do not want a cult-like mentality at UVA. I want open education from the thought leaders - the University's faculty. Not some cult!

@MB - Yoga cult-like mentality - "..cult ... refers to a new religious movement or other group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre.[1]" - Wikipedia. Just what I want for UVA. This can be practiced on your free time; not the tax dollar.

The FOIA emails effuse enthusiasm from Jeff Walker for that Sebastian Thrun video on "Higher Education 2.0":

Maria Furtwängler introduces. She's one of the celebrity faces of yoga in Germany. Married to a much older and very wealthy man.

Sponsors the Chopra foundation along with some others.


It is a testament to both the power of Ashtanga Yoga and to Guruji as a teacher that so many in the Jois Family have chosen to take on the responsibility of its continued transmission.

Hubert Burda on behalf of Dr. Maria Furtwängler

@ HOOK -- Article idea: Selling UVA, a public school.

@mb - Which Yoga school of thought is being sued right now?

@Larry Sabato: twitter 6/25/2012 quote: "ambiguity & golden silence are your friends when things are going your way..." - I do not like that the BoV, Governor McDonnell, and Dr. Sullivan are silent right now.

Should we be quiet just for Larry Sabato?

The Yoga Bums
The West beats a path to a guru's door
August 14, 2000


"[...]and they were considering the
implications for their conjugal life of the practice of brahmacharya,
or sexual self-control, as described in Jois's book "Yoga Mala,"
which has recently been published in English. ("Yoga Mala"
proscribes sex at any time other than between the fourth and the
sixteenth days of a woman's menstrual cycle. It also says that
sex during the day is a very bad idea. Sex at night is a good
idea only if the man happens to be breathing through what yogis
consider his nighttime nostril--the one on the left--rather than
through his daytime nostril. The book cautions that if one should
find oneself breathing through the nighttime nostril during the
day, it should not be considered an excuse for a daytime quickie."

"The specific series of Ashtanga postures is said to have been depicted in an
ancient manuscript made from leaves that Krishnamacharya found
in Calcutta's library after being directed there by his yoga guru
in the early nineteen-hundreds. The original manuscript no longer
exists--it was, Jois says, eaten by ants--and opinions vary as
to whether there ever was, in fact, such a manuscript. (A recent
book published in India suggests that many yoga asanas bear a
striking resemblance to the poses seen in British calisthenics,
which were imported during the colonial period.)"

@MB - Women associated w/ UVA should be outraged!

It's all about DEATH, TAXES and unforgivable STUDENT DEBT! Why do you think all these investors are flocking to online universities and promoting them as the "future"!

if Intellectual Property has no value (Sebastian Thrum), why offer classes at the highest ranking Universities in the United States? Sebastian Thrum wants to create online value for free today; charge tomorrow?

Student debt is the same as SECURED DEBT to the WALL STREET investors!
Academia please wake up to the fact that this has nothing to do with teaching - only funding education! Funding Funding Funding from the Federal government in the form of STUDENT LOANs that will never be forgiven! Not even in bankruptcy!

Is anyone listening?

Sebastian Thrum's form of FREE online education is really a communistic approach - FREE FREE FREE and controlled by one entity, Udacity. He He He will reap the benefits - eventually. What good is that approach to the United States of America? NONE!

"trust myself, trust my intuition" - Jones quote, really? I do not believe in this at all. my instinct tells me to RUN as fast as I can from UVA!

"nothing should bother me" according to Yogi master, really? on what universe. Poverty bothers me, the Wall Street GREED bothers me, bullies bother me, United States VETERANS coming home without jobs or healthcare bothers me. I am not going to think this way, not ever!

Jones - send some of this grand funding to help returning veterans. YOU MAKE ME SICK!

if all funding and monies were removed from UVA Board Members Qualifications, who would stand on educational degrees and intelligence only?

@Qualification for UVA Boards - laughable at best. This is why we need the faculty to be on the board, at least 5 members from the faculty. There is absolutely NO balance on the BoV. Money talks, intelligent professors just watch.

and next time I need research/study or recommendation regarding commercialized Public Universities, UVA may not be the University to seek guidance from...maybe I need to do a few downward dogs and contemplate on the situation at hand?

this entire mess is due to Dragas, Jones', Kiernan et al. Their ick factor combined has probably dragged UVA down another few spots. So, for the record, do not blame President Sullivan. Sullivan was actually acting on behalf OF and FOR the university!

UVA BoV is filled with Narcissistic Profiteers who want to use the University of Virginia Brand to promote their endeavors. This is wrong. Notify me when things change and maybe I will donate again.


Good stuff. It is ironic that the Economist published a sardonic piece on Ashtanga given the Economist is a B-school basic.

I note that the actress Paltrow is on the board of Jones' Robin Hood Foundation where we also find Kiernan. An Ashtanga network in high places?


I would emphasize that our University has a world class Tibetan Studies program which began back in the 1970s. This is an internationally recognized and respected scholarly center. It is a valuable part of UVA. Given the rise of China over the past several decades and the sensitive internal issues in China which include the Tibet situation, authentic scholarship on Tibet certainly is valid and important.

The religion in Tibet is Buddhism.

Ashtanga yoga is associated with Hinduism in India. Ashtanga appears to have been an idiosyncratic outgrowth of the19th and early 20thy century yoga school sponsored by the ruler of Mysore, India. This outgrowth was commercialized in the US in the 1970s.

The imposition of the Ashtanga cult on UVA must pose a range of problems for our Religion Department, to say the least.

For data on our scholarly Tibet Center see:


UVA also had a fine teacher of Hinduism and interfaith studies in Prof. K.L. Sashegiri Rao, now emeritus I believe. I took his Hinduism class and it was excellent and helped me in life.

The Ashtanga cult thing is anomalous to UVA's academic tradition.

Kauffman Foundation's Carl Schramm at UVA B-School. Foundation appears to advocate "business model" for K-12 and higher education: Any data or insights?

"Carl J. Schramm, Ph.D.

Hailed as the “evangelist of entrepreneurship” by The Economist, Carl Schramm leads America’s largest foundation dedicated to advancing entrepreneurial success. He is recognized as one of the world’s foremost thinkers on the role and importance of entrepreneurship to a nation’s economic stability and growth. In 2007, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez tapped Schramm to chair the Department of Commerce’s Measuring Innovation in the 21st Century Economic Advisory Committee. Schramm’s recent books, Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism, with Robert Litan and William Baumol, and The Entrepreneurial Imperative, are regarded as emerging classics, providing new insight into the American and international economies. Trained as an economist and lawyer, with experience in business, public policy and academia, Schramm has led the Kauffman Foundation to develop innovative programs aimed at transforming entrepreneurship education, the technology transfer process, the availability of seed capital for entrepreneurs, and economic research. He has been a professor at The Johns Hopkins University, an executive in the health insurance industry, and the cofounder and founder of a number of companies in the health care finance and information technology areas. He is a Batten Fellow at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and the 2005 recipient of the University of Rochester’s George Eastman Medal. Mr. Schramm’s work has appeared in publications including Foreign Affairs, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Newsweek, and Inc. “


Say Amen somebody.


National Research Council Report to Congress on Public Research Universities

Released 14 June 2012 President Sullivan confronted on 8 June.

Ultimately I just want to see all this wrapped up so that no one feels the need to type "hubris," "hubristic" or "follow the money" ever again.

thank goodness the students of UVA - They are still wanting answers via FACEBOOK!

The FOIA should not discriminate. There should be a full disclosure of events from May 3, 2012 through June 8, 2012. WHERE ARE THESE DOCUMENTS?

sjones still haunts us, as UVA fan now. Don't you claim to be lawyer? You certainly aren't a very good one if you can't understand that the Virginia Freedom of Information Act does discriminate by design. It only applies to Virginia residents. You also seem incapable of understanding the rest of the act too. Or did you neglect to read it?

"By enacting this chapter, the General Assembly ensures the people of the Commonwealth ready access to public records in the custody of a public body or its officers and employees, and free entry to meetings of public bodies wherein the business of the people is being conducted."

"Except as otherwise specifically provided by law, all public records shall be open to inspection and copying by any citizens of the Commonwealth during the regular office hours of the custodian of such records."

Any Virginia resident can request to view or make copies of records held by a public body. The act in no way obligates the body to publish that information for the general public or to provide information to a non resident nor does it require the recipient of any information to share it.

If you are a Virginia resident and you want documents, get off your butt and ask for them, you don't need this or any other paper to do it for you, you don't need any fancy paperwork, and you don't even need to cite the act when you make a request. If you aren't a resident, sorry but the act does discriminate against you and you are flat out of luck. Whining will accomplish nothing either way!

McDonnell has appointed Carly "Demon Sheep" Fiorina (Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate from California '10), and the Executive Director of the Republican Party of Virginia, Dave Rexrode, to the Board of Visitors of JMU.


Me thinks there's an agenda beyond the hoo d'etat.


Looking at some of the players, and patterns we find:

"A Koch Industries PAC has also donated $5,000 to Fiorina, and the company was among the sponsors of a Washington fundraiser for her Thursday night."

Frank Atkinson on Merctus Center Board at George Mason with Charles Koch.

Ed Meese III on Mercatus board and also on the board of the grandiosely styled American Council for Trustees and Alumni which has attacked UVA and President Sullivan.

Wendy Lee Gramm (wife of former Senator Phil Gramm) who heads Texas Public Policy Foundation which is at the forefront of the attack on higher education in Texas has a position at the Mercatus Center.

McDonnell to the Koch Republican party pow wow in San Diego and Romney bash in Utah two weeks after Sullivan ousted.

Consider this report:

"Yesterday, ThinkProgress highlighted reports from the St. Petersburg Times and the Tallahassee Democrat regarding a Koch-funded economics department at Florida State University (FSU). FSU had accepted a $1.5 million grant from a foundation controlled by petrochemical billionaire Charles Koch on the condition that Koch’s operatives would have a free hand in selecting professors and approving publications. The simmering controversy sheds light on the vast influence of the Koch political machine, which spans from the top conservative think tanks, Republican politicians, a small army of contracted lobbyists, and Tea Party front groups in nearly every state.

As reporter Kris Hundley notes, Koch virtually owns much of George Mason University, another public university, through grants and direct control over think tanks within the school. For instance, Koch controls the Mercatus Center of George Mason University, an institute that set much of the Bush administration’s environmental deregulation policy. And similar conditional agreements have been made with schools like Clemson and West Virginia University. ThinkProgress has analyzed data from the Charles Koch Foundation, and found that this trend is actually much larger than previous known....."

According to the emails in the 5 July release:

One June 1, Sullivan advises Dragas that the National Research Council report to CONGRESS on Public Research Universities will be released 14 June. The BOV is scheduled for a retreat 13-14 June. Sullivan indicates she will get copies for BOV after the release.

The National Research Council Report I noted above was generated in response to a BIPARTISAN (repeat that) requested from Congress about the situation in higher ed and how national policy should deal with it. READ THE REPORT! (I know I am shouting, and I am).

The National Research Council Report calls for federal-state-university-business cooperation. But not in the way the extremists attacking the University would like. Read the report and compare...

If I were playing real hard ball, and I knew this report would hit June 14 and BOV would get immediate copies, and I knew this would cut against "the project", I would move to oust Sullivan prior to June 14. She was confronted on 8 June and resigned 10 June. Four days before BOV could have been apprised of the NRC study and had copies in their hands to consider.

Any serious player in DC and nationally in higher ed policy would have known the National Research Council Report to Congress was coming 14 June. Dragas as a real estate developer I do not believe on her own could have figured all this out. It would seem to me that serious players were guiding Dragas, rather than her dreaming this up on her own. Even Kiernan and Jones would have needed some guidance I think from "advisors" so far unknown.

Looking at the national scene, the complex of culture war orgs against higher ed seems somehow to have been behind the scenes here. Koch brothers, Mercatus Center, Manhattan Institute, Kauffman Foundation, Texas Public Policy Forum, etal.

The pattern of Governor Perry's attack on higher education in Texas appears not unlike what McDonnell and company are doing in Virginia.

I heard this interview this morning which gives the reasoning behind why we just can't move on at 12:05. http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/worldservice/bizdaily/bizdaily_20120...

Clifford K.

You are connecting many dots in the shadow operations of these functional psychopath's. I hope the Hook will allow this blog to continue so that we may all remain focused. These people are termites and need to be stopped.

@Clifford, very perceptive, thanks for your efforts.

Has anyone connected the dots among the recipients of Kiernan's infamous email?They are all listed in the July 2 FOIA release. From what I understand, he replied to all from another email, which is why Teresa Sullivan was on his list (brilliant move, wonder who leaked it). It looks like some more recipients might have been added to the original bunch.

Following the "cc" is the email address annie.morris@governor.virginia.gov that predictable belongs to someone named Annie Morris who is a legislative liaison for the Secretary of Commerce and Trade. Her official page is here. http://tinyurl.com/anniemorris

All I can find out about Morris is that she has recently been accepted into the Sorensen Institute's Emerging Leaders Program Class of 2012. Her inclusion on Kiernan's list of recipients strikes me as odd and maybe revealing. I don't know of what though. The list following the cc also includes Loretta Cronk who works in the Office of the University President, so it is possible that all recipients were from an unthinking reply all.

WashingtonPost, Post Local, Virginia Politics
How much do you know about Va. governors?
By Anita Kumar

"Nine Virginia Governors gathered Tuesday for the 2012 Sorenson Institute for Political Leadership Gala in Richmond. From left, Linwood Holton, Charles Robb, Gerald Baliles, Douglas Wilder, George Allen, James Gilmore, Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, and current Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. (Dean Hoffmeyer - AP) They gathered together Tuesday night in Richmond.

Virginia’s nine living governors told old stories, boasted about their legacies and poked fun at each other. And they joked about why there are so many of them: Virginia is the only state where governors can’t succeed themselves.

Linwood Holton led what he called a “parade of has-beens” that included Charles S. Robb, Gerald Baliles, L. Douglas Wilder, George Allen, James S. Gilmore III, Mark R. Warner, Timothy M. Kaine and the current governor — not quite a has-been — Robert F. McDonnell.

The Governors Gala event, sponsored by the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, took place in front of an audience of hundreds — a who’s who of the state’s political community.

The elite group of governors is comprised of five Democrats and four Republicans, including rivals in one of the nation’s most high-profile Senate races this year: Allen and Kaine, who used their turn at the podium to give what sounded a bit like stump speeches.

The list also includes the nation’s first elected black governor, three U.S. senators, two possible vice presidential candidates and several who wanted to be president. (Doesn’t every governor?)

See how well you know the nine living men who’ve led Virginia since 1970 — take our quiz:..."


Thanks for the kind words and encouragement @Ice Pick and @Mike. @democracy and others really got me thinking about the national dimension through posts on these threads.

I am completely outraged by this situation and as I am semi-retired I have a little spare time for some projects with friends.

We are doing what we can at Friends of the Academical Village for research into and documentation of this situation.

I did not yet mention that President Sullivan IS ON THE NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL COMMITTEE THAT PREPARED THE REPORT FOR CONGRESS. (emphasis on purpose). Think about that.

I will post an op-ed piece I have written early next week.


typo, it's academical-village.tumblr.com
forgot the hyphen

Fralin: "As I have previously stated, I do not agree and have never been presented with facts that in my opinion justify asking for the resignation of President Sullivan."

Elizabeth Mendenhall: “What 3 others are on the record as actually saying…is that they did not have a lot of advance knowledge of this plan, and that is true. But when apprised several days beforehand, they supported it.

You purport, Ms. Mendenhall, that three members of the BOV “did not have a lot of advance knowledge”; however, when offered information, later “supported it”.

Ms. Mendenhall, please re-read the Fralin quote above, with particularly emphasis on the words “have never been presented with”. Once re-read, please help readers like me understand how it may be reasonably construed that Fralin at any juncture or for any reason supported the ouster of President Sullivan?

You go on to say that “No I am not connected to Johns Hopkins nor Ed Miller but I have had a uniquely close view of recent history and am pained by the inaccuracies that have been left breathing, which led to the even more painful rupture in a community I hold dear.”

One might be reasonably led to wonder just what constitutes this “uniquely close view of recent history” and purported “inaccuracies”. Might it be reasonable to wonder if perhaps this view (and voluminous comments reflecting same) is little more than contrived and thinly-veiled efforts on the part of a firm engaged for the singular purpose of deflecting fault away from Dragas, et. al.?

It would seem from the last part of your statement, re: “…the painful rupture in a community I hold dear…” that readers should somehow be persuaded that your defense waged on behalf of Dragas is borne only of a deep, abiding and sincere concern for “your” beloved community.

Please refer back to two paragraphs above.

In a later comment, Ms. Mendenhall, you go on to say “You guys are making the case for the BOV's discontent. A $100M gift needs to be steered toward something like a faculty salary initiative.”

Valiant attempt, Ms. Mendenhall, though not well-played.

Not surprisingly, following The Dragas Debacle (caps intended), both you and Dragas make (again) only thinly-veiled attempts to deflect fault and, in this instance, curry favor with faculty. How? By attempting to make it appear that Dragas has only the best intentions at heart with regard to faculty, and in particular, to faculty compensation.

Mayhaps this is because Dragas vastly and severely underestimated both the power and support of Sullivan by the faculty. One has only to witness the cohesive message, public support, and outcry for Sullivan levied by the Faculty Senate. Once Dragas realized her error in judgment in this regard, she now attempts to assuage the concerns of the Senate by re-directly attention to issues of their compensation, vainly hoping such action might help to mollify this constituency.

The faculty are far and way not that dim, Ms. Mendenhall; you and Dragas give them far too little credit.

Paraphrased from Sun Tzu’s Rule One of the Art of War: Know your enemy.

Ms. Mendenhall, what say you since your last post on July 5 at 5:45pm?

Why would Ms. Mendenhall post early and often with a first and last name? I feel some want their name associated with their post for various reasons. Usually if you want to remain anonymous you choose some nic like anyhoo.

Ms. Mendenhall was a fraud. She was previously linked to Darden School's Intellectual Capital Manager, and Western Governor's University. She has not been heard from since her excuses that her iphone and internet were not working. We have given her a few days. Her latest posting on the 5th of July was probably her last. She is clearly supporting Dragas' position and could no long support her statements on this post. That is why there is silence. AND, because you all are brilliant. Thank goodness for the intellectuals associated with UVA! We LOVE UVA. Dr. Kiracofe, et al, we are so appreciative of you clear and coherent reasoning! Thank you, Mary Louise

...corrections: because "you are all brilliant", and "appreciative of YOUR clear and coherent reasoning"...

many thanks to those of us just observing...many thanks!

hhmmm...did the BoV cause some movement by Sullivan to push online options here or already planned?


I'm doubting the value in spending energy on this, but here's a last shot. When I visit this webpage my Droid is thrown into Data Synching mode, which is disturbing from a privacy standpoint and interrupts the functionality. Doesn't happen at any similar webpages.

I've shared what I witnessed, and opinion where I've indicated. What I know is that, while you may not concur with the assessment that led to the Board's request for Sullivan to resign, it was their right to choose that option rather than voting to terminate her with 12 votes. The Commonwealth Attorney's office guided the protocol of meeting notification and quorums and participation, and while you may not have liked the process used, it is the one available at this time.

In the run-up to meeting with the president/rector/v-rector, Heywood Fralin said only that he "had not had adequate interaction with the president to form a judgment." He did not suggest that the others reconsider their position, or delay the request for resignation, nor did he even say that this was a bad plan. What he said 2 weeks later does not change that fact, nor does it contradict what I'm telling you. They all knew what was going to be asked of Sullivan, when and how. It was deemed preferable to seek her resignation than to take those 12 initial votes to a meeting to terminate her, with or without those last 4 visitors.

Three visitors lent their support to the resignation, and later decided that they favored reinstatement, a perfectly human change of heart. At the time when plan was in motion, there was nothing other than support vocalized by them.

You may not agree with the BOV assessment of Sullivan. You may not like the method by which they sought to remove her. Doesn't mean that is was done surreptitiously. That the BOV voted to reinstate her is not dishonorable, either.

I find it fascinating that there about 10 posters here who are convinced that certain people are (always) lying, yet unwilling to accept that others might (ever) be. Why is it so hard to believe that the Board is primarily concerned about faculty pay? Why would you think that this is a divisive issue? Why should Heywood Fralin have more credibility than any other single visitor? Why is any poster whose view doesn't line up with yours discounted as professional PR? How have you arrived at your lie detectors, on this anonymous and unreliable internet?

I picked a name I'd wished I'd been given when I was a kid the first time I posted here, and stuck with it. I'm sorry to see people spending time tilting at windmills. I don't know any enemies, but when the truth is simple it is sometimes tossed for something more dramatic. The biggest take-away from seeing the reality of a situation to reading about in the media is to use care with everything I read now. And, that I think I've get one heck of book when the time is right!

@EM You do seem intent on making the failed coup seem like a perfectly reasonable and thought through plan signed off by all members of the BoV, but how is it that all of a sudden faculty salaries become a reason to call an emergency session? And if that were the case why did the faculty refuse to go along with this action in their best interest?

I find it rather frightening that the "Commonwealth Attorney's office" was involved. Does EH mean the Attorney General's office or does she mean the Commonwealth Attorney's office in Albemarle County? Either way it seems to me to be very, very political. The Board has its own attorneys, does it not? If not, then can't it hire independent counsel? Why should the local prosecutor be involved? Is this payback for the U's refusing to hand over materials that Cuccinelli wanted, a refusal that, i understand, was upheld by the Va. Supreme Court? If so, it bodes ill for the U. Maybe EH, who seems to have a great deal of inside knowledge (I trust she is not an Asst. C.A. who is violating her oath of office), might enlighten us about this matter. The whole affair continues to stink to high heaven.

This is my column this week for the Global Times (Beijing), an English Language newspaper with online website. I will do another higher ed piece down the road.


We have UVA alumni working in China and UVA students studying there. .

The online edition is read internationally.

Thank you for your detailed response, Ms. Mendenhall. Please allow me to respond to your post with my own comments inserted.

“When I visit this webpage my Droid is thrown into Data Synching mode, which is disturbing from a privacy standpoint and interrupts the functionality. Doesn't happen at any similar webpages.” (It is curious indeed that you encounter issues with your Droid yet, miraculously and upon challenge, you are able to post at length once again. Seems you also harbor some concern about the privacy of this webpage; perhaps casting some veiled aspersions and warning to others to be needlessly fearful of this site?)

“I've shared what I witnessed…” (Are we to understand that you are in some manner an insider that has personally witnessed certain events surrounding Sullivan’s ouster? Pray tell…) “…while you may not concur with the assessment that led to the Board's request for Sullivan to resign, it was their right to choose that option rather than voting to terminate her with 12 votes.” (It was indeed the right of the BOV to choose to take the action they did. The adage remains: Simply because one can do something does not mean that they should.)

“The Commonwealth Attorney's office guided the protocol…” (Ms. Mendenhall, methinks you need to be more attentive to details—especially and including important details such as distinctions between the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office and the Attorney General’s office—two separate and distinct entities with vastly different spheres of authority. In the instant case, the (local) Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office had no bearing whatsoever on the events surrounding Sullivan’s departure or reinstatement. Instead, it was the (state) Attorney General’s office that weighed-in to allow Dragas, et. al. to move forward with their ill-advised plan, offering their legal blessing. Again (and at the very least), if you assert to have “witnessed” these machinations from any vantage point other than a bystander like most readers here, one must question your assertion—especially if you are unaware of the difference between the Commonwealth’s Attorney office and the Attorney General’s office.)

“It was deemed preferable to seek her resignation than to take those 12 initial votes to a meeting to terminate her, with or without those last 4 visitors. “ (And why, pray tell, might those last four visitors have been left out? More importantly, why was it willfully and knowingly misrepresented to Sullivan that it was unanimous on the part of the BOV that she step down? Was it perhaps most expedient to present this to Sullivan as a fait accompli, knowing full well that she (reasonably) would be reluctant to have a public vote taken—believing that the vote was unanimous when it clearly was not? Does that not lend a distinct tone of nefariousness to this scheme?)

“Three visitors lent their support to the resignation…” (Indeed, Dragas, Kington (who later wisely resigned) and one other did not so much “lend their support to Sullivan’s resignation” as immediately and with all great haste (one wonders why…) moved to accept the resignation.) “… and later decided that they favored reinstatement, a perfectly human change of heart.” (A curious and amazing “change of heart” indeed. At one point the BOV is alleged by Dragas to Sullivan to be “unanimous” in support of her ouster…and 16 short days later, unanimous in their support of her reinstatement. Does this not cause at least a modicum of cognitive dissonance to the casual observer?)

“You may not like the method by which they sought to remove her. Doesn't mean that is was done surreptitiously.” (The emails that have come to light as a result of the FOIA requests—and the emails that have yet to see the light of day—belie your words that this act was not done surreptitiously. All evidence is to the contrary.) “ That the BOV voted to reinstate her is not dishonorable, either. “ (No one asserts that Sullivan’s reinstatement was in any way, shape or form dishonorable. Rather, it was the singular honorable act (other than Sullivan’s own comportment) during this entire reprehensible affair.)

“I find it fascinating that there about 10 posters here who are convinced that certain people are (always) lying, yet unwilling to accept that others might (ever) be.” (No one here is (I believe) asserting that certain people are always lying. Instead, they harbor healthy and reasonable skepticism based upon viewing the actions—and words—of Dragas, et. al. Given her own words (as seen in her own emails) and her exchanges with others, why might readers be led to believe anything that is issued from this individual’s mouth?) “Why is it so hard to believe that the Board is primarily concerned about faculty pay?” (This is hard to believe because this was offered only as a transparent afterthought.) “Why would you think that this is a divisive issue?” (No one believes faculty pay to be a divisive issue.) “Why should Heywood Fralin have more credibility than any other single visitor?” (Perhaps because Fralin alone appears to be a voice of reason, dignity, balance, honor and fairness—with the emphasis on “fairness”.) “Why is any poster whose view doesn't line up with yours discounted as professional PR? (Because someone’s views do not line up with another’s does not mean they should be discounted out-of-hand as professional PR. It is, however, public knowledge that, following the hue and cry resulting from Sullivan’s ouster and Dragas’ inability to have anticipated same, Dragas engaged a well-heeled PR firm to assist in the post-ouster spin. Why would the firm not engage in on-line deflection and attempts to defense the indefensible?) “How have you arrived at your lie detectors…?” (We have arrived at nothing…but I repeat an earlier mantra: We are not dim.)

“I picked a name I'd wished I'd been given when I was a kid the first time I posted here...” (And now, with all of this, we are to believe that the name you chose to use on this article is merely coincidentally the same as another tied peripherally to this debacle?) “And, that I think I've get one heck of book when the time is right!” (And on this last count, Ms. Mendenhall, you are, as they say, a day late and a dollar short. You see, the book is already well being written, as are the case studies for B-schools around the country. A simple title might read “What Not To Do…”)

I think I'll choose to believe Ms. M. for now anyway. Plenty of people know the truth. Too many for it to remain a secret. My guess is Ms. might be a Mr. Females tend to say when I was a little girl whereas men tend to say when I was a kid. A little test for you Ms. or Mr. M. If you're inside you know the person who was to be the next President of UVA. Get that right and I'll believe you're inside.

@EM - Dragas must quit. Dragas, Kiernan and Kington colluded against President Sullivan and had her ousted because they had no idea that the BoV, faculty, students, peers, and others would seek to reverse their decision. Bad move on Dragas' part. What a mess they have made.

Dragas is absolutely responsible, she was the Rector and sought removal of the President of UVA without the full board. Why would Dragas not want full disclosure for such a significant decision? Because Dragas would not have succeeded if the vote were conducted with the entire BoV present. Which bears the question, how much support did Dragas really have?" Whatever Dragas had, it is gone.

You stated in a previous post on this link, that Dragas "is not responsible for Kiernan's words, his use of jargon, nor his decision to retire from the Darden Foundation, all of which granted him larger status on this matter than he had ...The board members who verbally told her & Mark Kington that they supported the method and the action have also stayed quiet."

Who knows what the other BoV response really was, it really depends on how the Rector phrased her recommendation to have President Sullivan removed. Right? Full disclosure of the facts will remove doubt. Until that happens, I can only rely on the information at hand. That Dragas, Kington, Kierson, and Mr. & Mrs. Jones had their hands in this from day one. And they made a huge mess.

Kiernan quit because there was overwhelming support for Dr. Sullivan, and he just hates to lose. All three, Dragas, Kiernan and Kington have ruined their own reputations. And the Jones for that matter. These 5 individuals make the university look bad and it reflects poorly on them as individuals. McDonnell should never have reappointed Dragas. Dragas must quit!

Editorial from Tidewater News:

...."Notwithstanding the lip service paid by both sides to unity going forward, Dragas is a damaged, weakened board member.

Her presence will only complicate the tenuous relationship between Sullivan and the board. McDonnell should not have put Dragas in that position."....


Bravo, "seeking veritas." Yes, that whole "change of heart" line that the Dragas camp seems to be pushing has always seemed such a stretch. Trying to humanize her, implying she was "touched" by Elzinga's comments at the rally, as the Washington Post reported in its reconstruction of events leading to the reinstatement (see below, pasted in) -- nonsense. I believe Elzinga was approached in advance of the rally and asked to lay the groundwork for the reinstatement of both Sullivan and Dragas. Same with the student council speaker at the rally. Talking points were already laid out at that point. The damage control spin: accept, forgive, and move on. We have been fed line after pathetic line, and we now are supposed to just accept Dragas and the BOV's "authority," despite the disaster that's been foisted on us. Somehow we're in the wrong for continuing to question and to fight. Somehow we're now the problem. Quite incredible, but often the case in abusive situations. The abuser becomes the victim, the victim somehow the instigator. That's how bullies win. And the victim is supposed to respond with "gratitude, forgiveness, and renewed enthusiasm," even though the abuser goes unpunished and remains in a position of power.

From the Post's "18 days of leadership crisis" article -- this bit really smacked of PR spin to me. Are we really supposed to buy this "change of heart" business? This from the woman who ordered Simon and Strine to tell the troops the decision was final and the Board authoritative and resolute?:

On Sunday, June 24, more than 1,500 people gather on the well-trod Lawn to “Rally for Honor.”

Speakers include Kenneth G. Elzinga, an economics professor who joined the faculty in 1967.

“The truth of the matter is all of us regret the forced resignation of Terry Sullivan,’’ he says. “All of us respectfully ask the board to atone for its actions. And all of us, I trust, are prepared to respond with gratitude, forgiveness and renewed enthusiasm.’’

Elzinga’s remarks touch someone who is not in the audience but who would read them later, someone who was once his student: Helen Dragas.

The idea of reinstating Sullivan already has entered the rector’s mind, partly because of the letter from the 10 deans, which convinces her that they understand her concerns.

To Dragas, it appears that alumni, students and faculty are beginning to understand her drive for urgent changes to ensure that the historic university remains an academic power in the 21st century.

By the end of Sunday, Dragas begins to wonder: Should Terry stay?

@Humble - Helen Dragas has displayed horrible leadership skills. She has no credibility. Why are you linking Elzinga with the rector? Did Elzinga have something to do with President Sullivan's ouster?

Stop muddying the waters.

This is a public relations spin!

No, no, I don't think Elzinga had anything to do with the ouster, not at all, but I was frustrated at the Sunday rally by some of the speakers who seemed to be setting us up to accept that the Rector might stay as a condition of the reinstatement of Sullivan. I'm sure he's an honorable person and excellent teacher. I just was responding to EM's and Seeking Veritas's comments about the "change of heart" idea -- I felt that Dragas's people spun that idea in the Post piece and that EM in her post here was trying to do the same thing. Elzinga only comes up because the Post made it seems as if his rally speech helped Dragas have some kind of revelation or epiphany about the Sullivan ouster. I don't believe that is true and feel that she and PR team made up that narrative to humanize her, show she had a soul, help her save face -- "oh, she was touched by her former teacher's words, and decided maybe Sullivan should stay after all," etc. When I was at the rally, when I heard Elzinga speak, it did cross my mind that maybe he was privy to some of the ongoing negotiations at that time, to the extent that he might have been told -- by the BOV members who were working hard to reinstate Sullivan -- to help the crowd focus on acceptance and forgiveness. The other speakers seemed to have much more fight in them, and I found his speech to be more of a company line (as with the student council student's speech). But that's just me. Not trying to muddy waters. Agree about Dragas's leadership.

Thanks @humble! Dominion Power's CEO Farrell's presentation to new Virginia BoV members http://issuu.com/dtracz/docs/10.17.11_tff_bov_training_presentation-final

Be very suspect of NancyDrew. She has all the markings of a PR firm searching for balance.

Once a PR firm finds the balance, they go after their interests and leave no stone unturned. And, they support their interests ONLY - that is how they are paid. Just like politics. I believe NancyDrew is a mole. She has far too much information & is more neutral than not...Please consider.

Watching NancyDrew must not have been reading the Hook for very long to not recognize that Nancy Drew has been posting here for a long time under that name.

Neutrality is a problem?

And, one of the most amazing articles about a BOV member that I've ever read:


Hard to believe anyone could make Rector Dragas look good.

Anyone know anything about the Beazley Foundation? They commissioned the ACTA report on VA schools and then used the "results" of the report as an excuse to publicly explain why they are ceasing grants to those schools.

"Judge Richard S. Bray, chairman and CEO of the foundation told the Daily Press, “The data contained in this report show that we are, in fact, supporting rising costs, more administrators and a diffuse and incoherent curriculum.”
“We commissioned the report to give us a little bit of guidance and enlightenment,” Judge Bray said in a phone interview. “What we were trying to do is get objective information. We intended it to be constructive.”


this for fight back,

the piece


lays out the ideology motivating the move against sullivan and critical thinking in general.

given the influence of the Koch brothers in national GOP politics, one can only speculate on their influence on GOP politics in their home state of Texas. Google Koch Brothers political influence and you will come up with many interesting things to read.

It is well known that the current governor of Virginia has recently met with the Koch brothers, as reported in local and national press. Is it possible that the governor, desirous of higher political office, would be interested in serving the interests of individuals powerful in GOP politics at the national level? Could the governor be the willing servant of a political agenda such as that of the Texas GOP? Could that be why he encouraged Dragas by re-appointing her? Do Dragas and the governbor serve the Koch brothers? If so, what's in it for them?

Interesting article at Salon about fear of reporting wrong doing at Penn State. The fear was that doing the right thing would result in loss of job. So, everyone kept their mouth shut and the result was many innocent children continued to be abused. The journalist writing the article can relate to this fear because he feels that is exactly what happened to him at University of Alabama (in Birmingham). He spoke up and wrote about the wrong doing he saw and he WAS fired. Another interesting twist is his firing also involved the Gov. of his state and appointments to boards. The fellow fired even has a recording of his conversation with UAB about his being unfairly fired. Hard to believe all this is happening on many levels. http://open.salon.com/blog/rogershuler/2012/07/13/penn_state_employees_f... Maybe I'm missing something but it appears the Gov. of Alabama is going to prison for appointing people to a board in the same manner our Gov. appointed people to the BoV. Where's the difference? Then a journalist appears to have been fired for simply writing about what he saw as an injustice. I don't get it. But, it's not just me, even George Wills doesn't get it either.

The joint e-mail sent out today from Dragas and I'm guessing in name only, President Sullivan, does not make me confident that all is well at UVa. Dragas seems intent on spinning herself to respectability by using 'we' to include herself with the honorable President Sullivan and UVa community. I know that President Sullivan asked everyone to move on, but this is another example of why there is no true credibility on the BoV until Dragas is gone.


Thank goodness for the intelligence displayed on these posts!

Business as usual is not part of my vernacular! I cannot believe the "joint" statement with signatories Dragas and Dr. Sullivan carry any weight. Dragas undermined UVA, a public institution, and if Dragas wants to implement a business model, this is a complete failure.

In business, Dragas would be fired by now. So, which is it, business model "STRATEGIC DOMINIONISM" or reasonable model that INCLUDES THE FACULTY(ISM).

I am really getting fed up with all this 'ism' vernacular that distracts from the fact that Dragas wanted Sullivan out. OUT because Governor McDonnell disagreed with a RESEARCH Institution's guidance by a Doctor (Sullivan) who studied/studies employment of all races; that is her life's research. Employment after education. Why educate if the education process is flawed. Why pay $40,000 if my kid can get this education online. Audacity is culpable and using the education system to further all but the United States. This is TREASON!

Dominion Resources: Dragas is also on the board:
"The company has 20.7 B in debt with debt to equity (D/E) ratio of 1.73 which is OK given its current industry classification. Dominion Resources Inc. has Current Ratio of 0.74 suggesting that it DOES NOT have enough short term capital to pay financial commitments when the payables are due." so everything Dragas is a part of is FAILING...FAILURE BEGETS FAILURE.


Inevitable but sooner than expected? http://www.virginia.edu/uvatoday/newsRelease.php?id=19116

Now the plot becomes more understandable. Who makes money? Go to Coursera's website and look at the courses. In the first I looked at there was a recommended text specifically written for the course. You click on it and it comes up on amazon.com where you can instantly buy it. If you look at Coursera's funders you will see that one of them backed amazon. So now we can see how Coursera can offer courses for free. Does amazon share revenue with Coursera? Undoubtedly. Does the professor get paid for the course or is he/she required to put courses on line as part of his/her duties at the University? Probably the latter. [And the universities apparently are putting up money to fund Coursera too]. If the professor writes the book I suppose he/she at least gets royalties, but given the greed factor at universities today I bet the U. where the professor is employed claims at least part of the royalties. [The Teaching Company needs to be very, very afraid. This will destroy it.] How it will help the universities who have bought into this remains to be seen. But it certainly will make learning available to a mass audience. I suppose this is the future, but it certainly will give those who financially back the effort control over course content. At the very least the powerful will have a veto over what they will allow on line. A very neat way to espouse a conservative agenda - or a left wing one for that matter. Refuse to put on a course with which one disagrees - e.g. a Keynesian economics course. Only put on Chicago school courses. You can change the attitudes of millions while making a tidy profit. Do you suppose that the universities have demanded complete academic freedom and freedom to put on the courses it chooses? I bet not. I bet that this was a concern of Sullivan. But it is now obvious that part of the deal for her return was to acquiesce in joining Coursera. How could they come up with outlines of several courses in a couple of weeks? This has been in the works for a long while and I bet Sullivan opposed it on academic freedom grounds. So profit and politics win.

Allow me to correct a grammatical error: ""Do you suppose that the universities have demanded complete academic freedom and freedom to put on the courses they choose?" Sorry.

The Hook needs to file a FOIA request for the full contract between the University and Coursera. Might as well find out the details at once.

@ Old Wahoo: Who do you think controls course content and curricula now, and why should we trust them? And who would you propose have authority over it? Changing the delivery method alters nothing.

Generally the faculty has control over course content, subject to the approval of the Dean and Provost. Academic freedom and tenure protect faculty from being told what to say. Is there control now? Sure. But it is internally controlled by academics, not by businessmen/women from outside academia. Online ed controlled by private enterprise shifts the dynamic and is a real threat to academic freedom and freedom of inquiry. If it becomes popular, in the end it influences thought on a worldwide basis. He/she who controls the online content controls the discussion and can effectively squelch all opposing views. That is the real threat to the University and to truth in general. No debate, no difference of opinion, no truth. Suppose all courses had to meet the approval of the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal. See what I mean?

I see no reason to think that Coursera will dictate the content anymore than The Hook has composed this email. Think of them as publishers, not authors.

Well, there we disagree. And I am glad The Hook provides the forum where we can do so. I can see why Coursera or those who back it would want to control content. There is a war for control of thought in this country. Why would I believe that Coursera was not a part of it?

By the way, publishers control content all the time, if by no other means than declining to publish that with which they disagree.

As do professors.