I agree, to a point, with Paul Tudor Jones
As a UVA alum, roughly contemporaneous with Paul Tudor Jones, I think he and I might agree on several points [June 21: "'Important alum': Donor Jones had role in Sullivan ouster"], notably: 1) The promotion of aspirations of greatness at UVA is timely and well worth bold, even revolutionary, efforts; 2) Several statistics (as quoted in his op-ed) suggest the need for reforms at UVA; and 3) Mr. Jones and I are likely to have about equal standing in purveying what Mr. Jefferson might or might not have thought about the recent actions of the BOV.
What we obviously do not agree on is that the cowardly actions of certain members of the BOV, notably Helen Dragas and Mark Kington, amount to the “bold” actions that Mr. Jefferson might have envisioned as worthy of those aspiring to greatness. There is nothing bold nor revolutionary nor aspirational about the tawdry manner in which the Board of Visitors has handled the dismissal of Ms. Sullivan.
From what I have read and learned of the changes Teresa Sullivan is making at UVA, and knowing her accomplishments first hand while she was a VP in the University of Texas System, she is on target for bringing about the sort of meaningful change that could improve UVA’s standing and alter some of the less auspicious of statistics noted by Mr. Jones.
Certainly, the corporatization of the University suggested by the vision (what of it we can see) of certain BOV members will do little to improve that standing, and much to detract from it. Perhaps, as accused, some of what Ms. Sullivan has proposed appears incremental, but, as a mathematician, I know that changing the initial values of a system, even slightly, can lead to revolutionary outcomes.
As for the BOV, I can only summon up the spirit of Shakespeare’s Antony in reference to another “bold” action:
And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest–
For Brutus is an honorable man;
So are they all, all honorable men–
San Antonio, Texas
The author chairs the department of mathematics at the University of Texas at San Antonio.