Person of the Year: UVA President Teresa Sullivan

Two years ago, after Teresa Sullivan was selected as the eighth president of UVA, and the first woman to fill the role, replacing John Casteen, III after 20 years at the helm, an associate dean in the McIntire School of Commerce, George Overstreet, joked that "a reduction in testosterone level can never be bad."

Of course, this past summer, we learned that estrogen-fueled leadership can be just as powerful, if not more so.

As Rector Helen Dragas led the charge to oust Sullivan, who'd spent less than two years on the job, and Sullivan fought back to keep the "only position she had ever applied for," the two women faced off in a battle of wills that rocked the University to its core. Indeed, one could argue that the "unpleasantness of last summer," or "UVA June," as it's often called, was the most painful leadership crisis the University has ever faced. In the end, of course, Sullivan prevailed, aided by tremendous University-wide support, and was re-instated just 17 days after Dragas fired her.

Of course, some of the things that Sullivan faced when she took office were no picnic either. UVA student athlete Yeardley Love's murder, the lingering mystery surrounding Morgan Harrington's apparent abduction and murder, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's Climategate attack on a former UVA researcher, and the suicide– on former university president Casteen's last official day in office– of the Virginia Quarterly Review's managing editor. Such events had all brought UVA national attention for the wrong reasons, and Sullivan's administration had to deal with these public relations nightmares.

Still, Sullivan managed to steer the University through rough waters. And she has been a hands-on President, attending many faculty meetings, talks, and UVA sporting events. She even taught a sociology class. What's more, Sullivan embraced her role as a fundraiser, personally courting wealthy alumni. UVA's development staff had a list of donors that could potentially give at least $10 million to the University, and Sullivan met one-on-one with 45 of them.

Ironically, another Sullivan success was the launch of the Respect@UVA program earlier this year, a response, in large part, to the death of Virginia Quarterly Review managing editor Kevin Morrissey, whose suicide in August 2010, just as Sullivan was taking office, was accompanied by evidence of alleged abuse from his boss and feckless responses by UVA officials. On the program website, the guidelines encourage "those in leadership positions to be 'models of civility' and 'responsive to complaints.'" Leaders are also asked not to engage in any kind of "pattern of disruptive behavior or interaction" that could "adversely impact the quality of services" at the University.

Apparently, top leaders at UVA did not get the memo.

Another irony: one of Sullivan's biggest fundraising successes was securing a $12 million donation to found an Eastern philosophy-inspired Contemplative Sciences Center from alum Paul Tudor Jones, who later publicly praised the decision to remove Sullivan in a Daily Progress op-ed.

"Change is never easy and often quite messy," wrote Jones. "The spirit of Thomas Jefferson, the first rector of the University of Virginia, is cheering this action by the Board of Visitors." He also said that UVA supporters should be "elated" by the decision. Why?

Jones cited UVA's dip in U.S. News and World Report's college ranking, from No. 15 to No. 25, poor faculty compensation, slowing student enrollment, and an unwillingness to aspire to "greatness." Indeed, Sullivan was often criticized for being an "incrementalist," that is, for creating change slowly and steadily, instead of boldly and suddenly, as Jones and Dragas would have preferred. Sullivan would not deny that, and indeed defended her incrementalist approach.

“You get the buy-in from stakeholders before you move forward,” Sullivan told the New York Times. “When I came here, I was warned that this was an institution steeped in tradition. People love the tradition, and they would not react well to sudden change.”

Indeed, they did not.

Given the way Sullivan was welcomed, with praise bordering on adoration, her unceremonious dismissal by Rector Dragas, via an early Sunday morning press release, followed up by a brief meeting with the press in which Dragas was curt and resistant to questions, was puzzling to everyone. Previous Rector John O. "Dubby" Wynne, who presided over Sullivan's hiring, was so effusive in his praise for Sullivan that he said she had met a list of requirements for the position put forth by the board "so comprehensive as to be unattainable," and added that the Board had found someone with "emotional intelligence, who is self aware, sociable, and empathetic."

The woman who tried to can Sullivan, however, appeared to lack those qualities. From that chilly, defensive press conference on the morning of June 10, to the apparent lack of concern for students protesting at a recent BOV meeting– they were threatened with "termination" if they didn't leave the building–- Rector Dragas has had a knack for generating bad publicity.

Indeed, UVA politics professor Larry Sabato, a predictor of elections, predicted that Sullivan's ouster would be "a P.R. disaster of national proportions” if it was true that she was canned for no significant reason. Hunter Rawlings, Chief Executive of the Association of American Universities, calls Sullivan’s forced resignation the “most egregious” case of boardroom intrigue he has ever witnessed.

Sullivan, on the other hand, has had a knack for generating tremendous sympathy. After being forced out, University-wide support for her presidency and anger at the way the dismissal was handled swelled within the vacuum of her silence. A Facebook page created to show support for Sullivan and advocating for her reinstatement quickly generated over 15,000 followers. Emails poured in to Rector Dragas' inbox demanding an explanation, asking that the Board reverse its decision, and asking for another resignation: hers.

As the story continued to garner national attention, Vice Rector Mark Kington and Chief Operating Officer Michael Strine, who both backed the ouster, slunk away, and within months another key supporter on the board, Randal Kirk, resigned, leaving Dragas close to alone to face the public's wrath.

Not only was Sullivan reinstated, but her power was increased in November. The board voted to give her a year-long contract extension that will carry her term out to 2016, it created a formal personnel review process for the president, and it agreed to put a non-voting faculty member on each board committee that doesn't already have one. It also agreed that never again could a president's contract be modified or a resignation accepted without a full meeting of the board.

Of course, while Sullivan's future as UVA president appears to be secure, Dragas' future is still in question. In January, the state legislature will convene to decide on her reappointment, and you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who knows for sure which way they will go.

Like it or not, because Dragas chose to remain in her position, the two women are intricately linked. To watch them now in BOV meetings is a study in contrasts. Dragas, a lean, confident woman with a keen sense of fashion, sometimes gets up during meetings to grab a cookie and cup of coffee. Sullivan, a zaftig woman with a more practical approach to fashion, sometimes gets up too, but to grab a strawberry or a slice of orange. While neither woman has publicly apologized for her actions, or commented on her personal feelings toward the other, there have been photo ops of them smiling and embracing each other in the aftermath, and as the Hook learned, Gov. Bob McDonnell met with the two women privately this fall, presumably to advise them to get along.

As detailed in this paper, the standoff between the two women, given the lack of any truly compelling justification for Sullivan's rushed firing, led a UVA psychiatrist to believe that a "visceral antipathy" toward Sullivan might have been behind the BOV's actions.

"The reasons they are giving for Sullivan's firing hold no water," said J. Anderson Thomson, a psychiatrist at UVA Student Health Services, adding rather bluntly, "Maybe Helen Dragas, donor Paul Tudor Jones, and others on the Board simply dislike President Sullivan because she is fat."

Sullivan, in the face of what could be an insulting line of inquiry, has responded publicly with grace and humor, indicating that she is eating healthily, working out, and that high fashion is not a priority for her.

Asked if Sullivan's ouster might have had anything to do with a prejudice against her physical appearance, Rector Dragas, in a rare comment to a reporter, lashed out.

"Your assertion is ridiculous," she responded via an assistant, "and the question is highly inappropriate and offensive."

In a New York Times story, however, it was revealed that Dragas, during a personnel review the previous year, had criticized Sullivan's appearance, telling her that Board members had said that they thought her wardrobe was "occasionally too informal."

Even today, however, there has been no convincing justification offered for the attempted firing, and from the rushed way it was done, it appears that Sullivan herself isn't even sure why.

If there is private pain from the events of this past summer, Sullivan remains guarded. She declined to be interviewed for this story, but when asked directly by a New York Times reporter why she thought she was pushed out, she replied, "I don't know."

Carol Wood, the recently retired university spokesperson whose services were briefly commandeered by the Rector only to return to report once again to Sullivan was beside her when the Times reporter asked the question.

“We’ve had that conversation around this table many times,” Wood was quoted. “We don’t get it.”

66 comments

Another terribly immature and inaccurate article from the Hook, designed to accentuate the drama. Shame on the President for not calling off the hounds on the heals of the University. If she truly cared about the University, she would make a public statement to move forward. Instead, she says nothing. Makes me think she is concerned only for herself.

As ever, very kind of you, Kind Campaign.

All of this fussing and fighting amongst the higher ups at UVA. So much contempt for one another kind of reminds me of the students at UVA. Sounds like the faculty are providing a great example for the students to emulate. Animosity threatens to bring down TJ'S academic village. Mmm Mmm Mmmmm.

Read Sullivan's blandish, consultant saturated article in the latest UVa magazine for a real index into this well intended, personable but clueless President. Non-person of the year, more like.

So sad the Board wasn't successful. Ho hum...they tried to do the right thing. Sad we will obviously have no leadership with this president.

Sullivan is a great leader!! Enough said!!

Like father - like daughter. An interesting fact, often overlooked, is that Helen's father fired a University President in a very similar manner.
Perhaps this behavior runs in the family ?

"Sullivan ouster mirrors ODU dismissal"

Rector’s father helped to fire Old Dominion President Joseph Marchello in 1988 in fashion similar to University’s June events

http://www.cavalierdaily.com/article/2012/09/sullivan-ouster-mirrors-odu...

If she's such a great leader, let's see it!!! Good lord knows we want to see some leadership. We see NOTHING. It is beyond belief. We all want it. Where is it and where has it been?? She gives an occasional dull speech. Bring it on, Teresa!

I am not sure I understand the link between "estrogen-fueled" leadership and the Rector of the BOV. Might just be me, though.

R.I.P.: Bobby Riggs

To those respondents above who offer little more than vitriol directed toward President Sullivan, I would ask this:

Which part of the following did not you *not* understand:

* "...Sullivan managed to steer the University through rough waters. And she has been a hands-on President, attending many faculty meetings, talks, and UVA sporting events. She even taught a sociology class. What's more, Sullivan embraced her role as a fundraiser, personally courting wealthy alumni. UVA's development staff had a list of donors that could potentially give at least $10 million to the University, and Sullivan met one-on-one with 45 of them.

* "...Ironically, another Sullivan success was the launch of the Respect@UVA program earlier this year..."

* :"...one of Sullivan's biggest fundraising successes was securing a $12 million donation to found an Eastern philosophy-inspired Contemplative Sciences Center from alum Paul Tudor Jones..."

* "...Sullivan was welcomed, with praise bordering on adoration...Previous Rector John O. "Dubby" Wynne, who presided over Sullivan's hiring, was so effusive in his praise for Sullivan that he said she had met a list of requirements for the position put forth by the board "so comprehensive as to be unattainable," and added that the Board had found someone with "emotional intelligence, who is self aware, sociable, and empathetic."

* "...Not only was Sullivan reinstated, but her power was increased in November. The board voted to give her a year-long contract extension that will carry her term out to 2016."

Respectfully disagree with all of the above.

Respectfully disagree with all of the above. Average on her best day.

Congrats, President Sullivan. With all the drama behind you and your future secure, you can now go forth and fix the campus rape problem. You've got the facts ... now be proactive and firm in your leadership and do something positive for the women who supported your reinstatement.

Congratulations President Sullivan! Well deserved honor.

Keep the momentum going.

Best news coming from the UVA in quite a while. Bravo President Sullivan...

@ C - you are wrong. President Sullivan has proven to be a substantial asset to the UVA and our community.

Congrats to President Sullivan.

Hope the GA will not reappoint Dragas as she has proven to undermine the UVA leadership.

You guys have obviously never experienced a great leader or University president.

Chris, you're certainly entitled to your opinion, but without offering a sliver of evidence to back it up you just sound whiney. What great leaders or University presidents have you experienced?

@Chris:

With all due respect, in what *specific* areas do you qualify President Sullivan as only "average"?

That she comported herself with obvious grace and aplomb during the course of The Debacle speaks volumes about her character. Personal strength and keen self-awareness are but two of several hallmarks that characterize great leaders.

I ask again: in what arenas do you find President Sulllivan deficient?

I don't applaud grace and aplomb in this case . I would like to see vision and strength. She claims to be looking forward in her strategic planning but appears to be wallowing in the drama like all the other self centered faculty around her. Let's get this ship sailing. There is so little time for all this nonsense. It is apparent that the Board of Visitors did nothing wrong other than some bad decision making in the rehire. They chose to reinstate her and they all appeared to be working very hard and yet the ship is still docked. You can chose to blame the BOV and Dragas but I don't buy it. I actually want to embrace this president believe it or not. Let's get on with it!

I SEE A NEW UVA WITH TERESA SULLIVAN AND HELEN DRAGAS TOGETHER! WITH JOINED FORCES, THEY CAN CLIMB A MOUNTAIN. IF YOU SEPARATE THEM, THEY MAY FAIL. COME ON WAHOOS. LET'S DO THE SMART THING AND THROW SOME SUPPORT THEIR WAY!

If Good Citizen's list of Sullivan's achievement (op cit) isn't irony, I'm afraid he/she has proven the point of Sullivan's critics; she raises (some) money--and attends meetings! I think no one recalls her whitewash of the VQR case?.Im not aBOV fan,I just want Sullivan to get real. Dragas was awful so Sullivan is good, yeah I get it.

DRAGAS MUST RESIGN!

WR- you are wasting your time. You have been repeating yourself for 6 months. Do u ever get tired of yourself?

It's difficult to go along with a selection as POY of someone whose primary accomplishment this year has been to achieve successful and silent victimhood. But TS was quite good, in those 2 weeks between ouster and reinstatement, at appearing at public venues and passively receiving standing ovations while not saying a single thing in her own defense. Perhaps she is deserving as a catalyst for whatever change in governance actually occurs at UVa (the baby steps taken so far by the BOV, TS and her staff have not been sufficient, in the opinion of accreditors), although even HD might claim that credit, notwithstanding her brazen bungling. But if we want to reward someone who has put in a lot of effort to really force the issue and to not let it get whitewashed in the aftermath, the POY should have been George Cohen, Chair of the Faculty Senate. He has done more, and is still doing more, than anyone else in the community to try to get UVa to tell a straight story.

Again, Congratulations President Sullivan! Well deserved honor.

@ L - DRAGAS MUST RESIGN!

I offer my support to UVA as a responsible Wahoo not bent on petty judgement. Best of luck to Teresa Sullivan and Helen Dragas in their partnership as President and Rector.

I think UVa may have already slipped behind VT and William and Mary on a list of the state's premier schools.

With respect to Sullivan, her family drawing down three fat salaries from the taxpayer is almost as classless as actions by Dragas and Company in this whole sordid mess.

@George: "on a list of the state's premier schools."

Is this list in your coat pocket? It must be some private tally because it's contrary to the published, statistical rankings.

@ G - Please post evidence that your statement is accurate. If so, this is just another reason that supports why Dragas must resign!

WR- do you honestly think she's going to resign now? After 6 months? You are wasting everyone's time.

For all of you who are still at a loss as to why Sullivan was fired -- since the Charlottesville "newspapers" (including The Hook) refuse to engage this issue (including the part that actually is not just my opinion, but previously unreported NEWS) in spite of my best efforts:

"Did Climate Change Controversy Cause UVA's Sacking of Teresa Sullivan?"

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/14/climate-change-uva-t...

Feel free to e-mail me with questions or comments: geraci@virginia.edu.

@L - "DRAGAS MUST RESIGN" - Dragas must resign due to the U's accreditation "WARNING" - at a minimum.

Logan, you are a public relations plant so just get off the page. To those who understand the 360...Dragas hired Hill and Knowlton, staffers includes Logan, Chris and others so that the topic at hand benefits Dragas.

Dragas is wrong for the U. Dragas should never have been rector. She has single-handedly reduced our great U to that of a fearful/questionable institution. No one in a leadership capacity at UVA should hold the "Dragas" power. This is not what our true leaders/founders had in mind. Jeffersonians wanted thought leaders. Leaders that supported the MINDS of the institution. Those individuals are the brilliant faculty. When the bleeding of the faculty at UVA stops. When the 'headhunters' stop recruiting our faculty. When Dr. Sullivan does NOT have to look in her rear view mirror 24/7. That is when I will believe that the UVA has restored leadership.

Dragas is and will always be a failure. Dragas must resign.

"Founding of the University of Virginia"

"Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia in 1819. He wished the publicly-supported school to have a national character and stature. Jefferson envisioned a new kind of university, one dedicated to educating leaders in practical affairs and public service rather than for professions in the classroom and pulpit exclusively. It was the first nonsectarian university in the United States and the first to use the elective course system.

Jefferson considered the founding of the University to be one of his greatest achievements. Undertaking the project toward the end of his life—after a long, illustrious career that included serving as a colonial revolutionary, political leader, writer, architect, inventor, and horticulturalist—he was closely involved in the University's design. He planned the curriculum, recruited the first faculty, and designed the Academical Village, a terraced green space surrounded by residential and academic buildings, gardens, and the majestic center-point—the Rotunda. The most recognizable symbol of the University, the Rotunda stands at the north end of the Lawn and is half the height and width of the Pantheon in Rome, which was the primary inspiration for the building. The Lawn and the Rotunda have served as models for similar designs of "centralized green areas" at universities across the United States.

The University opened for classes in 1825 with a faculty of eight and a student body numbering sixty-eight. Jefferson took great pains to recruit the most highly qualified faculty, five of whom were found in England and three in the United States. Instruction was offered in ancient languages, modern languages, mathematics, moral philosophy, natural philosophy, chemistry, law, and medicine. The students came from the American South and West; interestingly, though, most were not Virginians.

Jefferson opposed the granting of degrees on the grounds that they were "artificial embellishments." In 1824, however, the Board of Visitors authorized granting the master of arts degree. The doctor of medicine, or M.D., was awarded to the first graduates of the School of Medicine in 1828, and the bachelor of laws degree, or LL.B., was first awarded for law school graduates in 1842. The bachelor's degree was awarded beginning in 1849, but became the standard undergraduate degree and a prerequisite for the master's degree in 1899, bringing the University into conformity with other institutions of higher learning. The Ph.D. has been awarded since 1883."

I have to say that I am very impressed with this knowledge and passion. I think I have misjudged you. I only wish I could get you to tap into the same passion I see in Helen Dragas. Who else would have stayed in this voluntary position? Only someone who cares much as you, perhaps?

Logan,
You, Chris, your other plants and Dragas herself (if these are, in fact different people) are all alone in believing (or espousing) that sentiment. If Dragas does care about anything other than her own foolish and destructive ego as you suggest (and as I doubt), then she is simply wrong and delusional. In either case, her continued "service" on the BoV does the University only harm -- continued, unrelenting harm, and no good whatsoever. The entire caring universe (see the many, many, many, overwhelming majority of comments in every publication on the subject, the statements of the faculty, the organized movements of alumni, students and other groups, as well as the comments of informed state legislators reflecting what they are hearing from their entire consituencies -- not to mention the accrediting authority that has spoken quite clearly on the subject) agrees woleheartedly with Weekend Reader. It is Ms. Dragas's intransigence; not the near-unanimous -- or, perhaps, fully unanimous unpaid --sentiment expressed by Weekend Reeder, that is tiresome. I applaud WR's devotion, dedication and stick-to-it-iveness that really must be heeded by either someone who has influence over the destructive Rector, herself, or -- if not -- then, by the General Assembly who must vote her away. Why do you think that the other members of her failed cabal resigned?

I support Teresa Sullivan and Helen Dragas moving forward.

Chris, please help readers to understand--perhaps through anecdotal evidence--how it is that you come to the conclusion that President Sullivan "appears to be wallowing in the drama". I ask because in no manner do I perceive President doing anything of the sort...but then, you might be privy to insider information that the rest of us are not?

And what of this "all the other self-centered faculty around President Sullivan” to which you refer? Upon what do you base that glittering generality? [We are all well-advised to appreciate that glittering generalities rarely reflect reality, but more often are a reflection of one's own skewed vision of reality.] Would you presume to characterize George Cohen, Chair of UVA's faculty senate, as one of those "self-centered faculty:? I am assuming--perhaps wrongly--that you have never even met this very fine individual. Cohen is nothing if not reasoned, balanced, and deliberate.

You go on to say that "It is apparent that the Board of Visitors did nothing wrong other than some bad decision making in the rehire." While something may be "apparent" to you, it clearly is not "apparent" to the countless thousands upon thousands of individuals across the country who spoke out to decry the senseless actions (plural intended) taken by Dragas, et. al., during this unnecessary crisis. Most importantly, the accrediting agency that issued recently the warning obviously feels rather differently. We might safely assume that agency is comprised of experts far more conversant with the standards by which public universities are governed than, say, you or I.

I presume that if she did anything out of line, she would have been fired. I support Teresa Sullivan and Helen Dragas!

REMOVE DRAGAS!

I support President Sullivan, NOT Dragas -- Never ever ever...

@Geraci

For you and others reading here, I wonder what is to made of the 'yoga connection.' I see the NYTimes is covering the controversy in California:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/16/us/school-yoga-class-draws-religious-p...

My minds whirls in amazement when thinking that Jefferson's university (its imprimatur, its reputation, its experts, its tax-decutible status) might be being used by some donors to push their religious beliefs and practices onto innocent kids in a public school.

It beggars belief.

Man alive I'm glad I don't live in Charlottesville anymore.

Excuse me while I go back to our temperature of 75.3 degrees here in tropical south Florida, where people actually have a life and don't have to argue about whatever it is you're all arguing about here.

Helen Dragas shamed the University with her blundering. Her idea of leadership is forwarding a half-read magazine article, throwing MBA-isms around like "strategic dynamism," and holding closed (i.e., illegal) Board meetings. Until she leaves the University, there will be those who call for her resignation. Why should they not? She is incompetent, petulant, and a disgrace.

Thank you Henry! There is no leadership with Ms. Dragas. This entire fiasco could have been adverted with her resignation but she insists that her "all and powerful OZ" pretense is worth the University's capitol.

Really Dragas? Really, when your own children read about your serious undermining of the President of the UVA? Really, and you can sleep at night...wow...unbelievable. If I were your child, I would worry. You had it in for President Sullivan from the get-go, and now, you want us all to FORGET? Really? Dragas and McDonnell need to re-evaluate their pro gun/ammunition, pro send America off the Cliff legislation and re-evaluate America.

Dragas is not a leader, never was. Dragas must seriously think about resignation. This entire debacle at UVA was preventable.

Of course you are absolutely right, Weekend Reader, and Henry, and Courtney's Mom, et al. Just as are all the many other people -- comprising a near-unanimous majority -- who weigh in on the subject in various forums around the world. Ms. Dragas, in one of her extremely rare public statements, is reported to have noted that this "is not a popularity contest". Of course it is not. The many organizations, student groups, alumni, donors, supporters, faculty members, expert writers and thinkers on the issue, general commenters, experts from other educational institutions with an interest in the integrity of the American system of colleges and universities, and the accrediting committee are not voting for a prom queen, as Ms. Dragas's statement seems to dismiss them as doing. Her irresponsible statement and refusal to step aside also seem to imply that this local real estate developer, who seems most -- and exclusively -- capable in the field of buying politicians, brings something of value to the governance of a great university. Yet, we have seen only evidence of major damage created by her efforts and continued presence. It is beyond the understanding of a responsible, normally-thinking person to empathize with Ms. Dragas in her intransigence -- exactly as we are incapable of thinking like Bashar al-Assad. Only when Ms. Dragas leaves can Dr. Sullivan, the Hook's Person of the Year truly perform, and demonstrate the correctness of this publication's determination. We all look forward to that, whether by Ms. Dragas's recognition of her responsibility for UVa"s accreditation warning, her purely magnanimous gesture in giving in to the voice -- with which she undoubtedly disagrees -- of the SACS committee, her desire to join her fellow members of her cabal on the sidelines, or by her feeling the toe of the General Assembly's boot.

Good luck with that, Eurohoo. I fear for Dr. Sullivan without Dragas. I'm not sure she is capable beyond the classroom. I am hopeful the General Assembly will do the right thing here.

No one outside of the Dragas Construction Company -- most especially whoever is the President of the University of Virginia is worse off in the absence of Helen Dragas -- the source of all of the University's problems and the sole reason for SACS warning.

Respectfully disagree. Have a nice day.

Oh, Logan, give it up. If for nothing else, Mrs. Dragas should resign for her children's sake if she won't do it for the sake of the University. I would hope she would want to protect them and their future.

Wahookitty...I think maybe your post should be reported as threatening Dragas's children. Typical of this opposition but noteworthy and then perhaps your identity could be exposed. Yes, will look into that immediately.

I am watching this to see if the Hook or Wahookitty removes this within 15 mintutes. Very poor taste considering the safety of anyone's children is not a very popular subject right now.

Logan, you should really consider professional help if you are serious with your reading of Wahookitty's comment.

Reported it.

Logan, I hope you have also reported yourself to the proper authorities. You might be helped with early intervention, but I fear your problem may have advanced too far.

Helen Dragas needs to NOT resign for the sake of her children. To teach them that if you are honest and true to your word and your principles, all is well and will be well at the end of every story.

So Logan, you understood the post about the children all along? I have been skeptical, but I'm now believing that other posters are right and you have to be on the Dragas payroll. You must be getting more desperate by the day if you are trying to pull tricks like claiming someone threatened her children. What transparent nonsense!!

Dragas herself may not have the sense to do the right thing and resign, but I'm writing to those who will decide on her appointment to urge them to do it for her and reject her nomination.

Yes, I am proud to say that I am now firmly in the Dragas camp after months of watching this situation unfold. And I am also becoming more and more confident that the General Assembly will see it this way as well. And Merry Christmas to everyone. I truly wish the best for the Dragas and Sullivan families.

Yes, MD. Ms. Dragas is as proficient at selecting and employing public relations people as she is at everything else. She is simply WAY over her head, is motivated by personal, petty jealosy or dislike, and her continued service as Rector simply sets the course for nothing positive being done or resulting. Merry Christmas to us all!

Once again, Eurohoo, you speak out of revenge and hatred. I sincerely hope you find some friends and family to spend time with this day, Christmas Eve, so that your incredible pain and loneliness is bareable.

No hatred here. No revenge. Surrounded by a large, loving family and having a wonderful holiday. Thank you. Just trying to remind anyone who can, to right a terrible, continuing wrong that is the errant appointment of this foolish, priggish, real estate developer to a job that calls for someone who is qualified as she has demonstrated herself undeniably not to be, and whose presence doesn't shut everything down at the University of Virginia -- an institution that doesn't deserve the discredit that she brings it.. Merry Christmas to you, as you collect your final paychecks from Ms. Dragas, Logan.

We'll see who is the last one standing, sir. I think you may be surprised. The more noise you make, the more it becomes clear to those educated what is really going on here at UVA. And professors like yourself shouldn't be allowed to teach.

Loogan, I don't know for whom you have mistaken me. It doesn't really matter. But, as always, you are incredibly off the mark. Although I've been asked to lecture at some highly regarded universities as an adjunct in New York and England, I am not an academic. However, I know that Messrs Kingston and Kirk did the right thing and now it is Ms. Dragas's turn. Peace and goodwill to you.

Kirk, who told the absolute truth and said Sullivan was hired as an interim president?? You guys are just drawing attention to how unqualified she was is and will always be. She will never last. Never, ever. But dragas will.

Logan, what you are saying (quoting Kirk, as well as other things you've written) is absolute nonsense and there are few people who are willing to believe it. Just give up. Dragas's camp is tiny among reasonable people (which, thankfully, describes much of the U.Va. community), and doesn't have a leg to stand on.

I'm also wondering whether you have anything to say about the article I posted on here several days ago. This is bound eventually to be blown wide open, even though most of the local press (and obviously the BOV and U.Va. administration too) are still avoiding it like the plague.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/14/climate-change-uva-t...

I advise you to read very carefully before you attack; the face you save may be your own. Every single reader who has tried to tell me this is not a plausible explanation for what your dear Ms. Dragas and her BOV did (and should be investigated further since as I'm well aware, is not yet proved) has revealed inadvertently that they've either misunderstood something I wrote, didn't take all the details into account, and/or read something into it that's not there. The key word is "plausible," which to my mind is the threshold for warranting further investigation. (Personally I think the scenario is somewhat more than plausible, but it's not necessary to agree with me on that to agree that there must be more scrutiny). Better to ask me questions than freak out and attack, since I have a lot more I could say that wouldn't fit in the article, and I spent months making sure that it all makes sense. After you finish -- I'm wondering: suppose my hypothesis turns out to be more or less true. Would you still think Dragas is fit to be on U.Va.'s board? If so, why? And since the jury is still out on exactly what motivated the BOV in firing Sullivan, and there is new evidence that hasn't been adequately considered (i.e. what's in my article), wouldn't it make sense for the legislators to err on the side of caution and not confirm her?

Others: while I agree wholeheartedly that Dragas has to go, I do think there's been an overemphasis on her as an individual, and on the manner in which the Board fired Sullivan as opposed to their motivations for it (which reveal further likely wrongdoing: read). I'm convinced that Dragas was the figurehead of something in which others took the initiative and called most of the shots, at least before June 10 when she did seem to take control of the PR -- that is before she got the hired help. It would be a big mistake to think that getting rid of her alone is going to solve many problems (especially if it is not accompanied by a reckoning of everything she and the board did and why they did it). Look up what Dragas said to the DP after Kington resigned: the gist was, of course he resigned because this was originally his initiative, but he shouldn't have felt he had to since we had agreed that as a board we'd take responsibility collectively. (Has anyone managed to interview Kington? Maybe if public outcry for him to answer some questions were even a fraction of the outcry there has been for Dragas to resign, he eventually would. Apparently he is not as stubborn as Dragas.) I realize that It's much easier to go after a single person, and on the basis of agreed upon notions of correct behavior, than to digest a scenario that was probably fairly complex, more political at its roots, and will not be met with the near-unanimous judgment that Dragas's individual behavior has. To be specific: the people who refuse to take my hypothesis seriously (or admit openly that they do) will be primarily Republicans. So be it. It's not my fault that Republicans have turned science and the environment into divisive political issues. I realize that the galvanizing of the community around the June crisis and Dragas has been somewhat rewarding and many of us instinctively do not want to turn it in a direction that will be more divisive. But we shouldn't shape investigation and analysis around what is most likely to be easily agreed on.

This article is the product of months of thinking, digging, uncovering new facts (that still haven't been discussed in the press beyond this article), writing, and rewriting. To dismiss it lightly is a big mistake, even if I do say so myself. I'm sorry if this sounds like self-promotion. It's not -- I wasn't at all eager to publish an article on this in the first place, and only did it because no one else did -- even after I tried to feed the information to people. It ruined my fall semester and made me miserable. And now I'm still dealing with the difficult situation of having to continue to promote it myself because a lot of people are either actively muzzling this story or are for some reason afraid to engage it and bring it to wider attention. It also could be that it's complicated and many readers don't read it carefully enough -- but I know that it's been pretty convincing to those who do read it carefully, and especially if they also know U.Va. pretty well.

Cheers, RG