Accreditation limbo: UVA placed on 'warning' status by group

Helen Dragas has a new headache.

Despite telling the group that accredits the University of Virginia that all governance issues were under control, the UVA Board of Visitors, which Dragas leads, suffered a major rebuke Tuesday when the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools put the Charlottesville institution on "warning" status in the wake of the so-called "UVA June," the forced resignation of a sitting president.

According to a mid-day missive from Provost John Simon, the Association found UVA out of compliance with Core Requirement 2.2 regarding board governance, and Comprehensive Standard 3.7.5 regarding faculty role in governance.

"While the decision is disappointing, the University of Virginia pledges to work diligently to address the concerns cited by the commission," Simon said in an open letter. "For the past several months and in the spirit of continuous improvement, the Board of Visitors and University leadership have been proactively working together to review governance practices and policies to ensure the highest level of transparency, accountability and responsiveness to all those it serves."

Simon went on to point out the changes the Board made at its meeting last month: a more formalized employment review process for any president and a requirement that presidents can't be fired without a full board vote.

"The accrediting board is being cautious about its judgment, but it's clearly demonstrating a high level of concern," says faculty member Siva Vaidhyanathan.

"What this really comes down to," says Vaidhyanathan, "is that Helen Dragas is the only person on the face of the planet– with the possible exception of the governor– not taking the events of June very seriously."

He cites as evidence the board's refusal to openly discuss the issues that led to the presidential ouster and the comments by some board members that such discussion hurts the University.

"The board wants to move on and put it all behind us without having a mature conversation about the issues," says Vaidhyanathan, characterizing the board as "shouting us down every time we want a straight answer."

The Association, which announced the action at its annual meeting in Dallas, had sent word to UVA back in October that it was troubled by the temporary ouster of President Teresa Sullivan. She was reinstated June 23 at a meeting that also included a vote of confidence in the Rector, a seemingly incongruous move for the instigator of what's widely seen as a failed palace coup.

"Today's events should show the board this isn't just a local problem," says Vaidhyanathan. "It really is about the fact that the board committed some pretty serious abrogations of trust, and it continues to."

Telephone messages and emails left for University spokesperson McGregor McCance and Rector Helen Dragas were not immediately returned, and Vaidhyanathan expressed hope that Dragas would fail to win confirmation of her reappointment nomination to the board when the General Assembly meets in January.

"It would go a long way to clearing the air," says Vaidhyanathan, "and restoring some honor and dignity to the University."

–last updated 2:20pm


This certainly comes as no surprise. Only in the mind of Ms. Dragas (and the evidently dimwitted governor) is her service as Rector not a serious problem for this otherwise unassailable institution. The GA should, hopefully, right the wrong of her re-appointment and allow the University to regain its legs.

At least UVA hasn't been placed on double secret probation yet.

Pretty clear that the things Simon vaguely referred to as UVa's reform so far (whatever they are exactly) did not persuade the commission that enough has been done. And pretty funny that nowhere in Simon's defensive missive did he admit that UVa deserved the warning (this, from the man who, after learning that he would not be the replacement prez after Terry's ouster, made a dramatic Father's Day cameo before the Faculty Senate in super-casual attire to express his moral outrage at the ouster that he had been tipped off to earlier than Sullivan herself but did absolutely nothing to stop). Looks like Strine had to take the fall for all of those in the Prez's office whose loyalty back in June might have been questioned.

Will this be enough to begin the momentum shift to get rid of the "Dragon" (dragas)?

@Eurohoo, Dragas certainly made a tactical blunder, and it cost Kington his post on the BOV and Michael Strine his job as COO. But the last 6 months' continued absence of effective leadership at UVa may suggest that Helen's unfortunately too vaguely worded criticisms of the president may have been prescient. Yes, there are some show committees and new job titles that use the magic "strategic" buzzword now, but all indications are that this is just to shadow keeping everything operating the same as it ever was in good ol' blue blood land. If anything, Sullivan's recent actions, such as abandoning budgetary reform efforts, have been a disappointing retreat, and UVa remains at risk of sliding towards mediocrity while other public universities do more to recognize and accept and respond to the fact that the prior game of scrambling for scarce state funding is already lost. Whistle has blown, folks, time to stop standing dully on the field wondering "what happened?" and get back in the weight room.

Does this give the General Assembly non-partisal political cover to reject Dragas's re-appointment?

Nothing done or not done by President Sullivan caused today's sanction. To try to obfuscate the damage caused by Ms. Dragas and the cabal she led, by calling it an "unfortunately too vaguely worded criticism(s) of the president..." and by criticizing Ms. Sullivan's tenure while Ms. Dragas clings to her control and stays menacingly perched above the head of the President is false and misleading. Dragas's failed coup was not a mere "tactical error". It was a body blow to the institution for whom she is supposed to care. If President Sullivan's firing were the right thing -- and if Dragas believed that, as you imply, then why in the world did Ms. Dragas vote for subsequent reinstatement? Dragas's "tactical error" did not "cost" Mr. Kingston his post. His complicity in the failed Dragas cabal prompted his doing the right and honorable thing, and he resigned, as anyone who knows anything about governance would do in the circumstances.

Please take a moment to sign this petition to the VA general assembly to block the confirmation of Helen Dragas when they meet in January. Succeed of fail we will be reminding the powers that be of our frustrations and as we saw this past summer this can have profound consequences.

Ms. Dragas now has the face saving 'cover' she needs for a prompt and dignified resignation for the good of the school. She knows the General Assembly is going to oust her, a terrible precedent for the Board of Visitors, and she needs to leave before then. Now would be a good time.

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools puts UVA on probation. Dept of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has an Open Compliance Review which basically means there are serious systemic problems and multiple individual complaints against them. Hardly a surprise considering not one rapist has ever been expelled!!!!!!! Makes the Dragas shenanigans look like childs play. This abuse of victims of sexual assault is no less than the Sandusky cover up by Spanier et al.

Despite those of you who continue to be in denial, Sullivan now owns these problems. She cannot blame Dragas and Casteen. She is the President and she knows what is going on.

UVA's reputation has already been damaged by the June Spring and now all the rape cover ups. A school that hides behind excuses and never takes responsibility for any wrong doing. Students die and no one owns up that things can be done differently. Never once has UVA admitted to one error or mistake! Let's wait and see as more scandals are going to come out as more victims emerge.

Tick tock.........

Oh, Eurohoo, how self-satisfyingly pleasant it must be to dwell in your morally uncomplicated little worldview. Dragas blew taking a right and necessary task. Sullivan has been the most underwhelming president in decades. And her chosen subordinates are equally unremarkable in their accomplishments, while the Casteenites that Sullivanistas still seek to more quietly oust and which in some cases they have already ousted are now sorely missed, at this moment when UVa needs to have on hand some people who know how to actually lead something. It is obvious why Dragas voted to reinstate -- it had nothing to do with Sullivan suddenly becoming worthy in her view, but was entirely based on her late realization that using the approach her father had successfully used 20 years earlier in a pre-internet era would not work and there was now only one way to preserve her privilege. However, to give Sullivan (and you) the benefit of the doubt, please point us to something that Sullivan has accomplished in her 2 and half years here (whether it be budgetary reform, addressing the entrenched and costly entitlements of unproductive tenured professors, or the sexual assaults by facutly, staff and students that "moi" alleges have been routinely covered up), but please restrict it to something affirmative that was actually her idea and not something already put in place while Casteen was still president and for which Sullivan is just the caretaker (as she had been expected to be all along).

You are right, tj. It certainly is satisfying to have a good and true moral compass. That has always served me quite well. It doesn't hurt, either, to have more than 30 years' worth of hands-on experience in corporate governance on every populated continent. That said (since you seem to want to point at every direction except the relevant one -- including at me, personally -- for whatever reason), I continue to be unimpressed with your attempts to distract this thread away from the only proved and damage-causing problem, the continued presence of Ms. Dragas, by pointing your finger of judgment elsewhere. I really don't know how well Ms. Sullivan can, or will, perform when the problem at the top goes away. I hope that she can and will address the critical issues, including Ms. Moi's in a good, and morally correct way, and can effectively lead the University as so many people believe she does. Nevertheless, it is beyond cavil that President Sullivan's work had nothing to do with today's serious sanctions.

SACs is playing with fire. This faculty union it is trying to preserve will backfire on them sooner than later. My bet is the legislators see this for exactly what it is and have a clear and intelligent plan. Sullivan was an underachiever and continues to be to this day. The BOV tried to take a kinder approach and it backfired. SACs is led by Belle Wheelan, a professor herself, who couldn't put UVA on probation because it had no grounds. A warning means nothing. And Eurohoo, I keep telling you that you repeat yourself here and on Facebook where you use your name and tell the truth, you have not worked on every populated continent. You are a bored, retired, useless troll.,

The systemic issues at UVa can't be solved in the time that Ms. Sullivan has been President. The internecine politics are becoming silly. Long story short, the BOV and the President have to work together. I have spent the majority of my professional life working with boards. When the professional institutional leadership and the board have the kind of relationship exhibited in June, it is beyond possible for anything to move forward. Mark Kington did the honorable deed. Ms. Dragas needs to follow his example. The governor needs to start looking for a job at which he has to actually work. The Legislature will vote Ms. Dragas off the island. Time to go. It has already been a travesty. The University deserves better.

If the entire student affairs staff were marched into the sea, the sea would be polluted. From the top down, they all need to go. Read what the VP of Student Affairs had to say about the beautiful young lady who was killed while on the Semester at Sea Program. What a lack of class.

Change takes time. Let's give it the time it deserves.

Absolutely right, on all counts, Lawn Lounger. Interesting justaposition to the previous poster whose comfort zone seems to be in being wrong, or confused, with everything he or she says, and with personal identities. In any case, the main point we can derive from your comment is that, even once the continuing source of all the University's storied problems -- the errant service of Ms. Dragas -- is removed, the healing will still take time. I agree.

"Healing?" This aint no hippy commune where doing yoga will bring us all to the nirvana of professional integrity (nothwithstabding Paul Tudor Jones' enthusiasm for forcing the contemplative studies center down our throats). Anyone who thinks dumping Dragas is the panacea is a fool -- she somehow convinced all of the BOV members but 3 to allow her to try the off-porcess ouster. And some of the more recent public outrages at UVa have been committed by people who have no obligation to the BOV -- rather, some of them were longstanding insiders who were loyal supporters of Sullivan throughout the failed ouster (which poavilion did Sullivan march from, after all, when she made her pitch to the Board before waiving to us, silently, from the Rotunda steps?). And now the whole leadership team is paralyzed by fear of looking bad -- this is why the report to the commission that Sullivan and Simon approved was so long on explaining why the ouster process was perfectly within the University's (if not the commission's) governing rules and why the commission should treat the whole thing as "show's over, nothing to see here, move along folks." So, now they are all engaged in the coverup. How could firing just Dragas do any good, when the operational efforts to keep re-pushing the re-set button are being conducted way below her level? If you insist on such a narrowly-focused finger-pointing, you will be about as effective in reforming UVa governance as ousting the Bushies was at closing the attrocity that is Guantanamo Bay prison.

The best thing that could happen to the admin swamp pool that is Uva (much of it a Casteen/Sandhill legacy) would be a dis-creditation.


"If the entire student affairs staff were marched into the sea, the sea would be polluted. From the top down, they all need to go. Read what the VP of Student Affairs had to say about the beautiful young lady who was killed while on the Semester at Sea Program. What a lack of class."

BINGO! You hit the nail on the head. Call her by her name, Pat Lampkin. "Lack of class" is a very polite and classy description. All her PRs have this superior, disingenuous, misleading, spun and classless tone to them.

Your assessment is extremely accurate but I have one issue. Sullivan has not stepped up to the plate. If she's as innocent as you think she has failed to take charge. IMHO her inaction comes from being quite content for someone else to do her dirty work - plausible deniability! That's not leadership.

When you have an infestation of undesirables you call in the exterminator. You don't give termites time to bring the house down. You clean up. UVA is out of time!!!!!!!!!!!

Lampkin's et als voluntary termination would send a message loud and clear. She should have done this on day one 2+ years ago.

"The accrediting board is being cautious about its judgment, but it's clearly demonstrating a high level of concern," says faculty member Siva Vaidhyanathan.

What evidence is there that the governor is not taking the issue seriously?

@Dragas -give us an early Christmas present and resign.

The longer Dragas resists resigning the more suspicious I am that Governor McDonnell played a part in Sullivan's ouster.

Just read the statement from the VP of Student Affairs about the student who was tragically hit by a boat's propeller while on the Semester at Sea program. My God. Why not order up another plaque and put it on Copeley Bridge next to Morgan Harrington's already?

"Not out fault! Don't sue us! We know NOTHING!"

Can a school lose accreditation over lack of class?

Whether the General Assembly retains or rejects HD, remember that it's the governor who appoints people to university boards of visitors and who has a hand in setting the budget for higher education. Virginia has a very important gubernatorial election on Nov. 5, 2013. We are living with result of the 2009 gubernatorial election, the person who reappointed HD, partly because turnout dropped for the 2009 election compared to those who turned out for the 2008 presidential election in Virginia. Don't let that post-presidential-election dropoff in turnout happen again for the next Virginia gubernatorial election. You'll get who you don't vote for. Every vote counts. You know what to do. Was SACS pointing to problems in governance all the way up the line to the governor's mansion?

@Anonymoose, Wasn't it Governor Kaine who appointed HD? Yes it was and Ultrasound Mac re-appointed her. If you really think that our good ole party system actually works on ideology then I have a bridge to sell you. They're all corrupt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's all about them.

I do think that the appointment system is broken because it's corrupt.

The systemic issues at UVa can't be solved in the time that Ms. Sullivan has been President. The internecine politics are becoming silly. Long story short, the BOV and the President have to work together. I have spent the majority of my professional life working with boards. When the professional institutional leadership and the board have the kind of relationship exhibited in June, it is beyond possible for anything to move forward. Mark Kington did the honorable deed. Ms. Dragas needs to follow his example. The governor needs to start looking for a job at which he has to actually work. The Legislature will vote Ms. Dragas off the island. Time to go. It has already been a travesty. The University deserves better.

If the entire student affairs staff were marched into the sea, the sea would be polluted. From the top down, they all need to go. Read what the VP of Student Affairs had to say about the beautiful young lady who was killed while on the Semester at Sea Program. What a lack of class.

Change takes time. Let's give it the time it deserves.

Ms. Dragas brought discredit on the University and violated the Honor Code by claiming Hill & Knowlton's work as something she wrote herself. Did the University pay Hill & Knowlton for this travesty? "TJ" appears to be sympathetic to the H&K point of view. That Ms. Dragas had -- and still does have -- her supporters matters very little. What does matter is that she has a mediocre mind prone to cheating. The decent thing for her to do would be: RESIGN.

"Anyone who thinks dumping Dragas is the panacea is a fool" ... BUT anyone who thinks dumping her would not be the first step in the right direction is a bigger fool. Leadership at UVA is paralyzed because the BOV has been politicized, and because Ms. Dragas is still on the Board. The Messiah Sing In was wonderful this year, but most of the commenters missed it.

Cancer needs to be removed or it will spread. The cancer at UVa is a long growing one. Take three examples of failed administrative leadership: The way Student Affairs handled the Morgan Harrington matter, the way Student Affairs handled the Love murder and the way Student Affairs handled the recent death of the young lady on the Semester at Sea program.

The icing on the cake was the way the Student Affairs folks handled the BOV student protest. Intelligent adults don't threaten other adults. The calling in of the Campus Cops was just idiotic.

In addition to a long career of working with boards, I also hold a doctorate in student personnel services. I spend much time at UVa and talk to faculty and students at least once a week. Both groups are aghast at the failure of the Student Affairs folks to deal in an appropriate way with issues and problems. I guarantee you that Ms. Love would be alive today if Student Affairs paid attention to the enormous problems of binge drinking and the rate of alcoholism among students. You don't fix students with problems by creating a program and you can only solve these problems by being present. The leadership of the Student Affairs likely doesn't know what the University and the surrounding area looks like at night. They are just not there. Join me on any weekend night in a roam around the "Grounds" and the surrounding area and you would have as much chance of finding a leadership person in Student Affairs around as you would of winning the Lottery!

I restate that President Sullivan can only move the ball so far, so fast. Uva is damn lucky to have her as its leader. Give her some time, heads will roll and the ship will finally be righted.


In regards campus police, and law v. policies, cops v. administrators, see here --

"University of Kentucky police officer is fired for inappropriate contact with student"


I am so happy someone is addressing these issues. Obviously you are an insider and have more knowledge and access to Sullivan.I hope you are right about heads rolling. And yes had UVA done its job Ms. Love would be alive today and George Huguely would be a free man. Instead two lives were destroyed. I blame the administration.

As for seeing the grounds on weekend nights/mornings, its a disgrace. I once saw a completely drunk student topple over in the corner as a police car drove by. He watched her boyfriend/friend lift her up from the ground and then just drove away.

Under age drinking is rampant using fake IDs and nothing is done by UVA or the police. In contrast in State College, PA (home of Penn State) they raid bars and make arrests for underage drinking. So despite the perception propagated at UVA that they can't control the binge drinking, its the policy to turn a blind eye and since the university owns and controls law enforcement this is their policy too.

"In contrast in State College, PA (home of Penn State)"

I'd rather have them arresting serial child rapists than busting 20-year-old adults for having a beer.

"had UVA done its job Ms. Love would be alive today"

Name some names. Who should have done something(s)?


Do you support the Amethyst Initiative?


You're an insider too. Don't get me started on Penn State. The cover up of Sandusky went all the way to the top, as the cover up of rapes at UVA. Hey kettle!

As for Ms. Love being saved, George Huguely showed many signs of being violent against Love and others. Where were these brilliant Deans and Associate Deans of Students in the year prior to her murder? This guy was out of control and it seems everyone knew but did nothing because hail to the athletes. His coaches knew. He beat people up, choked them etc.

Why does UVA always act deaf, dumb and mute? NEVER do they accept any responsibility for anything!!!!!

Is it clear to no one that Ms. Sullivan can do nothing positive while Dragas and her henchmen remain on the Board of Visitors? Will UVA continue to condone a cheater -- Ms. Dragas claimed Hill + Knowlton's work as her own -- on its Board of Visitors? Instead of recommending a housecleaning, Governor Bob let the miscreants remain on the Board. Didn't even ask for their resignations. Let Ms. Dragas shuffle on back to Tidewater. No one in Charlottesville will miss her much.

@ND - we must have Dragas removed from the BoV. She is standing in the way of a great leader - Dr. Sullivan. Dragas is not UVA rector material. The GA must take a stand in January and not approve the Dragas' appointment.

"You're an insider too"

Because of the secret oath I took at the attic of Pavilion XIII, while blindfolded, with hand placed on the skull of Sally Hemings, and toasting with Filippo Mazzei's lost stash?

But back to reality.

You've sort-of alleged general negligence by some unnamed administrators in the death of Ms. Love, but you're woefully short on specifics.

@AP - "we must have Dragas removed from the BoV. She is standing in the way of a great leader - Dr. Sullivan. Dragas is not UVA rector material. The GA must take a stand in January and not approve the Dragas' appointment."

I completely agree! Dragas must resign for the U's sake.

Hey pot! This coming from an Administration that obfuscates every incident and is guilty of a lack of transparency. What happened to the dead body that was found last June on grounds? There was an extra short story in the Hook and then we heard zip. Less said the better!!!! Add two UVA employees have been charged for abduction within the last month and little forthcoming from UVA on how they hire people. Actually, the one that tried abducting a child had fans and sympathy on this very site! Apparently he was off his meds but no explanation as to why an employee with mental issues was given a position of trust and access to dorms!


All of your accusations against "the administration" and "UVA" as monolithic and Orwellian unity don't inspire confidence that you're anything but a nutter.

In your latest post you suppose:

1. that The Hook (a privately owned publication and entirely separate from UVA) is somehow charged with percolating up scandal where there is none, in the case of the death on O-Hill, which police deemed a likely suicide.

2. that UVA media relations experts should push the orgamization into an argument before trial why an former/current employee (a janitor, right?) allegedly attempted to put hands on a kid at Fashion Square Mall (no where near UVA property, and at current notice without a history of similar actions of which his employer should have known).

You'll therefore understand why I think you're coming off a something a crankpot.

@Babylon (aka someone in the office of student affairs)

Amazing analysis and extrapolation a la UVA. This is the exact art of obfuscation practiced by UVA and to demean the messenger. This is exactly what they do to rape victims.

You managed to completely twist my statements and make them sound irrational and confused. You do it so well! Great PR and this is what you are good at. But unfortunately for you less people are buying the LIES and manipulation.

I actually complemented the Hook because they reported a story that UVA didn't want out there. You however, spun it! Talk about the art of spin and spun!

Do you really believe, in your myopic world, that the following sentence is an acceptable explanation to the public at large when a dead body is found in O'Hill one morning in June? This was about the extent of info that was given...."in the case of the death on O-Hill, which police deemed a likely suicide."

Likely suicide!?! That's it!

Let me get this straight, questioning UVA makes me a "nutter" and a "crankpot"? Perhaps if you say it enough times ........perception becomes reality.

I've been around Cville for a long time. I first came here in 1972. And I've left and come back five times. In the near future, I expect to return to Cville from the Valley.

There are few constants in Cville. The lone exception being UVa. It is the 800 pound gorilla sitting in the corner of the room. Many stores that were here in 1972 are gone and there are many new shopping centers. Things change and UVa needs to change with the times.

However, one person can't right the ship when having to deal with situations that have no precedent. I've worked for many college and university presidents, many heads of independent schools, many hospital and health care presidents, two US senators and one president of the United States. When you have a divide between the chief executive and the board or the electorate little moves forward. I've witnessed many situations where the chief executive was in the rifle scope of one or more board members. An impasse of the highest order. When you have to watch your back and there is no way to tell the white hats from the black hats, it is hard to move the ball.

Further, can one person juggle all the balls that the BOV deemed important? NO! Can one person deal with the enormous complexity of the current health care transition? No! The systemic problem is structural. It is perfidious to expect one person to lead two disparate organizations. One quick fix would be to separate the medical organization from the academic organization and appoint a leader for the health care part. This would allow the UVa president to focus on the academic, educational and student issues. Yes, I understand that this is easy to write but much more difficult to implement. Mr. Jefferson's school has grown beyond his wildest dreams.

So I join the Greek chorus on this page and suggest that Ms. Dragas must go. Structural change must happen. UVa has a great president and she needs to be given the time and support necessary to do what needs to be done.

BTW, I have no horse in this race. I've served on some UVa boards. I've been an adjunct faculty member. I've worked with the leadership of the athletic department. I've been a consultant to health sciences. But, I haven't worked at or for UVa since 1998. The issues here have huge implications for the future of higher education in Virginia and nationally. Quick and fast decisions usually aren't good ones.


"Likely suicide!?! That's it!"

Well, that's what this publication reported, as did the many other local and regional media. You seem to be arguing that UVA wished to hide this death (when in fact the police sent out mass mail to students, faculty, and staff). I also read your words as implying that you think it was not a suicide (which would be contrary to the police description, the various news reports, and indeed the observations of the people who, by self-report, found the dead woman:

Given the regrettable but persistent stigma of suicide, I suppose it is reasonable to expect that neither the UVA police and the media might defer to the wishes of the family, who might be thought of as victims, and who might have asked for privacy.

I wouldn't want any news media to traffic in dark speculation about conspiracies that would only compound the tragedy.

Accreditation is at stake because of Dragas. Dragas needs to resign.

I hope the Hook reviews off topic posts, and stops this nonsense from the Public Relations firm that Dragas continues to pay.

Dragas is unfit to manage the BoV. Her direction has done nothing. Only Dr. Sullivan has brought stability back to the UVA.

@ BabylonCome - thank you for taking Moi and her/his alias' to task for misinformation. This post is about the accreditation & Dragas' hand in the warning. UVA deserves a far better leader among the BoV. The entire UVA community deserve better.

Coming to UVA soon. Suggest President Sullivan get ahead of the curve. Enough of the platitudes........

Read this article and then think of what impact a scandal like this will have on UVA. It will dwarf the accreditation probation issue and Dragas will look irrelevant, unless of course she has a hand in the way the Office of Student Affairs handles the cover up of sexual assaults at UVA. Remember UVA's record that not one student has been expelled for sexual assault in over 10 years or perhaps never since UVA avoids answering this question. This is UVA's policy on sexual assault - No expulsions! NONE! ZIP!

Penn State was done for the cover up. What's different here? We all know these cases are being covered up. Now all it takes is a thorough investigation.

@courtneys mum . You can deny the problem all you want but the longer it takes the harder the school will fall....


"the way the Office of Student Affairs handles the cover up of sexual assaults at UVA"

You'd do your argument a service if you would educate us with specifics. What should who be doing within the current institutional policies and current state and federal laws?

I think by your posts you are alleging gross negligence -- by on the part of whom, I just don't know. It is easy to tilt at windmills; harder to find a target on real people. But perhaps you're rightfully worried about libel.


Funny how you chose not to address my response to your last post. Why is it you are unable to comeback with a rational and direct response. Instead you try to undermine and play your little mind games.

"But perhaps you're rightfully worried about libel" !!!!??????

Au contraire darling and I'm not going to tip my hand. I already know some of you are sweating it because the heat is on. It's only going to get hotter. You're the one with the PhD., even though it's been earned dubiously. I'm just a regular schmuck. Expand your horizons and educate yourself. Read an African tale about Kirikou! It really doesn't take much if you have the truth on your side and fearless determination. It's always worked for me because it's not complicated, it's cheap and all it takes is laser focus following a strategic plan. If you have done nothing wrong then you have little to worry about. Actually, I put it to you that if you are innocent you wouldn't even bother responding to my posts. But clearly you have much to be worried about. At least if I were you I wouldn't be sleeping because once exposed it's going to be very ugly, ça la fout mal ma cherie!

Drink and rape, drink and rape. And murder. The sorry tale of what can go wrong in the environs of the Mad Bowl. How many have been hushed up? ... is the real question. And even more: WHEN WILL DRAGAS GO? Maybe it's time to picket her wicket whenever she's in town .... ??

Alternatively, twenty plaintiffs and a smart lawyer might be able to encourage an investigation by the FBI -- or a huge publicly-acknowledged settlement.

Agreed, Christian. It would certainly be just if this woman of vast wealth (hardly any of which she has given to the University), would be held personally liable for the tremendous damage she and her twisted ego have inflicted, and continue to inflict, on the University as she clings onto her post as Rector..

And how do you explain that this was the largest year ever for donations? Boy, she has cost the University all right. And how do you explain that she is still in her position. Yes, because she did nothing wrong.

It's questionable whether UVa's fundraising success hinges on who is rector or president. We heard stories of pledges withdrawn following the ouster, and of pledges that would be withdrawn if reinstatement occurred. But these were related to donations from spotlight vampires who want buildings and arenas named after themselves. The fundraising success, more likely, is due to the continued hard work of UVa's extremely professional and well-run development officers, who back in the summer had to go to work each day no matter whose star was in ascension, and who did not have as much time as vacationing students and professors to attend the rallies on the lawn. Instead, they dilligently pursued the smaller donations from the rest of us who just want to help out, but seek no stone-carved legacy to our money's immortality. And once the school year started up again, the professors and students, too, for the most part, went back to their quieter work, but even among their ranks (well, at least among the perhaps more idle professors), there were some who couldn't stop seeking opportunites to see their names in print, and their utterances surrounded by quotation marks. I'm not speaking of Mr. Cohen, of course, whose official duties compel him to seek further information on behalf of the whole faculty, but instead of the more freelance publicity hogs, such as those who attempted to recharacterize their prior-announced retirements as protest-resignations, once the microphone came near. Luckily, notwithstanding those distractions, the academic world at UVa is still top-notch, and those who live within it will for the most part still be around when the ego-driven "leaders" aswirl in this story have found other stages on which to pound like clowns.

I agree with everything you say, TJ. Well said. Thank you.


You are wrong!

Fundraising is people to people. When the person doing the asking isn't doing the level of giving being asked, it is likely to result in much lower gifts. My understanding is that a lot of people really like Dr. Sullivan. You could hold all the people who like Ms. Dragas in a phone booth. The ONLY reason people get on the BOV is depth of pockets. Maybe those pockets only give to political campaigns, but that's all you need. Ms. Dragas' gifts are laughable compared to her known resources.

OK, so let's make this easy. Ms. Dragas can resign as rector and give all of us a wonderful Christmas present.

BTW, if you aren't a development staffer at UVA, I'm the King of Siam!!!!!!

@Lawn Lounger, what ever you say, your high(horse)ness.

@ Lawn Lounger - I agree, "Dragas is a phone booth". Phone booths are nearly non-existent - they have outlived their relevancy; just as DRAGAS. Dragas needs to resign or face the humiliation of a first at UVA - the non-approval of the General Assembly.

Dragas has no idea that her rectorship is in dire straights with the GA-- even with the gov's approval. Our UVA community has lost too much and will lose more. More professors, more funding...too much at stake to allow her to run one of the most prestigious university boards in the USA. The costs have far outweighed Dragas' useful(less). Dragas knows all about the cost/benefit ratio. She is costing the UVA too much. Dragas is unfit to manage a U. I agree with all those who have requested Dragas' resignation. Dragas really needs to resign.

Did you know that the PR firm, Hill & Knowlton have an app that tracks all words pertaining to Dragas and Sullivan? Dragas comments are 90% negative. I guess H&K have to earn that $300,000 plus from the UVA.

Helen Dragas is an amazing rector and I look forward to watching the BOV and Dragas work together with President Sullivan.

Amazing Rector.. Indeed

Accreditation is not at stake, the matter has been settled with this warning as sanction. Vaidhyanathan, find me anyone who takes these matters more seriously than Dragas; otherwise she'd have resigned long ago. The call for her to leave office seems only to serve as punishment, but she knows that she's not "guilty" of perceived transgressions so she's not resigning. Hill & Knowlton distributed her words, HER words. No meeting requirements were violated. There is no personal gain in sight for anyone on this or the previous BOV.

Here's something I recently learned: Suzie McCarthy is on the payroll of the Office of Public Affairs, under Sullivan's administration. So much for fostering peace, Terry.

Hoo cares! Sullivan and co. are in some deep mess if Dragas leaves. I don't know her personally..wish I did, but I got a feeling Sullivan's group is wasting their breath. She didn't do anything wrong and she's not leaving. The one honorable person in the whole group is HELEN DRAGAS. And the others, Suzie and co. included, Should hold on to their hat the day these guys chase her out of town.

You have to be kidding me... Suzie works for Sullivan?? And all of the faculty rants against Dragas constantly? Nice work, UVA.

Dragas probably has to serve through the end of the year to receive all of her emolument and or other benefits. If the University itself is paying Hill + Knowlton -- it should stop.

MY understanding is that the Rector serves in a voluntary position and that the University has paid Hill and Knowlton nothing. If you are going to lash out, you should get your facts straight.

Kind Campaign,

Although I reoognize that you are, to put it kindly, fairly myopic on the subject, and that you will -- again -- avoid the question, I am nevertheless curious about your repeated threat of bad things happening to the University when Ms. Dragas FINALLY leaves. Can you please educate us on anything whatsoever -- even the slghtest shred -- that is good, beneficial, protective, or positive, that derives from her being, or staying on as Rector? I know specificity has been impossible for both Ms, Dragas and her apologists so far, but, please try. Thanks.

I question Sullivan's vision for the future and I am now seriously doubting her judgement if it is true that Suzie McCarthy works in her office when she has been speaking of moving forward for months. What exactly did she mean when she said that? It makes me think she is out of her league and maybe should be running a YMCA instead of a major University.

With regard to Ms. Dragas, is there anyone who would not support a continuing campaign to egg her onward?

If it is true that Sullivan is behind the movement to discourage Dragas, I predict that Sullivan's days are numbered. I sincerely hope that this isn't true. If it is, she really was a poor choice for President and should have been asked to resign.

Kind Campaign, \

Why are you as inept at answering a straightforward question about your incompetent hero as she is? Is there some sort of shared genetic defect, and that's what causes you to support the unsupportable Rector? What positive or benefficial effect on the University has been advanced by virue of Ms. Dragas's term as Rector? That should be a very easy question for her cheerleaders to answer -- even if you, yourself, are Helen Dragas. Everything she does harms the institution. Her enormous damage has been listed here and elsewhere for everyone to see. She has refused to answer questions about why she took destructive actions, and you and all her other apparently paid apologists refuse to list a single positive reason as to why she should be Rector. Instead, you just channel what is so destructive abiut her and you make ridiculous threats about how the University will be harmed when she finally goes. Very strange.

Look, the issues here are bigger than any 2 individuals, and the future success of UVA depends on many. I don't know what drives Suzie McCarthy's efforts, all I know is what Google showed as an affiliation. She may do all of her bidding in her personal time, as she's entitled to do.

The reason why it may be critical to retain a certain friction between administration and governing boards is that little comes from complacency or the flattery of Yes Men. Friction may stimulate the next pearl. If educators/administrators were well-suited to run their own institutions, I surmise that they would have done that long ago. Boards that operate freely provide objectivity that is, by nature, absent from the inside. I'm guessing that self-made billionaires have figured out 1 or 2 things about systems and operations that function well. This doesn't mean that they long to turn UVA into a for-profit biz.

Check out news from NYU, illustrating an example of faculty at odds with administration

Were I a potential student considering NYU, I'd feel better having someone other than my drama professor making decisions about buildings & grounds development. In fairness, real estate matters cannot be made in a vacuum of information from users, either.

My assumption is that Dragas seeks to have the model of higher ed planning and institutional management move into modernized model, and it is that goal that keeps her in the ring, taking these hits. I have no reason to believe that Sullivan opposes this, so I'm hoping that those on hand can figure where to go next.

Absolutism makes you sound shrill, Eurohoo. Please stop picking at that "name one positive thing Dragas has done" scab, as it is so simply answered that Kind Campaign is perfectly right to ignore it. No matter what camp one is in, one can name a single positive thing: either Dragas' effort to oust Sullivan or her orchestration of the reinstatement will easily qualify, depending on how you look at it. What might be harder to identify is a single action the president has done, either positive or negative (assuming that remaining paralyzed counts as neither), since reinstatement, for those of us not privy to un-publicized accomplishments (and I haven't heard of any publicized ones). But let's give both the BOV and the Madison Hall camps the rest of the year to show whether they can work productively together, rather than just circle each other. If a year after the ouster/reinstatement things remain paralyzed, someone somewhere will have to go, and at that point it might matter more who is actually able to lead rather than who was wrong in trying to bring an earlier change. Solving the functional governance problem is more important than assigning moral blame, and to keep the accreditors at bay UVA will need to do more in the way of institutional repair than either replace a rector or re-oust a president. The lax good ol' boy-type rules we have governing process are what ultimately allowed this mess to occur, as much as the personalities involved. And as long as we have both the BOV and the president's underlings marching in lockstep to treat students as they were treated when they tried to protest at a recent meeting, it appears recognition of needed process reforms has yet to dawn.

@tj & @hoo cares and @eurohoo

All of you make good points. However, the facts are clear. Ms. Dragas violated the rules of the BOV. She attempted a coupe d'etat and didn't consult the whole board in a face to face meeting.

The hiring and firing of a CEO/President isn't the domain of the Executive Committee or three members of the BOV. The BOV, according to the By-laws, not part of BOV are charged with this important task.

In essence, Ms. Dragas LIED (read violation of the honor code) to President Sullivan by saying that the entire BOV voted her out.

With regard to Dr. Sullivan's accomplishments, perhaps the University Office of Public Affairs should send out a press release about all she has done. Academia doesn't work like the business world. It moves slowly and deliberately. If you don't believe that go to the library and pick up a book entitled "Shared Authority on Campus". You might be surprised by its contents.

Lawn Lounger, the repetitious citing of this erroneous info doesn't make it morph into truth. No rules was violated. You may WISH that a face-to-face meeting with a vote by the entire board was required, but it was not mandated. These are among the procedural matters that have been are being addressed. The message carried to Sullivan when asking for her resignation was accurate. Please try to let go of the falsehoods. There is enough to wrestle with in the realm of what it is real.

As for the pace of academia, it looks to me like the luxury of "slowly and deliberately" is at the very core of the practical debate. It looks to me like those days are gone, and that is what's really rocking the world of SACS and AAU, understandably. Change is frightening.

Very well said and I, for one, appreciate that.

@Hoo Cares

"No rules were violated".....

On Dec. 11, 2012, the University of Virginia was placed on Warning by its accrediting agency following a review of governance issues linked to the summer’s resignation and reinstatement of President Teresa A. Sullivan.

So why has SACS come to this conclusion?

UVA's problem is there is no transparency at any level. For the most part they go unchecked and they don't care less what anyone thinks as long as they are not stopped. The Sullivan saga brought the transparency issue to light. We all now know there are no ethical or moral standards at the very top. It's all about how much can we get away with.

@ Hoo Cares

Unless you are Ms. Dragas or one of her PR minions, there is absolutely no way you can make the statements you are making. No matter how you lawyer what happened, It was a violation of the duties of the BOV. Three people voted to ask for the resignation. That's about fifteen less than required by any civilized board. Also, most of all the advances we've seen in the world have come from academia. If you force a change in this long standing model, you are risking the future of civilization. Further, under careful examination, it was determined that the issues raised by Ms. Dragas were being dealt with by Dr. Sullivan. Prime example is on line education. It was being moved on. However, it is zero sum game as there is no revenue generated by it. Research this issue in the archives of The Chronicle of Higher Education. It is not the golden grail as suggested by Ms. Dragas.

Long story short this whole thread is intellectual finger painting. Ms. Dragas will not be confirmed the Virginia Legislature. Have a wonderful holiday!

Last sentence should read...........will NOT be confirmed by the Virginia Legislature.

@ moi I wholly agree.

Please let Ms. Dragas depart in peace according to my word.

Hoo Cares is correct, in clarifying that no applicable rules of the BOV were violated by Dragas' actions in June. That's the problem -- the BOV rules were written in such a way that they could be used as they were. The official report that UVA later gave to the accreditors, unsigned but cleared by Sullivan's office, also asserted that no internal UVA rules were broken in the ouster. The accreditors didn't dispute UVA's official response with respect to whether UVA rules were broken, but found that the BOV's rules, and Dragas' use of them, did not comport with the association's rules that govern all member universities. That's why we are under sanction -- we need to reform our rules (not just chop heads) to bring them "up to code," compared to the association's rules. Sullivan's office's response to the ruling did not admit that UVA's rules are deficient (rather, Provost Simon stated his disappointment at the unfavorable ruling), so it will be interesting to see which, if any, UVA office moves first and how far to toe the accreditors' line. Of course, while Sullivan might be justified in secretly hating Dragas' guts, there is a natural disinclination by managers of any institution to accept the intrusion of an outside entity telling them that their institution is structurally deficient (especially at a place that is as quick to toot its own horn as UVA is), so we should expect UVA to do no more than is minimally necessary to get the association off its back.