Selfless servant: Dragas got a raw deal
Having been a neutral observer to the “Sullivan Spectacle,” I would ask objective parties to note the following, all of which have been reported individually, but not collectively:
•The Board of Visitors (BOV ) has the unquestioned, statutory authority to hire and fire the President of UVA.
•The BOV has the fiduciary duty to fire a president whose poor performance is detrimental to the University.
•President Sullivan was reluctant to leave the cozy confines of UVA to fundraise (fundraising constituting 70 percent of every major college president’s job).
•President Sullivan was not adequately implementing the agreed-to strategic plan; notably, failing to get the online learning operational. It should also be noted: only eight percent of UVA’s budget comes from the state; Liberty University earned $100 million last year from their online learning; the BOV’s job is to make sure revenue equals expenses; and, the faculty understandably is not a fan of internet learning, which it views as detrimental to the UVA on-campus brand.
•Rector Dragas individually polled members of the BOV and, according to various reports, had a consensus of the BOV to fire Sullivan for poor job performance. It's extremely unlikely Dragas would have taken this step without such a consensus. If she had, the BOV would have naturally moved to replace her, which they didn’t.
•Dragas gave Sullivan the courtesy of choosing between resigning or a public and open-air firing and Sullivan chose to resign instead of having her failings aired in a public forum.
•Dragas stood to gain nothing from the firing of Sullivan; but to the contrary, knew she would be publicly vilified for the dismissal yet carried on believing it was in the best interest of the University to have a new and better president.
It seems to this neutral observer with no dog in the fight that the University needs more honest, selfless servants like Helen Dragas.