Where’s Jill?

The interim director of the UVA Art Museum, Elizabeth Turner, left, is having a little Final Friday chat this evening between 5:30 and 7:30pm to talk about the museum's future. But will she address the question everyone is really wondering about: what happened to former museum director Jill Hartz, right, who abruptly disappeared from sight without explanation shortly after Turner's appointment to the new position of vice provost for the arts was announced December 11?

The Hook was unable to reach either Turner or Hartz, but Hartz is still listed in the university directory. A recording at her university extension idenifies it as Beth Turner's number.

The minutes from the January meeting of the General Faculty Council do shed a little light. Hartz, who was museum director for 11 years, was called to the office of Provost Tim Garson December 14 and told she was out as museum director. According to the minutes, she was given a week and a half to decide between two options: reassignment to an unspecified job in public affairs or a buy-out of her contract for one year's salary and benefits.

Hartz said she had an expectation of continued employment, according to the General Faculty Council minutes, and her attorney got an extension of her deadline. The minutes also note that the museum's Board of Advisors was not notified of the decision to oust Hartz, which came about as a result of "confidential recommendations by a President's Review Committee."

Eight people are on that committee: six upper-level administrators and two art history faculty members, and they are the ones who recommended a change in the museum's mission and leadership, according to the minutes. The Faculty Senate and the General Faculty Counsel are investigating.

Also, artists in town have signed and sent to Garson a letter on Hartz's behalf.


This looks like typical UVA. After being a student and working there myself for a number of years, I came to realize that UVA does not behave like a higher educational institution. Good ole boy politics still persist, blunting creativity and rewarding only blind loyalty. As a state employee, I would have hoped that Hartz had better civil service protections than a forced transfer or severance package. UVA's HR system is often viewed as a black hole, having known many well-qualified people that have applied for positions and heard nothing -- then to find that the final hires have connections and are under qualified.

I think the state Dept of HR needs to audit UVA's HR system. Now I'm starting to understand why this charter initiative was probably a bad idea to start.

quote: "Good ole boy politics still persist, blunting creativity and rewarding only blind loyalty."

It's not just at UVA.

It's in both the local city and county governments as well.