LETTER- Nixing Nichol a good idea

At the end of the day, Gene Nichol's contract wasn't renewed by the William & Mary Board of Visitors ["Virginia is for... puritans: The fight over sex, nudity, and the First Amendment," cover story, May 1] because he wasn't fit for the job. Period. He was lazy, self-serving, and unqualified.

The BOV recognized that they made a mistake with the selection of a "novelty" candidate but ultimately corrected it. Most of the anti-Nichol crowd, including me, are not puritanical, and we really don't care too much about the president's personal politics.

Unfortunately, Gene Nichol was unable to draw the line between personal politcal agendas and professional pragmatism. I don't know what school you attended, but I'm sure you'd be pretty angry if the value of your diploma started to fall in commercial and social circles because the current president was inattentive to academic excellence and financial independence.

With all due respect to Governor Kaine, he's making a misinformed comment about the W&M BOV or perhaps just indulging in some thoughtless populist pandering. This is the same governor who commented in early 2007 that he disagreed with Nichol's desicion to remove the cross from the Wren Chapel. 

Kaine has the luxury of not having to worry about the value of his Harvard diploma, though, because concerned alumni of that school hold their Board of Trustees and president accountable if they don't continue to attract the best faculty and build the best endowment possible. The governor and Gene Nichol need to learn this lesson. Some people in this state (e.g. W&M alumni) care about quality.   

Lance Kyle


1 comment

Aren't you one of the people who led the anti Nichol brigade? Nichol wasn't lazy, he worked long days and I think his overriding concern was for academic excellence—hence his push for Gateway. He knows that academic excellence depends on diversity as well as excellenct faculty (hence the push to involve undergraduate students with faculty who are conducting first class scholarship and research. As for not raising money, I think he figured if he waited Gateway to be mulled over, digested, dissected and approved, it would never happen.

I have read your vitriol and unsubstantiated claims. You and your friends got what you wanted. In the meantime, for a lot of faculty, staff and students you have taken away excitement about William and Mary, hope for its future, and the air of the possibility of good things to come.