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Please take a moment to read my letter to Governor McDonnell regarding my thoughts on President Sullivan and the University of Virginia.
A Letter to Governor McDonnell Regarding the Forced Resignation of President Sullivan
Office of the Governor
Patrick Henry Building, 3rd Floor
1111 East Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
To the Honorable Robert McDonnell,
Like many citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia I have been watching with growing concern, the process surrounding the dismissal of President Sullivan at the University of Virginia. In acting behind closed doors, and without a clear reason for her dismissal, the Board of Visitors at UVA has cast a negative light on our exemplary public higher education system.
In Virginia we have always been proud of our university system, and the University of Virginia has always been one of its crown jewels. I worry what the board’s decision will do when it comes to recruiting and retaining the best and brightest faculty and administrators to The University of Virginia. It is with that in mind that I am asking you to consider the following.
First I urge you to not re-appoint Rector Dragas. Her actions from the beginning of this process have all but eliminated the confidence of the students, faculty, staff, and alumni. With the recent resignation of Vice-Regent Kington I believe it is correct to end the tenure of both of the leaders who appear to be behind the forced resignation.
Second I ask you to open an investigation into the causes and actions behind this incident. All alumni of the University of Virginia, as well as all the taxpayers of the Commonwealth who support our public educational system deserve to have the complete truth about how the decision to replace President Sullivan was reached, and for what cause. By all accounts President Sullivan has been an effective and popular leader at the University despite her short tenure and deserved better from all of us.
Third, if the Board of Visitors calls for a reinstatement vote for President Sullivan, I urge you to exert your influence to guide the Board towards a recommendation that she be reinstated to her post.
Finally, the Board of Visitors should be reorganized to accommodate more professionals with higher education backgrounds. There has been a significant shift in recent years to awarding these appointments to those people whose main experiences are in the business community. While this is important when dealing with institutions with large budgets and complex business responsibilities, we need qualified people looking out for the best academic interests of the entire university community.
The Commonwealth of Virginia must take action to ensure that this type of unilateral action does not diminish what has been created.