June 25, 2012 — Tuesday's meeting of the University of Virginia's Board of Visitors, at which the board will consider reinstatement of President Teresa A. Sullivan, will be webcast to computers, tablets and smartphones.
The meeting is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. in the Board Room of the Rotunda. It will begin in open session. It may remain in open session, or the board can vote to move to a closed session. By law, any votes must be taken in open session.
Sullivan doesn't plan to attend, said Carol Wood, University spokesperson.
Media interest has been intense in the wake of the board's June 10 action removing Sullivan as U.Va. president and the resulting outcry from many within and outside the University community. The Office of Public Affairs expects at least a dozen media outlets to be on Grounds to cover Tuesday's meeting.
It will take the votes of at least eight members of the board to reinstate Sullivan as president. In a letter sent Friday to board members, and an accompanying public statement, Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell urged the board to resolve the issue of the University's leadership and "make a clear, detailed and unified statement on the future leadership of the University" on Tuesday; if not, he said, he would seek the resignations of the entire board on Wednesday.
Responding to critics of the board, Rector Helen E. Dragas issued a statement Thursday outlining reasons why she and other board members believe the University would be better served by a new president. Among the issues Dragas cited were a need to respond more quickly to major issues such as the University's financial challenges, fundraising and changes in online learning and health care.
A Wall Street Journal editorial Monday expressed support for the board's decision to remove Sullivan. "An attempt to modernize a public institution and protect taxpayers is met by a revolt on behalf of a status quo that can't last," the editorial reads.
The editorial, however, erred in saying which U.Va. deans had signed a June 21 letter calling for Sullivan's reinstatement. The Journal made a point of saying that the "the one dean who didn't sign the letter runs Virginia's graduate business school," and speculated as to motive. But Darden School Dean Robert Bruner responded in a blog post Monday that the Journal was "dead wrong."
The only dean who didn't sign the letter was Carl P. Zeithaml of the McIntire School of Commerce, who had been tapped by the board to become interim president. He wasn't asked to sign the letter, the deans wrote, because it would have put him in a difficult position.
After being notified by the University, the newspaper amended its editorial.
Also on Monday, the Faculty Senate issued a call for a silent gathering on the Lawn Tuesday starting at 2:30 p.m. and lasting for the duration of the Board of Visitors meeting.
Two other groups issued statements expressing support for Sullivan. The Darden School Board of Trustees affirmed its agreement with the deans' letter.
Sharon Davie, writing on behalf of the U.Va. Women's Center, and echoing remarks that she made Sunday at the Rally for Honor on the Lawn, said that gender alone is not the reason to support Sullivan, but noted that having a woman president lets U.Va. step away from its history. Full co-education didn't come to the University until 1971.
"When I have attended President Sullivan's events for alumnae in cities across the country, the attending women graduates have shown a reciprocal pride that their alma mater is being led by a remarkable woman leader," Davie wrote. "They are clearly proud, also, that the University of Virginia, with its specific history, can see past gender to the true qualities of a leader."
June 25, 2012