In the wake of UVA President Teresa Sullivan's resignation on June 10, many members of the University community have responded. These responses are compiled below, with the latest on top. Read part 1 (responses June 10 - 17), part 2 (responses June 17-21) or post-reinstatement messages.

UVA Board of Visitors Reinstates Sullivan as President

June 26, 2012

The University of Virginia Board of Visitors today acted to reinstate Teresa A. Sullivan as president of the University.

"The past two weeks have been trying for all of us in the University community," Sullivan said. "While this period of uncertainty has been difficult, I believe that those with opposing viewpoints have been well-intentioned, acting only with the best interests of the University in mind."

"While many believe that the past two weeks have threatened our great institution, I believe that we have been strengthened by the experience. It has, in fact, propelled our academic community to a new place and made it ready to face a quickened pace of change.

"My goal is to harness the enthusiasm that has been generated and use it to the University's competitive advantage."

The board's decision follows 16 days of vigorous dialogue about the future of the University, which was sparked by the announcement on June 10 that Rector Helen E. Dragas and other board members had asked for Sullivan's resignation.

The resolution reinstating Sullivan reads as follows:

"The Board of Visitors rescinds the Second Amendment to the President's Employment Agreement, subject to the approval and acceptance of the President, thereby reinstating the President's initial Employment Agreement of January 11, 2010, as amended by the First Amendment to the Employment Agreement; and further

"The Board of Visitors rescinds the naming of Carl P. Zeithaml as Interim President of the University, and rescinds the authority previously granted to the Executive Committee to negotiate and execute a contract or employment agreement with the Interim President."

Sullivan called on the University community to work together to craft solutions to the challenges facing UVA and higher education and to quickly move beyond philosophical differences that have emerged.

"I pledge to set aside any differences we might have, and to work hand-in-hand with Rector Dragas and all members of the Board of Visitors as we face the challenges that have been articulated - and find solutions that will further distinguish the University," Sullivan said.

Board of Visitors member and former Rector Heywood Fralin said the university is "united unlike ever before in my memory."

"The University community has been solid in its support of President Sullivan and has clearly communicated that to the rest of the state, the nation, and the world. Today, the board has made the right decision in reinstating President Sullivan," Fralin said.

"Speaking for myself, but probably with the agreement of every member of this Board of Visitors, I would like to thank the many students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends who have demonstrated their strong opinions and concerns for the University of Virginia during this tumultuous time. You deeply love this University and want it to remain one of the world's top institutions. The University community - working together - will make this happen."

Sullivan said she was eager to resume her job, including working with the board, faculty, administration, staff and students to fully develop and implement strategic plans to ensure the University's future.

"Today begins a new day at the University of Virginia, one in which we set aside any hurts that have been inflicted, build on the collaborative bonds that have been formed, and move as one. All eyes are on us; we must show the world that we are strong, but also forgiving, and that we live by the values of honor and integrity and civility," Sullivan said.

She also thanked those who provided support and encouraged her reinstatement.

"The support has been overwhelming and deeply touching," she said. "I will do all in my power not to disappoint."

She expressed particular gratitude to Carl P. Zeithaml, dean of the McIntire School of Commerce, who initially agreed to assume the role of interim president but later suspended that appointment to provide time for further discussion and to allow the Board of Visitors to resolve Sullivan's status.

"Carl has always been a devoted citizen of our community and his actions of the past week speak to that commitment," she said.

In January 2010, Sullivan was unanimously elected by the Board Visitors to become UVA's eighth president - and its first woman president. She succeeded John T. Casteen III, who served as University president for 20 years.

She began her term on Aug. 1, 2010, after serving as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Michigan. Her role there included serving as chief budget officer, overseeing $1.5 billion of Michigan's $5.4 billion annual budget.

Prior to Michigan, Sullivan spent 27 years at the University of Texas at Austin, where her roles included executive vice chancellor for academic affairs for the university's system.

At UVA Sullivan has worked to build rapport with the University community and beyond. Major initiatives of her presidency have included the introduction and early phase implementation of a new financial model designed to increase the University's efficiency, development of a fiscal year 2013 budget that holds tuition increases to their lowest level in a decade, and a trip to East and Southeast Asia to build partnerships and raise the University's global profile.

Sullivan also has worked with the leadership of the UVA Health System to begin a strategic review of the fast-growing medical center and to advance efforts to rapidly commercialize the University's intellectual property and inventions.

Chair of the Faculty Senate George Cohen's remarks before the BOV meeting

June 26, 2012

We are gathered here on the historic Lawn of the University of Virginia for the fourth time since the current crisis began on June 10. We represent all segments of the University community: faculty, administrators, students, staff, alumni, local residents, and others. Statements of support have been issued far beyond our Grounds, from colleagues at Georgetown, UNC Chapel Hill, The University of Marlyand, and more. The American Association of University Professors stands behind us as well.

We stand here to watch and to listen. We await action from our Board of Visitors. We seek the answer to a simple question: what will the future of the University of Virginia look like?

This is not a time for long, passionate speeches, and I will not make one. What I will do is try to set out in the simplest terms why so many of us are here today and why we have been working tirelessly since June 10 to secure the reinstatement of our President, Teresa Sullivan.

We believe President Sullivan has been an effective president. Why do so many people in the University community believe that? Because President Sullivan embodies a set of principles and acts on those principles. That is what makes an effective leader. What are those principles? Honesty, candor, openness, transparency, inclusion, consultation, communication, fairness, dignity, and trust. These are time-honored principles, and they work. What observers of our community are witnessing is our commitment to these principles. We stand here for these principles and we will continue to stand to ensure they are upheld.

We believe that the forced resignation of President Sullivan was an error in judgment by the Board. We believe that the process leading up to and resulting in the forced resignation was flawed and, most important, inconsistent with the principles for which President Sullivan – and the University – stand. It was done in secret. It was done without full and open discussion within the Board. It was done without consulting constituents inside and outside the University.

We are told that President Sullivan did not understand the problems the University faces. We see a recognized expert in higher education who fully appreciates the issues and knows how to address them.

We are told that President Sullivan did not move quickly enough. President Sullivan has had only two years. She has had to bring in a new administrative team, which has been fully in place only since last fall. We see no evidence that President Sullivan is unwilling or unable to make the necessary adjustments and lead us through necessary change.

We are told that the University must respond to a “rapidly changing and highly pressurized external environment.” We agree. But we see no sudden change in circumstances since the hiring of President Sullivan that justifies such an unexpected and disruptive removal of a popular and effective president after such a short time. Losing President Sullivan would cause unnecessary delay and hinder our ability to move the University forward.

We are told that the faculty is opposed to change. We are not. We recognize the need for change. We are ready to embrace change, so long as the form and implementation of that change follows the principles of open and honest debate that we stand here today to defend.

The problems we face cannot be resolved by sound-bites or platitudes. We must work together to solve them, drawing on our vast collective expertise. We stand ready to do just that.

Our founder, Thomas Jefferson stated: “Give up money, give up fame, give up science, give the earth itself and all it contains, rather than do an immoral act. And never suppose, that in any possible situation, or under any circumstances, it is best for you to do a dishonorable thing, however slightly so it may appear to you. Whenever you are to do a thing, though it can never be known but to yourself, ask yourself how you would act were all the world looking at you, and act accordingly. Encourage all your virtuous dispositions, and exercise them whenever an opportunity arises; being assured that they will gain strength by exercise, as a limb of the body does, and that exercise will make them habitual. From the practice of the purest virtue, you may be assured you will derive the most sublime comforts in every moment of life, and in the moment of death. If ever you find yourself environed with difficulties and perplexing circumstances, out of which you are at a loss how to extricate yourself, do what is right, and be assured that that will extricate you the best out of the worst situations. Though you cannot see, when you take one step, what will be the next, yet follow truth, justice, and plain dealing, and never fear their leading you out of the labyrinth, in the easiest manner possible. . . An honest heart being the first blessing, a knowing head is the second.”

The gates of repair, repentance, renewal, and restoration are open. We hope that the Board exercises wisdom and judgment and leads us through these gates.

Statement from The University of Virginia Medical Alumni Association and Medical School Foundation

June 25, 2012

On June 23, 2012, the University of Virginia Council of Foundations approved the following statement:

As individual members of the Council of Foundations, we move unreservedly to support President Teresa Sullivan continuing as President of the University of Virginia.

The Management Committee of the University of Virginia Medical Alumni Association and Medical School Foundation, authorized to act on behalf of the Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees, fully endorse the Council’s statement and request that you approve the reinstatement of Teresa Sullivan as President of the University of Virginia during your June 26, 2012 meeting.

We have tremendous respect for the governing role that is provided by the Rector and Visitors; however, we feel that it is in the best interest of the university community to reinstate President Sullivan as the leader of our beloved institution.

Dearing Johns, MD
President, Board of Directors, UVA Medical Alumni Association

Christopher Casscells, MD
 President, Board of Trustees, UVA Medical School Foundation

Statement sent on behalf of the Executive Committee of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation

June 25, 2012

The Jefferson Scholars Foundation has  followed the events of the past two weeks with great concern. Based on the evidence available, we believe that the action taken by the Board of Visitors to force President Sullivan's resignation was procedurally flawed, and we therefore urge that the Board of Visitors move immediately and definitively to reinstate Ms. Sullivan as  president of the University.

Statement in Support of President Sullivan from the UVA Health Foundation Trustees

June 25, 2012

The undersigned invidual members of the UVA Health Foundation board are grateful for President Teresa Sullivan's support and bold leadership of the Health System. Wwe move unreservedly to support President Sullivan in continuing as President of the University of Virginia.

George Hurt, M.D., Chair
Rebecca H. Ruegger, VIce Chair
Nancy E. Artis
Robert W. Battle, M.D.
Louis H. Blair
Timothy L. Coleman, M.D.
Teresa R. DiMarco
James E. Dunnington Jr., M.D.
Charles H. Henderson III, M.D.
Kelley A. MacDougall
Michael B. Russell
E. Darracott Vaughan Jr., M.D.
W. Keith Woodard

Memo from the Trustees of the Law School Foundation to the BOV

June 25, 2012

The Board of Trustees of the University of Virginia Law School Foundation joins the deans of the University in supporting the reinstatement of Teresa Sullivan as president.

Statement from the Curry School of Education Foundation in Support of President Sullivan

June 25, 2012

University of Virginia’s Curry School Foundation concurs with the statement of the Council of Foundations sent to the Board of Visitors on June 23rd, and respectfully requests that the Board of Visitors vote to reinstate Theresa Sullivan as President of Virginia.

Members of the Curry School of Education Foundation
Sandra Stern, Chair
Carol Armstrong
Christine Bavaro
Mary Scott Birdsell
David Breneman
Jane Buck
Regan Folan
Margaret Frishkorn
Cindy Galant
Mark Hampton
Sheila Johnson
Paulette Katzenbach
William  Marr
Dan Meyers
Jason Palmer
Stewart Roberson
Andy Rotherham
Paul Sartori
Marvin Schoenhals
Gib Staunton
Merrill Staunton
Stanley Trent

Memo from the Trustees of the Darden School Foundation to the BOV

June 25, 2012

The trustees of the Darden School Foundation endorse the statement to the Board of Visitors from the University of Virginia deans, including Darden’s Bob Bruner, dated 21June 2012, in which they call for the reinstatement of Teresa Sullivan as president of the University and a collaborative and progressive approach to meeting the challenges of the University.

We do not make this suggestion lightly. We are aware of both the dedication and responsibility that the Board of Visitors has for the University and the fact that the
Board members have acted in what they believe is in the best interest of the University.

We stand ready to support the Board of Visitors, Dean Bruner, the Darden faculty and staff and all other University stakeholders, as we collectively begin the process of recovering from the recent events and planning for the future.

Email from George Cohen, UVA Faculty Senate chair, to the University community

June 25, 2012

President Sullivan's reinstatement is our focus for the next 36 hours.

We pledge to follow her example of dignity and grace in the face of crisis, and we ask you to do the same.

While the outcome of tomorrow's Board meeting is by no means certain, we want to allow members of the Board the ability to make a thoughtful and well-reasoned decision. It will be the most important vote they will cast during their service to our great University. 

As a result of this untenable situation, we have found an extraordinary strength within our own community to move the University of Virginia forward. These new bonds will sustain us as we continue our support for the reinstatement of President Sullivan, and as we begin to focus on future work that will be needed to make the University stronger and better than ever.

Tomorrow we will gather on the Lawn beginning at 2:30 p.m. and remain until the Board meeting concludes. We intend to be a silent force of support for President Sullivan, as well as for members of the Board.

Let us all join together to FILL THE LAWN WITH GRACE AND DIGNITY from the Rotunda to Old Cabell Hall.

SEAS/UVEF Trustee Memo to BOV

June 25, 2012

The Trustees of the School of Engineering and Applied Science/University of Virginia Engineering Foundation (SEAS/UVEF) promote engineering education and research at the University of Virginia, and are responsible for all fund-raising, alumni affairs, and external communications for teh School of Engineering and Applied Science.

On June 21, 2012, the Council of Foundations of the University of Virginia, of which SEAS/UVEF is a member, approved the following statement:

As individual members of the Council of Foundations, we move unreservedly to support President Teresa Sullivan continuing as President of the University of Virginia.

The SEAS/UVEF Executive Committee, authorize to act on behalf of the SEAS/UVEF Trustees, fully endorses the Council of Foundations' statement, and calls for President Teresa Sullivan continuing as President of the University of Virginia.

Vincent H. Derr
President, SEAS/UVEF Trustees

Memo on behalf of the UVa School of Architecture Foundation Board of Trustees to the BOV

June 24, 2012

While we appreciate the difficulties of governing that the Board of Visitors faces during these challenging times, the decision and sequence of events of the last two weeks have caused consternation and division within the University community. The flawed process and lack of transparency have obscured the facts of the matter.

Given the resultant damage to the University's reputation and morale, it seems the consensus among faculty, staff, students and alumni is that the interests of the University would be best served by the reinstatement of Teresa Sullivan as President of the University of Virginia.

The School of Architecture Foundation Board would whole-heartedly support such an action. We also request that a dialogue occur involving the broad constituencies of the University, to consider the long-range implications of any strategic change to our core Jeffersonian academic legacy.

Memo from the College Foundation to the BOV on the Reinstatement of Teresa Sullivan as President of the University

June 24, 2012

Earlier today we participated in a conference call with more than 50 current and former trustees of the College Foundation. We also have heard from many others by email.

Although no formal votes were taken, the alumni frankly shared their perspectives and opinions about recent developments at the University. The consensus was overwhelming support for reinstating Teresa Sullivan as President of UVA, just as called for by Meredith Woo and her fellow deans in their June 21 memo to the Board of Visitors.

As you deliberate on Tuesday, please know that we, along with others from the College Foundation and its Emeritus Society, join Dean Woo in committing ourselves to working with President Sullivan, the Board of Visitors, and University leaders to address the complex challenges facing our beloved alma mater. Indeed, many of the issues brought forward through this process are the exact topics on which the College Foundation has been focused since completing the South Lawn. We welcome collaboration in solving them.

Peter Brundage, President, College Foundation
Jeff Nuechterlein, Chairman, College Foundation Emeritus Society

Statement by the following members of the University of Virginia’s Council of Foundations in Support of President Sullivan

June 23, 2012

The Council of Foundations of the University of Virginia seeks to create an environment encouraging cooperation and collaboration between the different foundations, schools, units, and the Board of Visitors. It provides a voice from the members of the Council of Foundations to the Board of Visitors, allowing the Board of Visitors to communicate with and hear directly from the Council of Foundations.

The Council of Foundations of the University of Virginia made up of representatives of fourteen the University's separate alumni-supported foundations and representatives of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, and the UVA Library, has come together to issue the following statement.

As individual members of the Council of Foundations, we move unreservedly to support President Teresa Sullivan continuing as President of the University of Virginia.

We also urge the foundations represented in the Council of Foundations to join us in issuing similar statements of support for President Sullivan remaining in her position.

Members of the Council of Foundations:
Jeff Walker, Chair
Taylor Armstrong
Peter Brundage
Vince Derr
Henry Dudley
Bill Fryer
Joe Gladden
Bradley Gunter
Charles Henderson, M.D.
George Hurt, M.D.
Rick Kellogg
Allison Linney
Dan Meyers
Henry Skelsey

Message from the Burke Society, a prominent conservative student group

June 23, 2012

To the Board of Visitors and the community of the University of Virginia:

Over the past two weeks, our University has been engulfed in severe turmoil, the result of course of the Board of Visitors’ decision to compel the resignation of Teresa Sullivan as University President. The Executive Board of the Burke Society, having reviewed the situation, is, as a part of this community, with a stake in its civic vitality, compelled to speak out now.

In the face of demands from students, faculty, and alumni, the Board has failed to adequately explain the reasoning behind its decision. Rector Dragas’ most recent communication, outlining ten major challenges facing the University, is a start, but hardly a heartening one. Apart from blank hints, why exactly Teresa Sullivan was inadequate to the challenges outlined by the Board remains a mystery – perhaps one with a good
answer, perhaps not.

Most egregiously, the Board has failed to explain the process that led it to the decision to remove Teresa Sullivan. Neither faculty, nor students, nor staff, nor any but a select set of privileged alumni were consulted in the months leading up to this decision. It is little wonder that what reasoning has emerged has been greeted with such ridicule and hostility.

It has further been reported that one of several issues implicated in the Board’s action was the administration’s desire to secure the survival of such departments as Classics and German. If true, such reports are deeply troubling, evincing a Board deeply out of touch with the liberal arts tradition central to Mr. Jefferson’s vision, its mind set only on pecuniary matters.

At heart, the current turmoil is a conflict over the soul of the University, over its academic mission and its constitution as a community. It has become clear that the Board of Visitors has at present no interest in explaining itself to, nor consulting with, the community in its care. It is now suffering the consequences. We therefore call on the Board to be mindful of three basic principles at this time:

  1. Transparency: Right now, the University community needs to know that it can trust its governors. Not knowing what led to this decision makes this impossible. The Board should at this point explain fully to the community the process that led to Teresa Sullivan’s resignation, and begin a real conversation about what policies are actually required to meet the challenges it identifies.
  2. Consultancy: No university, let alone one intended to function around the communal model of the Academical Village, can prosper if its governors recklessly disregard the knowledge and opinions of the variable groups who make up this community. The Board of Visitors should take whatever procedural and structural changes are necessary to ensure that a decision like this will never again be taken without the input of the stakeholders – faculty, staff, students, and alumni– who make this institution what it is.
  3. Academic Integrity: The University of Virginia cannot retain its unique identity if its liberal arts tradition is sacrificed in the name of short-term financial goals. Programs such as German and classics are essential to the wide vision of informed citizenship that this University exists to inculcate. The Board of Visitors should publicly vouchsafe our liberal arts tradition, and ensure that voices concerned with its vitality inform our future course.

It is our hope that this situation may be resolved as amicably as is now possible, and that the Board take what actions are necessary in the coming days and weeks to ensure that this community will be able to maintain trust and good government into the future.


Roraig Finney President
Noah Reidelbach Vice President
Alexander Mezick Membership Chair
John Roach Finance Chair
Wendy Morrison Events Chair
Colleen Rigby Public Affairs Chair

Rector Dragas responds to McDonnell’s statement

June 22, 2012

Governor McDonnell is right that three meetings on this issue are enough, and we must get final resolution on this matter on Tuesday so the UVA family can move forward.

I also agree with him on the importance of providing clear explanations of our actions, as I aimed to do in my statement yesterday, while being mindful of the constraints of the confidentiality of personnel matters and the non-disparagement agreements in the President’s contract.

I appreciate the Governor’s leadership in affirming the importance of Board governance, and that we alone are appointed to make these decisions on behalf of the University, free of influence from outside political, personal or media pressure.

I look forward to a respectful and dignified meeting on Tuesday, and to an important discussion of the implications of any decision we make on the ability of future Boards to lead the University.

Statement of Governor Bob McDonnell on the University of Virginia Presidency

June 22, 2012

For nearly 200 years, UVA has trained America's leaders. The standards of excellence and conduct there have been a model for the nation since Thomas Jefferson defined them in 1819.

The last twelve days have been tumultuous for the University. Well-meaning people who love and are connected to the University have expressed strong and divergent opinions concerning the action to remove the President. Reasonable people may disagree. However, the manner in which those disagreements are expressed can reflect well or poorly on the institution as a whole.

When arriving at its decision to ask for the resignation of President Sullivan, the Board of Visitors made procedural mistakes which its leaders have acknowledged, including a lack of transparency and a failure in communication. A vote to remove the President requiring two-thirds approval of the Board was not taken, and the multiple board meetings and the ensuing predictable press frenzy have created great uncertainty imperiling the University's ability to move forward.

I have communicated these concerns to the Board in a separate letter that is attached.

At the same time, I am concerned about certain actions and statements from some members of the public and the University community. This should be viewed as a disagreement within the family, not a war. Mr. Jefferson would have expected a higher level of discourse where people forcefully and civilly express their concerns.

Continue Reading >>

Q&A with Carl Zeithaml after Statement to the Press

June 22, 2012

Letter from University Democrats to the leadership of the General Assembly from both parties and houses and Charlottesville-area representatives

June 22, 2012

In light of recent events concerning the resignation of University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan, the University Democrats urges the involvement of the Virginia General Assembly to investigate this matter fully. It is the belief of the University Democrats that the University of Virginia acts best as a true public institution through transparency, integrity, and self-governance. To comply with these founding principles, the University Democrats urges you and your fellow state legislators to act on the following proposals:

  • That the Board of Visitors reinstate President Sullivan.
  • That the Board of Visitors recommend representation by UVA faculty on the Board as voting members.
  • That the Rector resign in the best interests of the University.

The University of Virginia Board of Visitors has the authority to make employment decisions. The Board of Visitors also has the power to keep the decision-making processes hidden from public scrutiny. However, the students, faculty, and staff of the University of Virginia have the responsibility, when wrongs have been made, to stand up and make their opinions known. The University of Virginia students, faculty, and staff have the right to expect greater transparency from their governing body.

Thomas Jefferson wrote that “information is the currency of democracy.” The University Democrats recognizes that the University of Virginia is not a democracy, as clearly President Sullivan would not have been forced to resign under such a governing system. However, the University of Virginia possesses qualities of a democracy, a diversity of opinions, a forum for open dialogue, and the need for an honest exchange of information upon which to base judgments and decisions. The University Democrats urges the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate to apply the aforementioned reforms, which are consistent with those proposed by the University of Virginia Faculty Senate Executive Council, so that the University of Virginia students, faculty, and staff can better understand the events surrounding the resignation of President Sullivan and ensure the University of Virginia’s continuation as a renowned institute of higher learning.

The Executive Board of the University Democrats

Message from Carl Zeithaml regarding interim presidency

June 22, 2012

I am grateful for the trust that members of the University's Board of Visitors expressed in asking me to serve as interim president during this extraordinarily difficult time in the life of our University. I made the decision to accept this transition role because of my love for UVA, as well as my desire to help in a time of crisis.

In the three days since I accepted this  position, I have talked to many in our community about what transpired on Grounds while I was out of the country on University business, and I received a great deal of input from numerous colleagues, including members of the faculty. I deeply appreciate and respect this input.

Clearly, we agree that the University and its reputation have been damaged these past 13 days, but that together we can mend the harm done and move our great University forward. Trust, one of our core institutional values, has been compromised.

There is an enormous groundswell of support for Terry Sullivan's reinstatement as our president, and I understand that the Board will meet next week to consider this possibility.  As a result, I am suspending any further negotiations with the Board regarding my status as interim president, as well as any activities associated with this role. In the meantime, I will return my focus to the McIntire School.

Trust cannot be restored in our community until the President Sullivan's status is clarified and ultimately resolved.

With kind regards,
Carl Zeithaml, Dean of the McIntire School of Commerce


Read post-reinstatement messages here.

Reading part 2, responses from June 17-21.

Read part 1, responses from June 10-17.