This is the final part of a four-part series compiling University communications regarding Teresa Sullivan's resignation and reinstatement as president of the University. Read part 1 (June 10-15), part 2 (June 15-21) and part 3 (June 21-26).
Comments from the community were collected on this post.
Joint Statement from the Rector and President of the University of Virginia
July 16, 2012
This is an important moment in the history of our great University. Recent events have caused the respect that UVA generates to acquire a new level of energy, focusing widespread attention on our future. We are unequivocally united in the belief that the institution’s future is brighter than ever. Together, we commit to harness this renewed energy to advance the University’s leadership role in higher education.
Our University faces the same challenges -- many of them resource issues, both financial and human -- as our peer institutions. We are prepared to address them in ways that are consistent with the vision of our founder, the integrity of our Honor Code, and the aspirations of our community.
As first steps, we will work to strengthen the networks of communication and collaboration between each other, as well as among all of our stakeholder groups: students, faculty, and staff; members of the Board of Visitors; alumni, donors, and parents; and key external constituencies in the Commonwealth and beyond. We also commit to engaging the community in the creation of a plan of action that will sustain excellence for future generations.
As leaders of UVA, sharing a common love for the institution and its mission in the world, we pledge to work together to ensure that our University remains a beacon for superb higher education, outstanding health care, and important research. We also call on those who share our love to join us in fulfilling Jefferson’s vision for the University to become the “bulwark of the human mind.”
We look forward to working with you on the critical and exciting endeavors that lie ahead.
Helen E. Dragas, Rector
Teresa A. Sullivan, President
Special Message from Teresa A. Sullivan
July 11, 2012
To my faculty and staff colleagues at the University:
Two weeks ago I was reinstated as the eighth President of the University. I write today to tell you what I have been doing and my plans for going forward.
Since the day I was reinstated, I have been taking soundings from many in the University community. The Governor has appointed new members of the Board of Visitors, and I have taken the opportunity to speak with them, with the Rector, and with incumbent Board members. I have also spoken with faculty leaders, staff and administrators, and with many alumni, parents, and community members. Although many of our students are not here for the summer, a number of them have also contacted me. It is fair to say that I am far behind in answering my mail.
The Marine Corps has a saying about "another opportunity disguised as a disaster." I believe it is important for us to regard the events of the past month as pointing the way to opportunities. Former Rector and Board member Heywood Fralin observed that the University community is more united than at any time he can remember. More than I could have ever imagined, our difficulties here have galvanized our stakeholders, both internal and external, in extraordinary ways. We are better positioned than ever before to address the difficult issues facing higher education. We are not different from the rest of higher education in having these issues; we are different in that we have displayed the unity to begin addressing them.
I do not believe that what happened divided us into winners and losers; instead, I believe that the University of Virginia will be the winner. But it will also be necessary for us to pursue reconciliation with those with whom we differed, to repair relationships that have frayed, and always to let civility replace hostility. To the extent that I am able, I will lead this effort by example.
We will have many conversations in the coming months about the University's direction and aims. Yet at this moment, I want to affirm:
DESPITE OUR FINANCIAL CHALLENGES, WE PROVIDE AN EXCELLENT EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE, often at a fraction of the expenditures of our peers. Public universities face difficult financial challenges, and we are no different: Tuition increases have not replaced the loss of state subsidies, and yet the tuition increases have placed serious burdens on many families. We receive less money today from the state's General Fund and tuition to educate an in-state undergraduate student, in constant dollars, than we did in 1989. Still, UVA has maintained triple-A bond ratings from all three major credit agencies for nine consecutive years, a reflection of our fiscal stability and sound management. The national prominence of Darden and Law indicates the success we can achieve when we are allowed to compete in the market without subsidy; whether this successful experiment could be extended to other fields is a matter of politics as much as economics.
OUR FACULTY AND STAFF are the future of the University. Our faculty brings passion, expertise, and considerable pedagogical innovation to their students, yet they and their staff colleagues have experienced salary stagnation for years. While of course it is important to continue to look for efficiencies, it is folly to think that cost-cutting alone will be our salvation. We face the replacement of a generation of faculty who have shaped the institution and are now nearing retirement. What we do in the next decade will determine UVA's continued prominence in its third century.
THE QUALITY OF PATIENT CARE is and will remain the top priority of our health care providers. The recent Supreme Court decision on health care will affect our Health System, no doubt in ways we cannot yet predict. Whatever the future of health care in this country, I will not rest until ours is recognized as the safest hospital in the nation.
We have come together with a sense of purpose and a conviction of how special this University is. The weeks ahead will give us the opportunity to discuss and debate the possible solutions to these and other issues. I plan to hold a town hall meeting closer to the opening of the fall semester to lay out some of the issues as I see them.
I want to thank all of you for your support and ask for your continued assistance. I believe Mr. Jefferson would be proud of your loyalty and engagement, and I know that I am grateful for them.
Very truly yours,
Teresa A. Sullivan
Statement by Governor McDonnell Regarding Appointments to the Board of Visitors to the University of Virginia
June 29, 2012
“While normally I would not make a statement concerning board and commission appointments, the events of the last three weeks at the University of Virginia have been anything but ordinary. They compel me to offer a fuller explanation of the reasoning behind my selection of the excellent people I am appointing today to the UVa board.
“The university has emerged from a challenging time, and remains an extraordinary, vibrant place that is a beacon of advanced learning across the world. And I am encouraged that, after the reinstatement of Dr. Sullivan, the tone at the university changed quickly this week from one of passionate disagreement in the family to one of willing collaboration. I thank the administration, faculty, alumni and student body for their engagement and desire to have the school they love continue to grow and excel.
“While some still have questions about the reasons for the board’s action, and others about the school’s strategic direction, the recent debate puts the university in a unique and positive position for frank dialogue and progress that most organizations never encounter. UVa now has the opportunity for an honest self-assessment to refine and improve upon a long-term vision for the university, and build on its exceptional reputation with candor, clarity, and collaboration. The school is being watched by all of those interested in the future of our nation’s public universities.
“This is not the first time that Virginia has been in a position to serve as a national leader. Therefore, it is imperative that as this conversation ensues the board evaluate and improve upon its own transparency, operating procedures, and communications with the faculty, administration, students and the public. Full transparency, constant civility and open dialogue will be crucial as the university evaluates its progress in meeting the goals set by the board, president and legislature.
“This year I have six appointments to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors. Cognizant of the need for varied and wide-ranging voices, I have appointed competent professionals to the board who come from the fields of academia, business, law and technology, and who can, while bringing different backgrounds and philosophies to the table, work well together in finding common ground and forging a shared path for Mr. Jefferson’s University.
“Today, I have appointed the former President of James Madison University and the former CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine to the board. I have also placed the chairwoman of the alumni association on the board. Another selection is well-known as the architect of many of the Commonwealth’s higher education reforms over the past several decades. Finally, I have appointed two female CEOs who are well-respected in their fields.
“I have also reappointed Helen Dragas to the board. Ms. Dragas was appointed to the board by my predecessor Governor Tim Kaine in 2008 and elected rector by the board's members in 2011. Prior to that appointment, she had served on the Commonwealth Transportation Board and the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia, in both cases through appointments made by Governor Mark Warner. During her four-year term on the board she has been a strong and dedicated board member, committed to advancing the mission of the university.
“Just as I was disappointed to see the lack of transparency and communication surrounding the request for the resignation of the first female president of UVa, I am also concerned that the first female rector seemed to become the sole target of recent criticism. While there is no doubt that the board made several mistakes in its actions, which it has publicly admitted, this is not a time for recrimination. It’s a time for reconciliation. I have been heartened by recent statements made by president Sullivan, the Board of Visitors and by the faculty senate chair about their ability to work with the rector. As Faculty Senate Chairman George Cohen said to The Richmond Times-Dispatch, “She (Dr. Sullivan) said she can work with the rector. I think we can work with the rector as well.” That kind of commitment to unity, healing and advancement is crucial to the university’s success in maintaining itself as a pillar of higher education to pursue the growth of knowledge and advance the human condition. Today’s reappointment is made in that spirit and with that purpose. I look forward to the board and administration moving forward together. The university’s tradition is the embrace of inquiry, critical thinking and change, which the rector and many others bring to the table. Ms. Dragas’s serious critique of the challenges facing the university is a voice that must be heard, and can help, in ensuring UVa remains one of the world’s foremost institutions of higher learning.
“In addition to the six official appointments I am making to the Board of Visitors, I have also asked Leonard Sandridge, a former executive vice-president of the university, and Bill Goodwin, a former board member and business leader, to serve as senior advisors to the board. Mr. Sandridge and Mr. Goodwin are very well-known and well-respected in the UVa community. Their roles will be to provide the board with wise counsel on an array of matters and to assist the university in solving strategic and communications challenges, based on their decades of institutional knowledge and understanding of the university. It is my hope that Mr. Sandridge and Mr. Goodwin will, at the board’s discretion and upon request, facilitate improved dialogue and collaboration in implementing the reforms in the Top Jobs 21 legislation, unanimously approved in 2011 by the General Assembly. It is also my hope that they will provide advice to help address the pressing items of concerns outlined by the board in recent weeks, and serve as trusted, experienced voices who will help the university grow, improve, and innovate in the years ahead. Both men understand the illustrious history of UVa; both men are committed to building an even more illustrious future. Their wisdom, counsel and advice will prove invaluable to the board.
“I am confident that in the years ahead the board, president, administration, donors, faculty, staff and students, and the larger UVa family across this Commonwealth, country and globe will work together with a renewed spirit of cooperation to develop solutions to the challenges facing UVa and, in fact, facing all public higher education institutions across America. The University of Virginia will lead this nation into the future, just as it has led it through the past.”
A Special Message to Parents of UVA Students
June 29, 2012
Thank you for your support over the past three weeks. During this time, the University of Virginia entered the national spotlight due to an unprecedented course of events surrounding the requested resignation and eventual reinstatement of President Teresa Sullivan by the University’s Board of Visitors. Your voices, added to those of alumni and others, have been instrumental in focusing on the key economic and governance issues entwined with the controversy – namely, how to meet the challenges of diminished public financial support for higher education and increasing student debt. Debate and decision-making around these issues will continue with openness, candor and a variety of voices and viewpoints at the table.
What should also be stated clearly is that the quality and excellence of the student experience at UVA was never called into question during the controversy. Everyone involved – faculty, alumni, the Board of Visitors and students – agreed that the education being offered to our students on the Grounds is second to none. In Student Affairs, we have always been proud of what we offer and treasure here – a strong undergraduate, residential experience rooted in our values and in human connection. Chief among these values are honor and integrity, self-responsibility and service. These values ultimately rose to the top as the UVA community united to resolve a difficult situation with civil discourse and honorable actions.
Together with the University’s faculty and academic leaders, my colleagues and I in Student Affairs remain as committed as we always have been to ensuring that your daughters and sons receive an excellent education, one characterized not only by classroom challenges but also by personal experiences in which they learn about themselves, contribute to the community around them and explore the world beyond them. At UVA, we seek for every day and virtually every interaction to be a learning experience for our students. Even the events of the past three weeks have served, and no doubt will continue to serve, as a learning opportunity.
If you reached out to us in the last three weeks, I hope you will keep the dialogue going. Your partnership with us in supporting your student, our work, and the mission of the University as a whole is extremely valuable.
We look forward to serving you and your student in coming months, and we hope to see you on Grounds soon. As always, please let us know if you have questions or concerns and how we can be of assistance to you and to your student.
Patricia M. Lampkin
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer
Email from the UVA Health Foundation
June 27, 2012
Dear School of Medicine Alumni and Friends:
By now most of you know that Teresa Sullivan has been formally reinstated as president of the University of Virginia. Along with the rest of the University, I am very happy to see the tumult of the past few weeks come to such a positive and optimistic conclusion. Of course, this is not an "end" at all, but, rather, the beginning of a new chapter. There remains much to do to restore and continue to elevate the reputation and stature of the University. I, along with the other college deans, am committed to moving forward rapidly and working with President Sullivan and the Board of Visitors to address the critical issues facing all of us. I am confident that, working together with renewed energy, we will find much success.
Over the past few weeks, I have heard from many of you. Your voices and actions played an important role in the reinstatement of President Sullivan, and were to me both an inspiration and a reminder of what a special institution UVA is, and the unique place it holds in our hearts. As we tackle the challenges ahead, we will need your support more than ever. I hope that you will continue to stay actively involved in our University and School of Medicine community and share in the accomplishments that you are helping to make possible.
Steven T. DeKosky, MD, FAAN, FACP
Vice President and Dean, University of Virginia School of Medicine
Message from Dean Carl Zeithaml to the McIntire Community
June 27, 2012
The events of the past two weeks have been, to say the least, extraordinary, thought-provoking, emotional, and unpredictable. Along with many others, I found myself thrust into the situation as a result of my commitment to help and my love for UVA. With the Board of Visitors' decision to reinstate President Sullivan yesterday, I am very happy to focus my thoughts and actions on my responsibilities as Dean of the McIntire School of Commerce. I now look forward to working with the Board, President Sullivan, other University leaders, my fellow deans, alumni, students, and my many colleagues across Grounds as we address the challenges to higher education and UVA raised by the Board and others throughout this process. With unity and resolve, UVA should become a model for addressing these issues in public higher education.
I hope that we all learned many lessons from this unprecedented experience. I want to share several that will, no doubt, be part of a much longer list as I continue to reflect on this process.
First, I will never take for granted or underestimate the tremendous importance of family and friends. The only reason that I survived some of the more challenging moments was the unwavering and unconditional support of my family, friends, and colleagues. It was both humbling and inspiring, and I deeply appreciate every message and action to support me. I will try to thank each of you individually over the coming weeks (I literally received thousands of messages), but please know that I will never forget your support.
Second, we always need to remain calm, patient, and balanced in a crisis, remembering that we should not assume the motives of others without good and accurate knowledge. I will never believe everything that I hear or read about someone without a real understanding of the situation. Many people assumed, wrote, or spoke a variety of things about everyone in this situation that were utterly false or misguided, often to fit their own biased agenda. I will strive to give everyone the benefit of the doubt in the future.
Third, our students and colleagues are the reason that we are committed to the University, and they uplift me in the most difficult circumstances. Last Saturday, I rejoined a group of our M.S. in Commerce students and faculty in Germany for the conclusion of their Global Immersion Experience. Although they thanked me for making the effort, I was the one who was really inspired by their excitement for learning and their enthusiastic engagement with each other and the McIntire School. Whenever I feel a little stressed in the future, I will just spend time with our great students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and I know that I will feel much better.
Finally, during my first morning back in Europe, I saw an American family in the hotel breakfast room, and one of the kids was wearing a college T-shirt. I thought about the controversy and the negative perceptions (many of them wrong) surrounding UVA, and I had a very brief moment of wondering whether I would want to wear a UVA shirt or cap in the near future. Immediately, however, I realized that we all need to rally around the University, not withdraw from or abandon our community, but instead redouble our efforts to make UVA preeminent.
We can all play a critical role. As a student, get involved with Madison House, Honor, Comm Council, or another organization to build community. As a parent, recruit top students from your local area to attend UVA. As an alum, volunteer to speak in a class or hire a UVA grad or two. Engage in the University by attending multiple concerts, games, or other events. Donate to McIntire and the University, as we will put your gifts to terrific use. Very simply, greater participation in everything from the life of the University to the Annual Fund will send a great message to the world. At this historic moment, we can publicly show everyone that we love UVA and help it move forward. I proudly wear a Virginia T-shirt as I write this message.
So, thank you for remaining loyal and supportive of McIntire and UVA through the crisis and the controversy. With your help, I promise that we will be much better for it. Enjoy the rest of your summer.
Dean, McIntire School of Commerce
Statement of Governor Bob McDonnell on the University of Virginia Presidency
June 26, 2012
I want to thank the members of the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia for their conclusive action today to bring the issue of the Presidency of the school to a close, as I directed last Friday. Since its founding in 1819, the University of Virginia has not only been the Commonwealth's educational flagship; it has been one of America's as well. An academical village dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. A school built on honor and excellence. A school with renowned and dedicated faculty and students that I trumpet around the world.
The past few weeks have not been easy for the University, and all those who love it. There has been too little transparency; too much vitriol. Too little discussion; too much blame. Now, with today's Board action, the time has come for Mr. Jefferson's University to move forward. The statements made today by Board members and President Sullivan were poignant and gracious and set the right tone for collaboration ahead.
I congratulate Dr. Teresa Sullivan on her reappointment to the post of President. Dr. Sullivan, and other presidents, have been valuable partners with our Administration in advancing important higher education initiatives. In Charlottesville, Dr. Sullivan's leadership has added nearly 1000 new slots for in-state students at the University, while reducing this year's tuition growth to the lowest increase in a decade. She cares deeply about the University. It is evident she is well-regarded in the University community. She steps back into the President's office with the best wishes of this Administration and the University community. The Commonwealth of Virginia must have a strong and vibrant University of Virginia that is a global academic leader.
Members of the Board have faced much criticism over the past two weeks. Specifically, much of that criticism has been directed at the first woman to serve as Rector of the Board of Visitors. This has been very unfortunate and counterproductive. It has not been in keeping with traits long associated with the University such as civility in discourse and open dialogue. The Board itself admittedly made mistakes and did not act with the procedural transparency that should be accorded such a significant decision. The Board did lay out, in subsequent days, pressing concerns that led members to believe changes at the University were necessary. The General Assembly and I, with great input from Dr. Sullivan, and other university presidents and boards, have set in place a road map for reform in the Top Jobs legislation unanimously passed last year, and we have put significant new dollars behind those goals this year. The objectives of expanding access to education, reducing tuition increases and student debt, facilitating more innovation and research in an atmosphere of academic freedom, are embraced by all. Now, I ask that Dr. Sullivan and the Board work closely together to address those issues and set in motion the strategy and tactics to tackle these challenges. The University of Virginia did not become a top-ranked University by avoiding challenges, nor did it become one of America's preeminent institutions of higher learning by failing to embrace change in the pursuit of excellence.
Today, in settling this disagreement within the family, the University of Virginia has taken another step forward towards reconciliation and the pursuit of excellence. I ask all concerned Virginians, no matter which side they may have taken over the past few weeks, to now take that step forward as well. The Board has appointed Dr. Sullivan as President of the University of Virginia. Now, the Board and Dr. Sullivan must, and will, work together to ensure that the University of Virginia continues to be one of the world's foremost institutions of learning and discovery in improving the human condition. That accomplishment is critical to the future welfare and prosperity of our beloved Commonwealth; the further diffusion of knowledge to the benefit of all; and greater access to the American Dream for generations of Virginians to come.