A University audit of the Virginia Quarterly Review has recommended several changes to address employees’ concerns and improve the magazine’s financial and managerial accountability.
President Teresa A. Sullivan called for the audit Aug. 19 to address issues that surfaced after the death of VQR managing editor Kevin Morrissey, who committed suicide on July 30. Morrissey’s death precipitated intense media scrutiny of operations at the award-winning quarterly, a literary beacon since its founding in 1924.
Concerns about financial policies, relations between editor Ted Genoways and the VQR staff, the role of the publication within the University’s institutional structure, and human resources considerations spurred the report.
The audit, released Oct. 20, reflects analysis of more than 23,000 e-mails as well as scrutiny of financial records and individual interviews. Despite reports in the media that workplace bullying might have played a role in Morrissey’s suicide, the investigation found “no specific allegations” of bullying. The report does suggest that “appropriate corrective action should be taken with regards to the editor.”
Carol Wood, UVA assistant vice president for public affairs, said, “We will be changing policies and procedures in HR to assure that employees are able to report workplace issues without fear of retaliation and that they will get quick response.”
Recommendations include reconstituting VQR’s advisory board, defining its mission and specifying oversight of the journal’s operations, which will move under the Office of the Vice President for Research. Although the publication is currently on hiatus after publishing its Fall 2010 issue, Wood emphasized that “the University remains committed to publishing VQR.”