Thomas Jefferson was a prolific writer, and among his 28,000 letters, one might find a quote to bolster almost any position. Among the statements, speeches and op-eds written during President Sullivan's resignation and reinstatement, Jefferson's words were invoked to explain the mission of the University, the need for change and the imperative of righting wrongs. Below are just a few examples.
Rector Helen Dragas, in announcing Teresa Sullivan's resignation, June 10:
We remain guided by Mr. Jefferson's inspirational vision: "The great object of our aim from the beginning has been to make this Establishment the most eminent in the United States."
From President Teresa Sullivan's statement to the Board of Visitors, June 18:
The College Republicans' letter to Gov. Bob McDonnell, June 19:
As Mr. Jefferson rightly noted, "We might hope to see the finances of the Union as clear and intelligible as a merchant's books, so that every member of Congress and every man of any mind in the Union should be able to comprehend them, to investigate abuses, and consequently to control them." Mr. Jefferson believed in transparency in matters of state, and the events at UVA are no exception to this principle.
Deans and professors request a full and clear explanation of the Board's decision in a letter to Gov. Bob McDonnell, June 21:
"For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it."
University Democrats urge the General Assembly to take action based on the University's founding principles of transparency, integrity and self-governance in a letter, June 22:
Thomas Jefferson wrote, "Information is the currency of democracy."
Gov. Bob McDonnell, in a statement demanding a decision from the Board regarding the UVApresidency, June 22:
[Thomas Jefferson] noted in his first inaugural address, "Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle."
On behalf of the faculty senate, George Cohen makes a final statement in support of Sullivan before the Board meeting, June 26:
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 … 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."
Reinstated President Teresa Sullivan addresses supporters on the Lawn, June 26:
As we know, Mr. Jefferson provides a perspective for every occasion. And I'm reminded of his letter to James Warren after the election of 1800 in which he says, "It is pleasant for those who have just escaped threatened shipwreck, to hail one another when landed in unexpected safety."