FINAL UPDATE from 6/28/12:
What an amazing couple of weeks. As President Sullivan said on the steps of the Rotunda this afternoon after being reinstated (6/26/12), we’ve seen the UVA community doing exactly what it’s supposed to be doing — constructing reasoned arguments and engaging in civil, public debate. Tuesday’s statements during the BoV meeting (by Rector Dragas, board member Heywood Fralin, and President Sullivan) were an inspiration. In public (and in church) life these days, we rarely see examples of leaders who can disagree strongly and still work together. Rarely do we see people make public mistakes and then courageously and graciously make them right again.
The community came together to make a wrong right again. The elation and relief on the Lawn was palpable. The Holy Spirit did indeed blow through Charlottesville today. Thanks be to God!
(To listen to our campus minister expressing relief and joy from the Lawn, just after the reinstatement Tuesday, click here for a story from National Public Radio.)
New Board of Visitors meeting schedule for Tuesday, June 26th, with the possibility of reinstating President Sullivan.
Interim President Zeithaml suspends his presidency until the Board meets.
The Rector, the President, and the Governor all issues statements.
Click on our Facebook page for continuing updates. Keep praying for all involved!
I have spent much of the last week glued to screens, constantly updating myself on the unraveling situation at the University of Virginia. Even for those of us right here, it has been a constant effort to keep up and follow the stories and turn of events. I know from our Wesley Foundation Facebook groups that many of you have been following along, too. Since I have heard from a few people asking for the story, I thought I’d share the main points and links with you here.
On Sunday, June 10th, the Board of Visitors announced the resignation of President Teresa Sullivan who was nearing the end of her 2nd year as president. It now appears that this was a forced resignation, organized by some but not all members of the BoV. Since that time there have been endless calls for more information and an explanation, with none offered by the BoV. The Faculty Senate called for President Sullivan’s reinstatement and for the rector and vice rector of the BoV to step down (you can see their statements and ongoing action here: http://www.virginia.edu/facultysenate/index.html).
On Monday, June 18th, the Board met to designate an interim president. President Sullivan asked to speak at the meeting and her remarks are here: http://www.wina.com/Sullivan-Speaks-UVA-President-Shares-Her-Side-Of-T/13478812. As the Board met, 2000 people gathered on the Lawn in a rally of support for President Sullivan and to protest the Board’s decision. After an 11+ hour meeting that finally ended around 2:30 in the morning Tuesday the 19th, the Board announced Carl Zeithaml (Dean of McIntire Commerce school) as the interim president. A good recap timeline, with links to all the relevant statements by various parties, can be found here on the UVA website: http://www.virginia.edu/uvatoday/newsRelease.php?id=18863.
Tuesday June 19th, The Cavalier Daily and The Washington Post released emailed correspondence obtained through the Freedom of Information Act indicating that Rector Dragas, Vice Rector Kington, and select others had been planning this for some time. The email also indicates that they were particularly interested in moving the university in the direction of more privatization/corporatization and online education. You can see the email here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/college-inc/post/e-mails-show-u-va-board-leaders-planning-teresa-sullivans-exit/2012/06/19/gJQAAytGpV_blog.html
By the end of the day Tuesday Vice Rector Kington had resigned (http://www2.dailyprogress.com/news/2012/jun/19/breaking-news-kington-resigns-bov-ar-1998990/?referer=None&shorturl=http%3A%2F%2Fbit.ly%2FNfAEZc).
Esteemed University Professor William Wulf also resigned, in protest of the Board’s refusal to reinstate President Sullivan (http://www.cavalierdaily.com/2012/06/19/kington-wulf-resign-following-boards-refusal-to-reappoint-sullivan/).
A “Rally for Honor” is planned for the Lawn this Sunday, June 24th, 2-4pm (https://www.facebook.com/events/407375069312573/?notif_t=plan_user_invited ).
As you can see, things have changed quickly around here and the news continues to evolve and unfold each day. That’s the best recap I can give you, with some pointers in the direction of dependable news sources. If you are looking for more to read on your own, I recommend these sites: www.readthehook.com , http://www2.dailyprogress.com/ , http://www.washingtonpost.com/regional National Public Radio finally picked up the story yesterday and you can listen to a brief report here: http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=155390808&m=155390917
For UVA Alumni, the Alumni Association is soliciting input: “If you would like to share your thoughts with the Board of Visitors, or comment again, please do so by 5 p.m. EDT on Thursday, June 21. On June 22, we will again present your comments to the rector and vice rector. Please visit this page to comment.”
On Facebook, this group has been a helpful and timely way to glean information and communicate with others, as this continually unfolds: https://www.facebook.com/groups/332890806789033/
If you would like to raise your voice about these events, Virginia’s General Assembly and Governor’s office are accepting calls, email and letters: http://conview.state.va.us/whosmy.nsf/main?openform and http://www.governor.virginia.gov/CommunityRelations/ You can reach the UVA Board of Visitors here: http://www.virginia.edu/bov/ And, of course, you can reach your national elected officials here: http://www.house.gov/ and http://www.senate.gov/
Thanks for your interest in what happens here and on other campuses throughout Virginia and the country. It really does matter and it matters that the church is here. Please keep praying for all involved.
Rev. Deborah Lewis
Director & Campus Minister