In early August, UVa Alumni for Responsible Corporate Governance released a Legislative Briefing Paper. The paper outlines short- and long-term, non-partisan legislative goals for Virginia’s General Assembly. The legislative agenda is our response to substantial, continuing corporate governance issues created by UVa’s Board of Visitors.
Our group is now posting materials to help Virginia alumni and other citizens around Virginia who are deeply concerned about these issues. The materials explain procedures that can be used to contact members of the General Assembly about UVa’s ongoing corporate governance problems. The posting can be found at https://reformtheuvabov.wordpress.com/ .
When the UVa Alumni Association’s proposed online wiki, “Alumni Forum,” becomes available, our group will seek to post these materials there as well.
Alumni and other citizens can use these advocacy points, and the Legislative Briefing Paper, to inform discussions with their delegates and senators of both parties. We suggest that alumni immediately begin emailing their delegates and senators; they should keep following up until the General Assembly’s January legislative session is over.
Many people understand that reconciliation after June’s Board of Visitors crisis has not worked. Therefore, these concerned Virginians should ask their representatives in the General Assembly to withhold approval of Helen Dragas’s nomination for a second term on UVa’s Board of Visitors. There are longer-term goals as well.
We hope Virginia alumni will point out these materials to their friends around the Commonwealth. Current students should discuss these issues and materials with their parents and friends. This non-partisan, bi-partisan legislative campaign starts now.
Richard D. Marks ‘66
UVa Alumni for Responsible Corporate Governance – The Legislative Campaign
Updated as of October 10, 2012
The Virginia Senate and House of Delegates will vote in January, 2013 whether to confirm appointments to the Board of Visitors.
YOU SHOULD START CONTACTING YOUR LEGISLATORS IMMEDIATELY.
If you are a UVa alumna or alumnus who lives in Virginia and if you are concerned about the University’s corporate governance and Board of Visitors issues, please consider supporting the legislative aims outlined in the Legislative Briefing Paper available by clicking this link.
We are asking both the Virginia House of Delegates and Virginia Senate not to approve the nomination of Helen Dragas to serve another term on UVa’s Board of Visitors. If either house does not affirmatively approve Ms. Dragas’s nomination in January, that would disqualify her from serving another term on the Board.
(In January, each house of the General Assembly must pass a resolution listing the names of the nominees whom they approve for UVa’s Board of Visitors. We are asking the House of Delegates and the Senate each to leave Helen Dragas’s name off their list of approved nominees.)
We would prefer to have seen reconciliation at UVa succeed, as Gov. Bob McDonnell had hoped. Reconciliation has not worked, however, despite the Governor’s best efforts, and events continue to show that reconciliation cannot succeed so long as Ms. Dragas remains on UVa’s Board. Reconciliation turns out not to be a realistic hope. That reality makes this legislative initiative necessary.
This initiative is a bi-partisan, non-partisan effort. Our work starts with the Republican and Democratic caucuses in the House of Delegates. Contacting the Senate will come later, after the General Election.
The Republican caucus in Virginia’s House of Delegates is the first to meet – it will meet this month, in October, to work on the caucus’s 2012 legislative priorities. Their discussions may well affect how Republicans in the House of Delegates vote on Ms. Dragas’s nomination. Therefore, if these issues are important to you and if your delegate is a Republican, please consider acting right away by emailing or meeting with your delegate prior to the Republicans’ caucus.
For those of you whose delegates are Democrats, please be prepared to email or meet with your delegate once the Democrats announce when they will hold their caucus.
We believe that delegates and senators in both parties will view UVa’s governance issues and Ms. Dragas’s nomination as a non-partisan issue that affects:
- UVa’s reputation and ability to recruit outstanding new faculty;
- UVa’s operational efficiency and integrity;
- UVa’s ability to raise funds; and
- Restoration of the Board of Visitors’ moral authority to help lead UVa in the age of digital technology.
Members of the House of Delegates in both parties are already discussing these questions among themselves.
Therefore, we ask you to contact your Virginia delegate and your state senator immediately. Let each of them know you strongly support the aims set out in the Legislative Briefing Paper.
There are also larger questions about how Visitors are selected, and about the continuing lack of openness and clarity regarding UVa’s June crisis. Addressing those questions may take more time than the short January session affords. Regardless of whether those complex issues are addressed in this session, however, the General Assembly must vote whether to affirm the 2012 Board nominations.
In January 2013, the Senate and House of Delegates will each vote on whether to affirm Helen Dragas’s nomination to serve a second four-year term on UVa’s Board of Visitors. Ask your delegate and senator to vote in January not to include Ms. Dragas’s name on the list of approved nominees for the BOV.
The Legislative Briefing Paper summarizes reasons for these requests to your delegate and senator.
Virginia House of Delegates contact list: http://dela.state.va.us/dela/MemBios.nsf/MWebsiteTL?OpenView
Virginia Senate contact list: http://apps.lis.virginia.gov/sfb1/Senate/TelephoneList.aspx
Click on the name to get full contact information for each delegate and senator. You can see office phone numbers, email addresses, and office addresses.
Should you wish to participate in this effort, you can also use this blog to post reports about your emails, letters, phone calls, and visits with your delegate and senator.
- Please consider reporting all your contacts with your delegate during the month of October.
- In the weeks after the general election in November 2012 and before the General Assembly’s votes on the 2012 Board of Visitors nominations in January 2013, please consider contacting your delegate and senator more than once. Emphasize the importance you place on these issue and gauge his or her position on rejecting Ms. Dragas’s nomination.
- Watch this blog for updates.
Alumni both within and outside Virginia also can use this blog to contribute their suggestions about the legislative effort outlined in the Legislative Briefing Paper.
The University of Virginia’s reputation and future success are important to all of us. Consider joining and supporting this legislative campaign with your energy, persistence, and vigilance.
Please share word of this advocacy project with other concerned Virginians and with other UVa alumni wherever they may be.
[For full disclosure, Andrew Stuart and Edward C. Swindler are members of the board of directors of WUVA, Inc., and Richard D. Marks is its general counsel.]