The questions surrounding Teresa Sullivan’s unexpected resignation continue today as more information becomes available. Since the decision was announced Sunday, many faculty and students have responded to Sullivan’s resignation by pushing for more details. The Board, however, has remained mostly quiet in answering these questions.
The decision, which was understood as unanimous by some in Governor McDonnel’s offices and as a 15-1 vote with one abstaining according to Provost John Simon, appears to have left at least three board members out of consideration. These members claim to have known nothing about the decision that Dragas characterized as the subject of “ongoing dialogue” until just days before the resignation was announced to the university community. This development has caused even more controversy and outrage from U.V.a students and faculty.
A petition on change.org calling for the reinstatement of Sullivan as the President, has reached 1,900 signatures and is growing. Many of the signatories are calling for the Board to provide reasoning for the decision to remove Sullivan as President. The topic has also been trending on Twitter and a new Facebook page in support of Sullivan has been created.
The University of Virginia’s Student Council has also been a part of the overwhelming response to the resignation. Today, StudCo responded to the Board of Visitors in an open letter on their website. The group has requested “a full explanation of the events and circumstances surrounding the departure of President Teresa Sullivan.”
Faculty Members have also been vocal about their concerns. Chairman of the Department of Media Studies at the University, Siva Vaidhyanathan said that the source of faculty frustration comes from the Board’s inability to answer two simple questions: “What was the nature of the disagreement and what sort of person should be the President of the University of Virginia?” Since both questions remain largely unanswered, he and other faculty members took this as a “bad sign.”The Faculty Senate’s executive council issued a statement of support for Sullivan while also releasing a vote of no confidence in the Board or its leaders. This move is unprecedented in the history of University of Virginia. Vaidhyanthan expressed his concern that the secretive nature of the decision and process “has endangered the University and its long term reputation.” In response to the growing controversy in Charlottesville, Governor Robert McDonnell released a statement earlier today in a conference call from London encouraging a dialogue to take place between the faculty and the board addressing Sullivan’s resignation.
The Board is scheduled to meet Monday to appoint an interim President. Vaidhyanathan said that this process might help the university community “learn a lot about what the Board expects from a permanent President.” During the meeting Monday students and faculty are invited to join together in a rally in front of the Rotunda to voice concerns and give support for Sullivan. “I think it’s really important for the Board of Visitors to look into the eyes of actual students” Vaidhyanathan said. He encourages students who are not in class and and still on grounds to attend.