Members of General Assembly send open letter to U.Va. Rector

Posted at 10:01 PM, Jun 24, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-25 00:01:11-04

An Open Letter to Helen E. Dragas, Rector

University of Virginia

As graduates of the University of Virginia and current members of Virginia’s General Assembly, we have watched with dismay the events surrounding the forced resignation of President Teresa Sullivan from the University of Virginia.

The more information that has become available, the more troubling the action has become. The Board has yet to make clear the so-called “urgency” and “existential threats” to the University that have served as the justification for this action.  Admittedly, the University has challenges, and they have clearly been identified by President Sullivan in her May 3, 2012 memo to the Rector and Vice Rector (a memo circulated by the Washington Post).

But these challenges were known at the time of her appointment, and President Sullivan appeared to be making plans to address them.

The fallout of the action is being felt by faculty and alumni alike. First, there was the vote of “no confidence” in the Board of Visitors passed by the Faculty Senate. Second, there were the reports that major donors are withdrawing their support of the University. Third, there are the resignations of several faculty “stars” and prospects of more in the near future. Finally, Vice-Rector Mark Kington’s resignation raises further questions about the process.

Our conclusion is simple — the process by which President Sullivan was forced to resign was fundamentally flawed, dramatically at odds with our principles as the flagship University in the Commonwealth, and inconsistent with a transparent decision-making process required of a public University.

We call on you to reconsider the decision and reconvene the Board for the purpose of reversing the forced resignation.

We know you love this University and believe that the Board has simply misjudged the effect of this action. Now, you have the chance to limit this damage. We hope you will do so.


The Honorable David J. Toscano
House of Delegates, 57th District
UVA Law ’86

The Honorable Jennifer McClellan
House of Delegates, 71st District
UVA Law ’97

 The Honorable Joe Morrissey
House of Delegates, 74th District
UVA ’79

The Honorable Ken Plum
House of Delegates, 36th District

The Honorable Scott Surovell
House of Delegates, 44th District
UVA Law ’96

The Honorable John Edwards
Senate of Virginia, 21st District
UVA Law ‘70

The Honorable Mark Herring
Senate of Virginia, 33rd District
UVA ’83, MA ’87

The Honorable Chap Petersen
Senate of Virginia, 34th District
UVA Law ‘94

View the PDF of the open letter here.

For complete coverage of the ouster of University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan, just click here.