Did pressure from Governor force U.Va. leaders to reverse decision?

Posted at 12:10 AM, Jun 27, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-27 00:10:02-04

(WTVR)--Cheers erupted outside the University of Virginia rotunda, after the school’s Board of Visitors reversed its decision and unanimously reinstated president, Teresa Sullivan.

“I’m actually grateful for everything that’s happened. I hope we’re learning the right lesson from it,” said Sullivan.

Sullivan said one of those lessons involve working together. Earlier this month, the board forced Sullivan to step down, with both Sullivan and the board citing philosophical differences.

“One of the big roles of the president of the university is to raise money,” said longtime political strategist, Paul Goldman. 

He said this ordeal at U.Va. was centered on money. With U. Va. getting less funding from the state and federal government, board members made it clear, they wanted to move quickly at reorganizing the school’s fundraising strategy.

However, Sullivan wanted to do so slowly.

“One side decided, well, we’re the board--we’re going to do it our way,” said Goldman.

The board’s way infuriated students and faculty, who protested for days.

Governor Bob McDonnell played more of a role with Sullivan’s reinstatement.

Board members were preparing to move forward without her, until McDonnell directed the board to clean up the situation by Tuesday night or be forced to resign.

Goldman said it’s clear what the Governor was telling the board to do. “There’s only one way to definitively resolve it. If you don’t bring her back, the situation continues,” says Goldman.

Those with another view say, however, that the Governor was merely ordering them to make a decision one way or the other, so the university could move forward.

For complete coverage of the U.Va. ouster, click here.