UVA’s Darden School Dean Joins Call for Reinstatement of University President
Darden School Dean Bob Bruner joined the deans of several other schools at the University of Virginia (UVA) in issuing a statement yesterday to the Board of Visitors (BOV) of the University and the media calling for the reinstatement of University President Teresa Sullivan. The BOV unexpectedly announced on June 10th that Sullivan would step down after just two years in her post as president, inciting an immediate and passionate response from the university community representing strong opinions on all sides.
The Wall Street Journal incorrectly reported that Bruner was the only dean of UVA’s 11 schools NOT to sign the statement, leading Bruner to post the following to his Dean’s Blog on Friday: “Yesterday afternoon, the Deans of the various divisions of UVA issued the following statement to the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia and to the media. The statement itself identified none of the co-authors. I participated in preparing this statement and lend my support to it.”
Together, the deans of the schools are calling for the reinstatement of Sullivan and her team so that they can address “rapidly, thoughtfully, and in a collegial but urgent fashion” the fiscal challenges that face the public institution in the midst of reduced alumni giving and a near 50 percent reduction in state aid. The BOV asked Sullivan to step down for not instituting quickly enough sweeping changes to how the university is run. Sullivan has said that she sought to take a more “incrementalist” approach, and protesters against her ouster have reacted to the BOV’s mandate as corporate-style, top-down management that violates the goals of a public institution, which should be based on open discourse and a sense of joint ownership and responsibility.
The BOV is scheduled to reconvene tomorrow to reconsider Sullivan’s dismissal. Sullivan has said that she will return on the condition that the board instead fires Board Chairperson Helen Dragas.