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U.Va. COO Michael Strine resigns

Tuesday - 8/7/2012, 4:04pm  ET

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The University of Virginia's chief operating officer resigned Tuesday, less than two months after the failed ouster attempt and reinstatement of President Teresa A. Sullivan.

In a news release, Sullivan said Michael Strine, who also served as executive vice president, determined that his resignation was in the university's best interest. She also said his departure will allow her to conduct some internal restructuring and that the university "will not skip a beat" as it begins its search for a successor.

Strine, who came to the school after serving as chief financial officer and treasurer at Johns Hopkins University, had served in the leadership roles since July 1, 2011. In his role, Strine worked with both Sullivan and the university's board of visitors.

U.Va. officials announced June 10 that Sullivan would step down Aug. 15, surprising the university community and triggering an outcry over the lack of explanation about her forced resignation. In defending the decision, board Rector Helen Dragas had said the university wasn't acting quickly enough to address state and federal funding reductions, online education delivery and other challenges. Following large-scale protests and online petitions, Sullivan was reinstated June 26.

Emails released by the university through open records requests showed the roles Dragas and vice rector Mark Kington played in planning the ouster in the weeks ahead of the announcement and showed them exchanging links to articles addressing issues that surfaced in statements related to Sullivan's removal. Those emails also included mention of discussions with Strine and Provost John Simon regarding online education and the university's financial health. An email just days before Sullivan's forced resignation, Dragas wrote to Kington about setting a meeting with them.

Kington resigned June 19, stating it was "the right thing to do and I hope that it will begin a needed healing process at the university."

As other administrators, faculty and students condemned the board's actions, Strine remained silent except for a June 14 statement with Simon that was sent to the U.Va. community at Dragas' request calling the board's action "resolute and authoritative." They wrote: "We encourage all of us, even as we adjust and absorb this change, to focus constructively forward in preparing the institution for its next stage of leadership and our shared commitment to quality and excellence in teaching, discovery and patient care."

Sullivan did not reveal a timeframe to name Strine's replacement.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)