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UVa. faculty hopes board walks back 'shocking' decision

Monday - 6/25/2012, 11:41am  ET

AP: ca63ffc1-a238-48bb-acab-eb64846d2f22
Carol Wood, left, associate vice president for public affairs at the University of Virginia, walks alongside UVA Rector Helen Dragas and Vice Rector Mark Kington to Madison Hall for a news conference after it was announced Sunday, June 10, 2012 that University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan would be stepping down. (AP Photo/The Daily Progress, Sabrina Schaeffer)

'There is no magic solution to any of these problems'

George Cohen, UVa. Faculty Senate chairman

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WASHINGTON - The faculty at U. Va. hopes the university's Board of Visitors will "do the right thing" on Tuesday and reinstate the ousted president, whose departure spurred "complete surprise, complete shock" in the Charlottesville campus, the chairman of the Faculty Senate tells WTOP.

Chairman George Cohen believes there may be enough support for the board vote on Tuesday, ordered by Gov. Bob McDonnell, to return Teresa Sullivan to the president's office and continue her work addressing the university's issues.

"We thought President Sullivan was the best person to help work through these problems," says Cohen. "We were all behind her and ready to stay with her and implement her ideas, and all of a sudden the rug got pulled out from under her."

The board's vice rector already has resigned amid the turmoil, and critics of the board's action have demanded the resignation of Rector Helen Dragas.

Dragas, who has acknowledged that the situation was handled badly, also issued a statement Thursday elaborating on why she thought Sullivan needed to go. She cited a lack of progress on funding issues, online education and other pressing needs.

The outcry from the faculty and many students, which prompted McDonnell to threaten removing the board if they didn't vote by Tuesday, is partially due to what they see as a lack of public dialogue from the board. Cohen says the communication needs to improve.

"We're trying to keep this positive and constructive and keep the discussion rational," he says. "We're going to continue in that vein and hopefully the board will do the right thing tomorrow."

Learn more about the sentiment on campus and the faculty's lobbying efforts in the full audio at right.

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