UVa. community awaits Board of Visitors vote

Signs on campus in Charlottesville the day before the Board of Visitors vote. (WTOP/Hank Silverberg)
How do U.Va. grads feel?

wtopstaff | November 14, 2014 8:47 am

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – It is quiet on the University of Virginia campus.

The only noise at the school is from construction crews doing renovation work on the Rotunda, designed by Thomas Jefferson.

But the scene will be very different on Tuesday afternoon when the Board of Visitors, under sharp criticism from the campus community, will meet again to reconsider the removal of President Teresa Sullivan from her job.

After Sullivan’s departure was announced, the University of Virginia community rallied against it, demanding to know why the abrupt decision was made without public explanation.

The faculty hopes the board will 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 Sullivan to the president’s office and continue her work addressing the university’s issues.

Student and faculty leaders have encouraged people to show up near the school’s rotunda, the site of the meeting, to show their support for Sullivan.

The mood on campus appears to be mixed.

Ed Wallen, an alumnus from 1999 visiting the campus with his wife and child, says the board’s actions were justified.

“I think they did the right thing by deciding she wasn’t being a strong leader and they need a strong leader in that position,” Wallen says.

But Taylor Meyers, who’s about to enter his fourth year at the university, is not happy with the way it was handled. He says he’d like to see Sullivan reinstated.

Some alumni, including Amro Naddy, a member of the Class of 2008 who was planning his wedding in a garden near the Rotunda, say they’re worried about the school’s reputation.

“It’s our Jeffersonian culture, which is really at odds with this group of political appointees that has made this super majority decision behind closed doors,” Naddy said.

McDonnell told the board to make a final decision at its 3 p.m. meeting Tuesday or he will remove them from the board.

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WTOP’s Hank Silverberg contributed to this report. Follow Hank Silverberg and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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