Sullivan ouster highlights nationwide university problems

WASHINGTON – Former University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan may have been ousted by the Board of Visitors due to a difference in philosophy on budgets and fundraising.

The university’s board named Carl Zeithaml interim president early Tuesday, after a nearly 12-hour meeting. Later in the day, the vice rector of the Board of Visitors resigned.

George Mason University public policy professor Lee Fritschler says Sullivan’s ouster shows a “…conflict or clash between those who think that universities should be run like a business and those who see universities as somewhat, even quite, different.”

Additionally, former University of Virginia Vice President Robert O’Neil says the university’s budget is already quite lean.

“I remain baffled about the notion that somehow there was a different tougher, harder budgeting process that she should have pursued,” says O’Neil. “It does not make any sense to me.”

Fritschler says the situation is an example of the conflicts facing other universities across the country.

“Traditional university education is threatened from a lot of directions but this is a clear example of it in my mind,” says Fritschler.

Gov. Bob McDonnell says the board could have been more transparent in its decision, but he won’t interfere.

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

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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