UVA’s Faculty Senate went a step further today in its criticism of University leaders over their ousting of President Theresa Sullivan, even as Sullivan’s own appointees encouraged cooperation within the community.
The Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate held an emergency meeting Thursday to draft a resolution that both expressed "strong support of President Sullivan" and a "lack of confidence in the Rector, the Vice Rector, and the Board of Visitors"—the most organized and direct criticism yet leveled at the University’s governors since the surprise announcement Sunday that Sullivan would be stepping down in August after just two years on the job.
Meanwhile, Executive Vice President and COO Michael Strine and Provost John Simon—both Sullivan hires—issued a statement to the UVA community that acknowledged the "anxiety" on Grounds while calling the Board’s action "resolute and authoritative."
"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," they said in the e-mailed statement.
According to a notice issued by the Rector Wednesday night, the Board of Visitors will meet in closed session at 3 p.m. Monday to discuss the appointment of an interim president, and a public session will follow.
The full statement of the letter from Simon and Strine:
Deans, Vice Presidents, Faculty, Staff and Students of the University of Virginia and the Medical Center and the College at Wise,
The decisions of the weekend have generated anxiety on the Grounds and many of you are uncertain about their implications. We know that our community is presently unsettled by the unexpected resignation of President Sullivan.
We recognize that some seek more complete knowledge of events and details, some are still absorbing the news, and many have reached out to offer their understanding and solid support of our present duty. We are particularly appreciative of our academic and administrative leaders who have stepped up to share this challenge by reassuring their faculty and staff with strength, vision and optimism.
The Board of Visitors’ action is resolute and authoritative. The BoV will take the next steps on Monday to put an interim President in place and will follow with the establishment of a deliberate, principled and thoughtful search process for our next President.
We are committed to advance the University of Virginia, in partnership, and will support the leadership of the interim and next President.
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.
We ask that you join us in assuring that the University of Virginia continues to be a leader on the forefront of higher education and health care in the world.
Executive Vice President and Provost
Robert C. Taylor Professor of Chemistry
University of Virginia
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
University of Virginia