UVA Board to meet Tuesday for possible reinstatement vote

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Three members of UVA’s Board of Visitors have called for an emergency meeting of the Board, set for Tuesday at 3pm, to "discuss possible changes in the terms of employment of the President."

It’s evidence that Sullivan’s supporters on the 16-member Board—down a voting member after the resignation of Vice Rector Mark Kington earlier this week—believe they have enough votes to reinstate her the emergency meeting, which, unlike the near 12-hour marathon of Monday night, will be public.

An emergency meeting of the Board must be called three business days in advance, making Thursday at 5pm the deadline for requesting one Tuesday. Bylaws require no fewer than three members make the call. UVA spokeswoman Carol Wood told the C-VILLE that the Board members who requested the meeting were A. Macdonald Caputo, Timothy Robertson, and Hunter Craig. 

Caputo was one of two who abstained from voting on the appointment of Carl Zeithaml as interim president at the end of the Board’s long meeting earlier this week. Craig expressed regret at not being able to reinstate Sullivan at the same meeting. 

The assumption that they and Robertson could scrape together enough votes for a reinstatement doesn’t seem far off the mark. Board member Heywood Fralin voted no on Zeithaml’s appointment, and Robert Hardie also abstained. Member Glynn Key left the meeting early, which has led many to speculate she’d come down on the side of Sullivan in a vote. 

That makes six members who could be considered likely to favor reinstatement. And with no Kington—understood to be one of the architects of the ouster along with Dragas—Sullivan’s supporters on the Board would only need eight votes to carry the day.

The announcement of the special meeting came at the end of another day of widespread protest against the Board’s actions in forcing Sullivan out of the president’s office. UVA’s Faculty Senate fired off a message repeating demands for Dragas to step down, and sent a letter to Governor Robert McDonnell blasting the Board. All but one of the University’s deans signed a letter requesting the Board reinstate Sullivan. The only missing name was Zeithaml’s, but his fellow deans declined to ask him to join them, preferring to avoid putting him in a "difficult position."

There was a grassroots e-mail effort, too; once the Washington Post ran a story reporting Sullivan supporters would make a bid to reinstate her, faculty from multiple University departments sent repeated messages to alumni and current students urging them push the Board to vote to return Sullivan to office.

Meanwhile, members of the UVA community are planning yet another rally on the Lawn, this one dubbed the "Rally for Honor." Students, faculty, and alumni are encouraged to turn up between 2 and 4 pm Sunday, June 24 to "protest the lack of transparency and respect within the governing Board of Visitors."

 

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