University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan
Ousted UVA President Teresa Sullivan said that if she were to be offered her position back, she would only accept if Rector Helen Dragas is no longer the head of the board that fired her.
The University community has been rallying for Sullivan’s reinstatement and, according to The Daily Progress, the Board of Visitors is confident of a majority favoring Sullivan’s reappointment.
But Dragas has made it clear that she has no intention of resigning.
This means that the cards are in Gov. Bob McDonnell’s hand.
Dragas’ first four-year term is up on July 1 and McDonnell must decide whether to reinstate her or not.
"[T]he governor has not stated what decision he will make. He must do this before Tuesday or the Dragas decision to oust Sullivan will almost surely stand.
Those favoring the resumed presidency of Ms. Sullivan might consider pointing out to Gov. McDonnell the dilemma he faces."
Here’s a video from a rally at UVA over the weekend, via Blue Virginia.
* A new poll found that while many Virginians consider themselves more conservative on economic issues than the president, more prefer President Barack Obama than Mitt Romney.
Forty-nine percent of those surveyed said they would vote for Obama on Election Day, while 42 percent said they would vote for Romney, according to the statewide poll by Old Dominion University and The Virginian-Pilot.
But 6 in 10 of those same polled respondents said the country’s economic policies should be more conservative than they are today — a sign that Romney could cut into Obama’s 7-point lead in the swing-state.
More than a third of those polled said they considered themselves social liberals, 44 percent said they’re conservative and nearly one in five said they’re moderates.
* Gov. Martin O’Malley and Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch met privately Friday night to discuss the state’s gambling impasse but reportedly made no progress, according to The Washington Post.
O’Malley had said that he wants to hold a special session on gambling the week of July 9, but a work group he commissioned recommended against that because its members were unable to reach a consensus regarding the proposed Prince George’s County casino and tax rates on casino operators.
After Friday’s meeting, according to the Post, aides to O’Malley indicated he had not ruled out calling a special session but made no suggestion that the session is likely or imminent.
* The penalties for getting a DUI in Virginia will become significantly more severe starting July 1.
The new state law will require people convicted of their first DUI to drive with an ignition interlock device, according to The Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The device prevents a car from being started when a driver is intoxicated.
The law currently requires first-time DUI offenders to use interlocks only if their blood alcohol content was .15 percent or higher. The legal driving limit is .08 percent.
* Virginia Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly may be in a liberal northern Virginian district, but he is also facing a moderate Republican challenger—a potentially bigger threat, according toThe Examiner.
His opponent this fall, retired Green Beret Chris Perkins, supports abortion rights as long as taxpayer dollars aren’t used and has repeatedly refused to sign a pledge never to raise taxes.
Connolly won his seat by less than 1,000 seats in 2010, prompting Virginia Democrats to redraw his district to include the decisively blue regions of Reston and Herndon.
* A Maryland organization says it has discovered hundreds of dead people listed on voter registration rolls in Baltimore and Prince George’s counties. The group, Election Integrity Maryland, says it has also found residents who have registered in multiple places and some who have addresses linked to vacant lots, according to The Baltimore Sun.
The group says it will dispatch volunteers to polling locations in November to watch out for problems.
But the findings of the group—which has ties to a tea party organization in Texas and advocates of voter ID laws—have been called into question as exaggerated and politically motivated.
* Mitt Romney will be in the Roanoke area on Tuesday, according to The RTD.
* Former Maryland Republican Robert Ehrlich Jr. criticized NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s soda tax in his latest Baltimore Sun column.
The Ehrlich boys sure love their summer Slurpees. Even the 50-something Ehrlich kid is not averse to indulging on the way home from those hot summer football practices. (Mom does not share our male addiction but usually lets us slide in the interest of family unity.)
That the Ehrlich Slurpee bonding experience takes place in Annapolis and not New York City is a good thing, as the Big Apple now deals with the latest assault on individual freedom from Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Ehrlich says unnecessary taxes can be a slippery slope and brings into questions recent taxes and regulations imposed in Maryland.
Recent tax increases and egregious regulatory measures in Maryland have forced more than a few Free State residents to think long and hard about their family's future residency. Neighboring states such as Pennsylvania, Delaware and Virginia lead the list of possible new homesteads for families inclined to reject our endless nanny-state indulgences. But one destination most assuredly not on the list of new venues is New York City. Here, the mayor-for-life (or at least the next two years) cannot seem to get enough of government intrusion into one's personal business.
* The saga unraveling at UVA has prompted some state lawmakers to say that they will reexamine the way the university governing boards work.
“I think the whole process by which people are appointed needs to be revisited,” said House Minority Leader David Toscano, D-Charlottesville. “I think there’s probably a role for having a designated slot for someone who has a lot of background in academia, perhaps a faculty member or retired faculty member, someone who understands higher education from the inside out.”
On his personal blog, Democratic state Sen. Chap Petersen listed a few reforms the General Assembly should try to implement in higher education.
Reduce the numbers. The current Boards are too numerous, which simply leaves all the power in the hands of a few committed people.
Term Limits at the Top. While I support President Sullivan, I personally think that the “President for Life” model at our universities is a mistake. (name your example). Presidents that are in office too long exert too much influence on the Board. The President of the U.S. is capped at eight years.
James Ceaser, a professor of politics at UVA, asked what Thomas Jefferson would think of the turmoil at UVA in an op-ed for the Washington Post.
Jefferson wrote to author Madame de Stael in 1807, “When wrongs are pressed because it is believed they will be borne, resistance becomes morality.” Many on campus are taking this sentiment to heart. One thing is clear: Had the board dropped its bombshell while classes were in session, with thousands of students in residence, the university would have come to a complete halt. The rector’s timing was probably deliberate. But when leaders of a university community engage in a maneuver of this sort, there is a good chance it will backfire.
What has been lost in the secrecy surrounding the board’s actions is any understanding of the educational issues at stake. News reports indicate that the board identified departments such as German and classics as a drain on resources, making them candidates for the chopping block. If true (so far the board has denied that it is), Jefferson would have argued against such cuts. He considered the study of Latin, Greek and Hebrew, as well as German, to be an essential component of the university’s curriculum. And he insisted on an education that “generates habits of application, of order, and the love of virtue.” There are financial bottom lines, and then there are academic ones.
Jefferson devoted the last part of his life to establishing the University of Virginia. It was one of his proudest achievements. In surveying the turmoil at the university today, he would surely be disappointed and troubled. But given his hopes for the “dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States,” he also would no doubt have found grounds for optimism.