After hours of closed debate, the Board of Visitors at the University of Virginia appointed an interim president early Tuesday, rejecting faculty and student pleas to reinstate ousted President Teresa Sullivan.
Starting Aug. 16 -- when Sullivan officially steps down -- Carl P. Zeithaml, dean of the university’s top-ranked McIntire School of Commerce, will be the interim leader. Zeithaml was recently appointed to a fourth term as dean of the commerce school.
The marathon day/night at UVA was marked by rousing support for Sullivan. Rector Helen Dragas, the leader of the board, said the board overwhelmingly agreed to remove Sullivan, but she apologized for the perceived secrecy in which the decision was made.
Sullivan spoke out for the first time to thank supporters and defend her tenure.
But one person has been noticably absent throughout this whole saga: Gov. Bob McDonnell.
Because UVA is a public institution, the governor is responsible for appointing members to the Board of Visitors.
On Twitter, Larry Sabato, the director of the UVA Center for Politics, said the governors who appoint people to the Board of Visitors are accountable for this “disaster":
"McDonnell owns the disaster at UVA."
"Kaine appointed half the current BOV. He has nothing to be proud of either."
"GOVs, D & R, appoint rich donors who have essentially bought BOV seats with campaign $. It's a rotten spoils system."
The Augusta Free Press had a column saying that the silence from McDonnell was deafening.
The only public comment from McDonnell on the matter to date, meanwhile, came on a conference call with reporters on Friday to discuss his ongoing European trade mission. When asked to weigh in, McDonnell offered the ultimate copout, saying that he would not micromanage the decision of the board.
The governor will be forced to play his hand in the days leading up to July 1, when Dragas is up for reappointment to a second four-year term on the Board of Visitors. If McDonnell were to reappoint her, that would send a clear signal that he was indeed micromanaging the departure of Sullivan, UVa.’s first female president.
As to the why, well, we’ll just have to continue to speculate until the putschers are forced to finally reveal their reasoning.
While McDonnell has made it clear that he has no intention of meddling in the board's decision to replace the president, he had urged the Board of Visitors on Friday to act swiftly in appointing an interim leader to replace Sullivan.
Lt. Gov. Bolling said that he doesn't expect McDonnell to step in and doesn't think the BOV should be micromanaged.
More than a week later, it is still unclear why Sullivan was fired.
The mystery of Dr. Sullivan’s ouster only deepened last Friday, with the release of a bluntly critical 12-page strategy memorandum she wrote last month, which emphasized points -- including fund-raising, reorganizing the university and raising faculty salaries to stop a talent drain -- that Ms. Dragas has suggested are among her main concerns.
The confusion has contributed to a raft of theories about behind-the-scenes maneuvering. Among them, one reported by some news organizations held that a wealthy alumnus and donor, Paul Tudor Jones, a hedge fund manager, had been involved in the removal of Dr. Sullivan. Addressing that notion, Ms. Dragas said Monday that “there is not one single person on earth whose interests we would ever put above those of” the university at large, and “certainly not one donor.”
* Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Prince William, filed papers Monday to seek the GOP nomination for Virginia lieutenant governor. He will battle fellow Prince William politico Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors.
Lingamfelter, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, recently made news for his vocal opposition to the judicial nomination of openly gay prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland.
He has represented the 31st House District since 2002.
* Members of the House Appropriations Committed grilled Gov. Bob McDonnell Monday during an hour-long meeting where Republicans and Democrats tried to get answers about the $6.5 million incentive package that McDonnell OKed to keep the Redskins in Virginia.
* The Obama administration reversed a previous decision Monday and agreed to fund a controversial voucher program in its entirety that provides federal assistance to a limited number of D.C. students, according to the Washington Times.
The program has mixed opinions among city leaders and the White House tried to phase out the voucher program by only funding existing students for it.
But the program has some heavy weight supporters, including House Speaker John Boehner and Sen. Joe Lieberman, who pushed for the vouchers for both new and existing enrollees.
* D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray was excused from jury duty after pre-trial questioning at D.C. Superior Court, the Washington Times reports.