Governor to UVA Board: End Controversy or Face Removal

Board meets Tuesday

By Larry O'Dell
|  Friday, Jun 22, 2012  |  Updated 6:46 PM EDT
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Gov to UVA Board: End Controversy or Go

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Bob McDonnell

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Virginia's governor threatened Friday to replace the entire University of Virginia governing board if it fails to resolve the furor over the school president's ouster when it meets Tuesday.

Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a letter to the 15-member board that he will not tell members how to vote on President Teresa Sullivan's status but he expects them to act as a unified board after the decision is made.

“But let me be absolutely clear: I want final action by the Board on Tuesday,” McDonnell wrote in the three-page letter. “If you fail to do so, I will ask for the resignation of the entire Board on Wednesday. Regardless of your decision, I expect you to make a clear, detailed and unified statement on the future leadership of the university.”

University board members are appointed by the governor, who also has authority under state law to remove them for malfeasance, misfeasance, incompetence or gross neglect of duty. The board's vice rector already has resigned amid the turmoil, and critics of the board's action have demanded the resignation of Rector Helen Dragas.

McDonnell gave no indication on whether he will reappoint Dragas, whose term ends June 30.

The board announced Thursday that it will convene Tuesday to reconsider Sullivan's forced resignation. Students, faculty, university deans and alumni have rallied in support of Sullivan's reinstatement.

Carl Ziethaml, the university dean appointed as Sullivan's interim replacement, said Friday that he won't do anything related to the job until after the board meeting.

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