UVA Board Names Commerce School Dean Interim President After 10-Hour Meeting

Commerce school Dean Carl Zeithaml named interim president

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBCWashington.com
    Former University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan

    After a marathon, 10 1/2-hour closed session, the University of Virginia Board of Visitors named an interim president, cementing the surprise, controversial ouster of Teresa Sullivan announced June 10.

    The Board voted to name McIntyre School of Commerce Dean Carl Zeithaml as interim president.

    Just one board member voted against the nomination.

    Heywood Fralin told News4's Julie Carey that the Board's decision-making process did not sufficiently include the faculty viewpoint.

    After more than 10 hours behind closed doors in the iconic Rotunda, the public meeting was over in just minutes -- but it didn't end the turmoil outside.

    Angry students chased down Rector Helen Dragas as she left under police escort. Shouting "Shame!" and "Why won't you talk to us?", the students trailed Dragas down the street.

    Dragas was the driving force behind the plan to force Sullivan out. She kept moving as students shouted questions and she told them, "Don't believe everything you read in the newspapers."

    Earlier in the day as the Board of Visitors meeting began, Dragas read a statement standing behind her efforts to remove Sullivan after just two years as president.

    "We have heard your demands for a fuller explanation of this action," said Dragas. "And while our answers may seem insufficient and poorly communicated, we have responded with the best we have to offer -- the truth."

    Her statement suggested two of the Board's greatest concerns were Sullivan's outside fundraising and her pace of reaching strategic goals. 

    Sullivan also met face-to-face with the Board for the first time since Dragas accepted her resignation. She defended her two years as president, telling the board, "I have been described as an incrementalist. It is true. Sweeping action may be gratifying and may create the aura of strong leadership, but its unintended consequences may lead to costs that are too high to bear."

    In a direct rebuttal to the rector,  Sullivan went on to say, "Corporate-style, top-down leadership does not work in a great university. Sustained change with buy-in does work." 

    After her remarks, Sullivan walked down the rotunda steps to the roaring cheers and chants of more than 2,000 supporters who had gathered on the lawn.

    The faculty senate executive council had earlier approved a resolution asking the Board of Visitors to reinstate Sullivan and they'd asked for Rector Dragas and Vice Rector Mark Kington to step down. Hours later, the board rejected both requests.