Afternoon Read: McDonnell Reappoints Dragas to UVA Board

Gov. Bob McDonnell announced today that he reappointed Rector Helen Dragas to the UVA Board of Visitors, saying he was concerned that the first female rector seemed to be the sole target of the criticism against UVA in recent weeks.

As head of the BOV, Dragas spearheaded the ousting and—after much outrage and turmoil—the reappointment of  UVA President Teresa Sullivan.  Former Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, first appointed Dragas. Her first term is over July 1.

I have also reappointed Helen Dragas to the board. Ms. Dragas was appointed to the board by my predecessor Governor Tim Kaine in 2008 and elected rector by the board's members in 2011.  Prior to that appointment, she had served on the Commonwealth Transportation Board and the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia, in both cases through appointments made by Governor Mark Warner. During her four-year term on the board she has been a strong and dedicated board member, committed to advancing the mission of the university.

"Just as I was disappointed to see the lack of transparency and communication surrounding the request for the resignation of the first female president of UVa, I am also concerned that the first female rector seemed to become the sole target of recent criticism. While there is no doubt that the board made several mistakes in its actions, which it has publicly admitted, this is not a time for recrimination. It's a time for reconciliation. I have been heartened by recent statements made by president Sullivan, the Board of Visitors and by the faculty senate chair about their ability to work with the rector. As Faculty Senate Chairman George Cohen said to The Richmond Times-Dispatch, "She (Dr. Sullivan) said she can work with the rector. I think we can work with the rector as well." That kind of commitment to unity, healing and advancement is crucial to the university's success in maintaining itself as a pillar of higher education to pursue the growth of knowledge and advance the human condition. Today's reappointment is made in that spirit and with that purpose. I look forward to the board and administration moving forward together.  The university's tradition is the embrace of inquiry, critical thinking and change, which the rector and many others bring to the table. Ms. Dragas's serious critique of the challenges facing the university is a voice that must be heard, and can help, in ensuring UVa remains one of the world's foremost institutions of higher learning.

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In all, he appointed six people to the BOV and two senior board advisors, new positions he created.

The senior board advisors roles “will be to provide the board with wise counsel on an array of matters and to assist the university in solving strategic and communications challenges, based on their decades of institutional knowledge and understanding of the university.”
* McDonnell—who chairs the Republican Governors Association--has been making the cable news rounds decrying the Supreme Court’s passage of healthcare.
Here he is on CNN saying that while Virginia will comply with the law, he hopes a new Congress and president repeal it. (h/t Wash Post)
McDonnell’s neighbor—Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who is the head of the Democratic Governors Association—criticized him for, well, slamming the health care law.
On a conference call with reporters Friday, O’Malley referenced McDonnell as an example of a state leader who has not prepared his states to deal with the new law, according to The Post. The law requires states to set up exchanges for residents to purchase health care.
O’Malley said his state will fare better economically over other states because Maryland has already put in substantial work into implementing the system.
Via Post:
“We are ready and willing and very happy to share what we’ve learned in this process with governors of both parties,” said O’Malley, who spoke on a conference call with Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D). The call was set up by the Obama camp.
* Virginia and four other states were granted a waiver from the No Child Left Behind requirement that all students test proficient in math and science by 2014, a goal the nation remains far from achieving.
In exchange, the states and all others granted waivers must develop accountability plans that set new targets for raising achievement, advancing teacher effectiveness, preparing all students for careers and college, and improving the performance of low-performing schools. 

The Baltimore Sun has a list of the some of the top big spenders among Maryland lobbying companies.
The top two spenders: Penn National Gaming, Inc., which spent more than $870,000 and The Maryland State Education Association, which spent more than $500,000.

 * The District's Department of Transportation is looking for a company to sell ads at the District's Bikeshare stops. Read more at WCP's City Desk.

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