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Response of the College of Arts & Sciences Steering Committee

June 15, 2012 — Whereas on Friday, June 8, the Rector of the Board of Visitors sought and obtained the resignation of President Teresa Sullivan, representing to her that there were votes enough on the Board to remove her if she refused; and

Whereas the Board of Visitors had not actually entertained a formal motion to remove President Sullivan nor voted on such a motion; and

Whereas in announcing the President’s resignation publicly on Sunday, June 10, the Rector provided no clear, specific or persuasive reasons for the action of the Board; and

Whereas in the view of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences President Sullivan has, since her appointment and amid large challenges, carried out her duties conscientiously and constructively to the benefit of the University; and

Whereas in response to the faculty’s urgent requests for a clear, specific and defensible explanation of the reasons for the Board’s action, the Rector’s letter to the faculty claimed confidentiality and provided no such explanation; and

Whereas the Board of Visitors has proceeded in this matter in a non-transparent and non-consultative manner, seeking no opinion or advice from administrative officers, from the faculty, from the student body or from the alumni; and

Whereas the substance and the manner of the action of the Board have needlessly brought upon the University administrative instability, directional uncertainty, a tarnished reputation and considerable embarrassment; and

Whereas these consequences will inevitably discourage the appeal of the University to prospective administrative and faculty appointments, to prospective students and their parents and guardians, and to prospective benefactors and diminish the loyalty of present and past members of the University community; and

Whereas the faculty of Arts and Sciences believes that for all these reasons the Board of Visitors acted unwisely, inappropriately and contrary to the best interests of the University and by extension to the Commonwealth of Virginia more broadly, it is hereby


  1. the Faculty of Arts and Sciences expresses its high respect and deep appreciation to President Sullivan for her contributions to the academic programs of the University and to the spirit of the University community; and
  2. the Faculty of Arts and Sciences has no confidence in the Rector, the Vice-Rector and the Board of Visitors as a whole.
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