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Open Letter to the Board of Visitors from the School of Nursing faculty senators and chairs

June 15, 2012 — We, the department chairs and faculty senators of the School of Nursing are profoundly moved by the unexpected events of this week.  We are writing to express our solidarity with President Sullivan and our strongest disagreement with the secretive and unilateral process used by the Board of Visitors to oust a president we believe to be a positive and motivating force for the University of Virginia and for all of academia. 

We are very concerned, as are other schools at this University, that recruitment of top-notch faculty, continued quality education, and effective fundraising will be seriously harmed by the Board of Visitors’ action. We are also concerned that the continued reputation of the University, which prides itself on honesty, integrity, and unimpeachable honor, is in jeopardy.

The Board of Visitors must uphold the same qualities as the University and we believe that this is not currently the case.  Whatever the Board’s reasons for disagreement with President Sullivan, the process through which you demanded her resignation lacked the respect and openness which we associate with Mr. Jefferson’s University. 

We heartily agree with Hunter Rawlings, the president of the Association of American Universities and former president of Cornell who stated, “This is the most egregious case I have ever seen of mismanagement by a governing board. It’s secretive, it’s misguided and based on the public statements, there's no clear rationale.”

We were proud to belong to a University led by a woman of the stature and integrity of President Sullivan.  She has, on every occasion we can identify, displayed honesty, forthrightness, and integrity.  She had a tremendous grasp of the issues facing the University and higher education in Virginia.  She and the University deserve an open and honest accounting of the dealings of the Board of Visitors. 


Arlene W. Keeling, PhD, RN, FAAN
Professor and Chair, Department of Acute & Specialty Care

Pamela A. Kulbok, DNSc, RN, FAAN
Professor and Chair, Department of Family, Community and Mental Health Systems

Mary Gibson, PhD, RN
Assistant Professor
Faculty Senator

Kathryn Laughon, PhD, RN, FAAN
Associate Professor
Faculty Senator

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