Honor Committee statement on Board’s handling of Sullivan’s resignation
June 17, 2012 — Last Sunday, the Board of Visitors announced the resignation of Teresa Sullivan as President of the University of Virginia. Although this decision does not involve an act of lying, cheating, or stealing, the announcement and following justification have been unsettling to our Community of Trust.
Despite the diversity of opinions about the Honor System, over the course of its 170-year history, it has consistently served as a distinctive ethical framework by which U.Va. community members conduct themselves and treat each other. We expect each individual to speak and act with honesty and integrity, and as such, trust serves as the foundation of our community.
The lack of information given by the Board of Visitors is troubling because it is perceived as running counter to the standards to which we hold each other accountable as members of this community. We do not deny the Board’s authority to make this decision nor question the merits behind it. However, the lack of a clear and full explanation has created an environment that is inconsistent with the value of trust that runs through the very fabric of our University.
We believe the Board of Visitors is a group of dedicated and caring individuals committed to acting in U.Va.’s best interests. We are also confident that this University will continue to offer a world-class education and unique opportunity for its students. The way in which we continue to excel is to live by the principles that have guided us to this point.
In times of challenge, it is often easier for individuals to remain passive. However, this institution’s values teach us that such a choice is unacceptable. We call upon students to come together to speak and act constructively, as student self-governance requires of us, to move this University forward. Our community is resilient, greater than any one individual, and will endure. Yet, we cannot fully move forward until the foundation of trust that sustains our community is renewed.
Stephen Nash, Chair
On Behalf of the University of Virginia Honor Committee