Sources Say UVA President Sullivan Pushed OutPosted: Updated:
New allegations are emerging that University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan's departure wasn't as sudden as it seems. Sources say this has been weeks in the making, with Sullivan being offered an ultimatum just last Friday.
In addition, former UVA President John Casteen spoke out on Tuesday about the forced resignation of President Sullivan.
Quoted in a Chronicle of Higher Education article, he says the first woman president of UVA and the board of visitors should work things out. He is hopeful that Sullivan and the board of visitors can come to terms, but he understands mending fences can be difficult at this point.
Former UVA President John Casteen says he is hopeful that Sullivan and the board could work together. He said, "In the best of all worlds, I'd like to see them find a way to reconcile their differences. I don't know what their differences are."
The board of visitors said Sunday it wanted a different approach in leadership and that Sullivan is resigning after leading the university for two years.
Sources tell NBC29 the board of visitor's rector Helen Dragas and vice rector Mark Kington requested her resignation with no prior warning or board action. The rectors met with Sullivan Friday and claimed they had a unanimous vote among the board to force her resignation. However, sources tell NBC29 that some senior staff members are disputing that claim, and that no board of visitors members are willing to speak on the issue.
Nevertheless, Sullivan agreed to step down, rather than force a public vote.
One former UVA student agrees with Sullivan's departure. Logan Martin with the UVA Class of 1995, "I'd like to see people not rush to thinking it was a bad decision. The board is looking out for not just the faculty and staff but the students and the state of Virginia."
Martin says UVA needs someone who will protect Thomas Jefferson's legacy.
A senior member of the faculty tells NBC29 that the situation has tossed the university into a public relations nightmare, and that 90 percent or more of people at UVA are against the board of visitors' actions. The source went on to say that the situation, which was kept under wraps from just about everyone, has caused turmoil on the ground at the university and that many thought the initial email was a hoax.
Sullivan and the board of visitors are currently working out the terms of her departure, including how much she will be paid to end her current contract. Those terms are expected to be released in the next week or two.
According to Sullivan's contract, if the university labels her termination "for cause", she receives a year's worth of her base salary, which is $485,000. But if it's a resignation, she's entitled to nothing.
A search for an interim president is currently underway.