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Virginia Political Figures Comment on Sullivan Situation - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Virginia Political Figures Comment on Sullivan Situation

Posted: Updated: June 19, 2012 04:46 PM EDT

On Tuesday, the state's political powers behind the University of Virginia Board of Visitors are responding to comments about how the board handled the ouster of President Sullivan.

Governor Bob McDonnell says it's not his job to micromanage the board.  McDonnell held a conference call while overseas on Tuesday. The governor said he trusts the board's decisions in recent days.   

"If a governor ever starts to micromanage boards where they are going to be involved in the appointment or removal of a president, provost, academic officer or faculty, we will completely undermine our governing structure in higher education in Virginia."   

The governor has to appoint four people to the board by the end of June.  McDonnell would not say if Rector Helen Dragas would be reappointed.

McDonnell also made it clear that Dragas was appointed by his predecessor, former  Democratic Governor Tim Kaine, who was in Charlottesville on Tuesday.

While making rounds for his U.S. Senate campaign, Kaine commented on the turmoil at the university in regards to the board. 

"The entire board mishandled it by not having a meeting of the board. I think if they had a meeting of the board to talk about this, and shared perspectives, and even heard from her about the philosophical differences, then it might have come out very differently," said Kaine.

Recalling Sullivan's appointment to be president in 2010, Kaine said, "Helen [Dragas] was part of the team that came to me and said, we have this great new president, Terry Sullivan. I do not know what has happened to that relationship in the two and a half years since I left as governor."

Kaine advises the board to begin having discussions publicly, "because if you don't do them publicly, there's a whole lot of people who might be good college presidents, who won't want to come here because they will not know what they're walking into."

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