Lawmakers Meet at UVA, Push for University Transparency - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Lawmakers Meet at UVA, Push for University Transparency

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State lawmakers made a stop in Charlottesville Wednesday, discussing a topic that hits home at the University of Virginia. They're ready to tackle big issues such as transparency at universities across the state.

It's been a tumultuous year at UVA. But after President Teresa Sullivan's failed ouster, students, faculty and administrators are coming back together. Lawmakers are also coming together -- some from different sides of the aisle -- with a single goal: preventing issues like this from happening again.

While the national conversation focused in on tragedy in Connecticut and gridlock in Washington, a more regional topic dominated the conversation inside the UVA Rotunda. The failed ouster of Sullivan earlier in the year had lawmakers across the state looking at new legislation.

"These are issues that affect every student in the state, every public institution," said Delegate David Toscano (D) 57th District.

The legislation would change the way boards of visitors govern, at UVA and beyond.

"All of these apply not just to the university, but all universities and colleges that are state supported," said Delegate Steve Landes (R) 25th District.

Lawmakers from different sides of the aisle want to tackle the issues of board transparency and accountability with a bipartisan effort.

"David [Toscano] and actually Creigh [Deeds] and I have discussed actually coming up with, if we can, kind of a package of one or two pieces of legislation," said Landes.

"There's no reason why Republicans and Democrats can't work together to make the system better. That's what we're going to do," said Toscano. 

Landes wants mandatory training for board members on their responsibilities to their schools and the public. This is all in an effort to prevent the events that tarnished a respected institution, from happening again.

"We have to bring some healing to this place, I think we can get there," said Toscano.

Also up for discussion in January's general assembly session in Richmond will be whether to block Governor Bob McDonnell's decision to reappoint Rector Helen Dragas. Both Landes and Toscano say she needs to go for the university to move ahead.

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