Charlottesville Community Speaks Out on Sullivan Departure
Reverend James Richardson leads a Charlottesville congregation made up largely of University of Virginia faculty and students. He calls Sunday's announcement of President Teresa Sullivan's departure shocking and says the community needs answers.
President Sullivan took over the helm at UVA after the tragic death of Yeardley Love. Her first public appearance as president was at Richardson's church, Saint Paul's Episcopal, where her words gave comfort at a time the university was hurting.
At her first public appearance as UVA president in 2010, Theresa Sullivan addressed the congregation, speaking about the need for creating a caring community in the wake of lacrosse player Yeardley Love's murder.
Sullivan said during that speech, "UVA is a community and that members of the community have a responsibility to one another. They're trying to enact that responsibility."
On Monday, Reverend James Richardson, the church's rector, says the responsibility now lies with the board of visitors to tell the public exactly why Sullivan's leaving so soon.
"She really is the most important public official in Charlottesville and to have her dismissed this way makes all us very sad and I think all of us would really like to hear more about what happened," said Richardson.
On Sunday, University Rector Helen Dragas told reporters the split was due to philosophical differences about the vision of UVA's future. Richardson says that explanation isn't good enough.
He asked, "What are those deep differences? What are they differing on? Is this about paying people, the lower ranking people a better salary? Is this, the rector of the university talked about wanting to make star hirers?"
Richardson says his frustrations echo those of his entire congregation, mostly made up of UVA faculty and students.
Richardson said, "Everyone is just really shocked and really wondering what happened here. Some people are pretty outraged."