Zeithaml Suspends Further Negotiations with UVA Board of Visitors
University of Virginia Interim President Carl Zeithaml says he will step aside and let the drama play out on grounds. The UVA Board of Visitors is set to vote Tuesday on ousted President Teresa Sullivan's reinstatement.
Zeithaml spoke out about his decision in a news conference at 1:00 p.m. Friday. "My role is to step back, let the decision be made," he said.
Just days after being named interim president, Zeithaml suspended his role on Friday.
He said, "If I attempted to do the things that I talked about the other day, in terms of moving the university forward, it would be premature."
Zeithaml dodged questions concerning whether he thought ousted Sullivan should be reinstated. Instead, he said it was a board of visitors' decision.
"I don't want to compromise my position," he said. "And there are so many forces at work."
But if Sullivan is reinstated on Tuesday, Zeithaml said he will gladly step aside and continue as dean of the McIntire School of Commerce.
"I will be very happy to come back to the McIntire School and work on my syllabus for the fall semester," he said.
Past, current and future chairs of the UVA Faculty Senate were also at the press conference. Faculty Senate Chair George Cohen said Zeithaml made the right call.
"We're all in this together and I think we're all on the same page now," Cohen said.
Zeithaml says that he tried to call Sullivan after the news broke Thursday regarding the board's special meeting but couldn't get through and left a message. He did talk with UVA Rector Helen Dragas who understood Zeithaml's decision.
Zeithaml was also quick to say he thinks Dragas believed she was doing the right thing when she asked Sullivan to resign. He said, "Helen Dragas is not an evil person."
The board of visitors will meet on Tuesday at 3 p.m. in the rotunda to talk about more changes to Sullivan's employment agreement. The meeting and any motions, votes, or discussion will be done entirely in the public eye.