Fired UVa president to be reinstated?

6/22/2012: Insidehighered is keeping a close watch on developments at UVa, here. Looks like the board may cave to intense faculty pressure and reappoint President Sullivan. The last graph makes clear how rare faculty input into independent boards is:

Presidents have to make controversial decisions that can alienate campus constituencies. If Sullivan were reappointed, for instance, she would have to confront the issue of whether to push for a faculty member to be appointed to the board, an issue the faculty has been championing since Monday. Pushing such a move — which would be highly unconventional among universities — would put Sullivan outside what are accepted best practices. Going against such a move could greatly upset faculty members who might feel betrayed by the president they rallied to support.

Now the Gov is threatening to fire the entire board if they don’t explain themselves. 

Would you support an independent board for UO if you knew it would have only token faculty representation – e.g. a member picked by the Governor rather than elected by the faculty?

Meanwhile President Ed Ray of Oregon State, having just received a modest emolument from Dr. Pernsteiner, does his best to repay his debt with testimony before the legislative committee on independent university boards. (Full disclosure: as a state taxpayer I am helping pay part of Ray’s raise.)

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7 Responses to Fired UVa president to be reinstated?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Our largest donors to academics are not stupid. Tbey understand well that legislatures and system boards will find every opportunity to free ride on their donations by reducing public support. This nation-wide phenomenon is well documented in studies by well regarded experts in the field, such as Ron Ehrenberg and M. Rizzo, both of Cornell. A powerful motivation for boards, legislators and other institutions gaining from the current system to oppose any greater UO independence. I don’t mean to suggest that independent boards don’t come with their own problems, as well.

  2. awesome0 says:

    Independent boards appear to be at least more responsive to faculty concerns.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I believe that from the get-go with the NP, all UO-generated proposals for an independent board have featured a voting faculty member (plus a student, and in some versions, a staff member). It’s not unheard of, but indeed unusual among public universities to have any faculty on a board. Now, having more than token faculty representation…that’s another story.

  4. Anonymous says:

    U. Virginia used to employ a climate scientist named Michael Mann. Mann is a world-class researcher whose studies of dendrology and climate led to publication of a “hockey-stick”-shaped graph of global mean temperature change. The graph was one of Al Gore’s favorites and, thus, a subject of scathing criticism from climate change skeptics/deniers. The graph was also at the heart of the leaked email debacle (“Climategate”). Several scientific societies investigated its provenance and declared all good.

    But the ultra-right Virginia Attorney General was not convinced. He fired off a Public Records Act subpoena to the University seeking Mann’s email correspondence and a bunch of other documents. The University resisted and the case went to the Virginia Supreme Court, which recently rebuffed the A.G. and vacated his subpoena.

    Meanwhile, Mann left town for a nice job at Penn State. I believe this is the position that the deposed U. Virginia president alludes to in her memo to her bosses (before her firing), in which she describes the loss of a prestigious faculty member to a competing campus that made him an offer that Virginia can’t hope to match.

    Recently, however, it is rumored that U. Virginia’s environmental studies department is trying to bring Mann back to Virginia with professorship endowed and named after one of the University trustees. That trustee played a key role in firing Virginia’s president and is politically far to the right of center himself.

    This is the kind of thing I would expect to happen with an “independent” board of trustees.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dog corrections

      This post is not accurate. I know Prof. Mann. He was already at Penn State
      when climategate broke in 2009

      see for instance

      Prof. Mann left UVA in 2005 so what ever the alleged Probe is at UVA it has
      nothing to do with climate gate. He left to be come a director of the center
      at PSU which has a lot of resources. At the time of his leaving, he held
      the rank of Assistant Professor. He may even, in fact, been denied tenure at
      UVA but I don’t know this for sure.

      Side Note: Mann’s work about the decade of the 1990’s is problematic.

  5. Anonymous says:

    “Sullivan campaigned for transparency at U-Va.

    “The day after Graham Spanier was ousted as Penn State president amid a child sex-abuse scandal, Sullivan told her governing board she wanted to create a culture at her university that tolerated questioning authority and even whistleblowing.

    “The tone should be ‘bad news can rise to the top of this organization without any messenger being shot for bearing it,’ she said.”

  6. Anonymous says:

    At Oregon, many in recent administrations haven’t even felt the need to waste ‘shots’ at berarers of bad news. They’ve just ignored them.That’s how we ended up with a union.