Debate Over UVA President's Resignation - WSET.com - ABC13

Debate Over UVA President's Resignation

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Reporter: Mark Kelly | Videographer: Parker Slaybaugh

Charlottesville, VA - The student council at the University of Virginia is demanding a full explanation as to why the university's president is stepping down. Dr. Teresa Sullivan has led the top-tier institution for only two years. And the unexpected announcement this week that she's leaving has had the rumor mill at UVA churning.

Faculty members are upset, and they are not ignoring this. Dr. Sullivan's stepping down is dividing the campus - the board of visitors versus the faculty senate.

Sullivan is UVA's eighth president, and August 15 will be her last day unless faculty have their say.

"Her leadership is unparalleled in our opinion. We cannot imagine a better leader coming in to the University of Virginia," said Chris Holstege, chair-elect for faculty senate.

But the university's governing body, the Board of Visitors and rector said this: "The board feels the need for a bold leader who can help develop, articulate, and implement a concrete and achievable strategic plan..."

Faculty fired back: "We understand that the University...faces tremendous challenges. We believe President Sullivan made meaningful progress toward meeting these challenges..."

Above all else, UVA students like Rachael Thompson just want details. Why is Sullivan leaving?

"It's very hush-hush. The emails we got were very vague, so I really don't know what's going on," said Thompson.

Faculty say they too are in the dark, as long as the rector says things like Sullivan's leaving "is consistent with sound employment practices" and the "policy of the Board to keep confidential matters of disagreement."

Faculty members say that's untrue. Now, there's concern that UVA's sterling reputation is being slightly tarnished.

Thursday, the Faculty Senate issued a vote of no confidence in the board of visitors, rector and vice rector. That vote prompted the rector to reach out to faculty. The two bodies are planning a meeting. The faculty senate will meet in an emergency meeting this Sunday.

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