Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mostly Winners -- Two Losers

Now that the UVA crisis has passed it is easy to see that the ultimate outcome created winning positions for mostly everyone involved.  Even Rector Helen Dragas emerged with strength and character in bowing to the inevitable return of President Teresa Sullivan.  It is unfortunate that Mark Kington and Peter Kiernan remain on the outside looking in.  Both Kington and Kiernan are outstanding alums and their contributions to the University in the past merit returning these two to positions of respect at their alma mater.  I for one hope to see both Kington and Kiernan playing a major role at the University in the years ahead, as they have in the past.

There are a lot of messages in what has transpired in the past two weeks, but reflect for a moment on why the groundswell of support for Sullivan was so overwhelming.  Sullivan did the little things well.  She was kind and friendly.  She sought out all parts of the University community.  She expressed interest in everything that we do.  These things count.  It was difficult to see her ouster as warranted and to see the process as fair.  Underneath it all, the personality and humility of Terry Sullivan were her best weapons.  She disarmed the community and her opponents with her affable style.

One major loser was the Governor.  He did nothing to stop this process and more than one insider openly mentioned the Governor as a major mover in the effort to unseat Sullivan.  Insiders are well aware of the Governor's true, as opposed to stated, role in all of this and, in due time, the public will know as well.

Another major loser was the Wall Street Journal, whose editorial "Virginia Fracas" contains more inaccuracies per paragraph than anything I've ever read.  Moreover, the overriding theme of the editorial is totally inaccurate -- that this was a battle between reform and anti-reform. Nothing could be further from the truth. Today's WSJ article is similarly misleading for readers unencumbered with the facts.  The WSJ has embarrassed itself with its coverage of the Sullivan crisis and makes one wonder about its coverage of other issues.

Hopefully true reform, as opposed to rearranging deck chairs, can come to the University now that this drama has ended.