A Modest but Serious Proposal

Now that the University of Virginia Board of Visitors has unanimously re-instated Teresa Sullivan as president, it will be important to put the controversy in the past as quickly as possible, to repair the frayed relations between supporters and opponents of the formerly fired president and between the Board and the faculty, which demanded her re-instatement.

Toward that worthy goal, I have a modest but serious proposal that should unite all campus factions: the entire Board should resign. If this were Japan I suspect the more honorable members would already have committed seppuku (“Seppuku is highly ritualistic, exquisitely precise and earns you maximum respect from students and potential job interviewers….”)

Since, alas, Virginia is not Japan and seppuku is not a realistic option, Gov. McDonnell should fire immediately any who do not choose to resign. Whatever the merits (or not) of Sullivan’s presidency, the Board botched it and irredeemably damaged its own reputation, whether by firing or rehiring her, and certainly by doing both.

Last Friday Gov. McDonnell wrote the Board: “But let me be absolutely clear: I want final action by the Board on Tuesday. If you fail to do so, I will ask for the resignation of the entire Board on Wednesday.” The “final action” the University needs cannot be provided by an inept Board’s groveling reversal of its own stumbling incompetence. Time for a fresh start.

Governor, fire them all, now. President Sullivan’s supporters will not be sorry to see them go, and neither will anyone else.

John S. Rosenberg

John S. Rosenberg

John Rosenberg blogs at Discriminations.

2 thoughts on “A Modest but Serious Proposal

  1. And while the Governor is at it, why not reform the entire BoV framework, filling the Board with members popularly-elected by the alumni, &c, instead of these infinitely-malleable political hacks?

  2. John-Once the regional accreditor, SACS, sent the letter reminding UVa that the Board of Visitors answered to it in its treatment of administrators. It was over.
    The accreditors ARE the definitive powers now in education, both K-12 and higher ed.
    In higher ed their leverage with no right to appeal is participation in the federal student loan program. They have a political agenda as is clear from their Standards of what constitutes Quality. It is not what people think.
    I was rereading part of William Kapp’s 1961 boo, Towards a Science of Man in Society, to confirm the fit between that vision and the vision the accreditors are pushing.
    I wrote about this last week in the context of K-12 but the driving dynamics and even the accreditors are the same in higher ed.http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/who-is-really-in-charge-the-school-board-the-super-the-accreditors-or-unesco/
    Virginia may think they are not participating in Common Core but I know they are participating in the kind of reimagining of higher ed found in the Lumina Foundation’s January 2011 Degree Qualifications Profile.

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