Classics Threatened at U-Va?

This one’s just starting to filter through the Classics list (tip o’ the pileus to Patrick Rourke and Susan Lusnia) … The Washington Post has a lengthy piece on the University of Virginia’s ousting of their President Teresa Sullivan … the reasons,  inter alia:

Leaders of the University of Virginia’s governing board ousted President Teresa Sullivan last week largely because of her unwillingness to consider dramatic program cuts in the face of dwindling resources and for her perceived reluctance to approach the school with the bottom-line mentality of a corporate chief executive.


The campaign to remove Sullivan began around October, the sources said. The Dragas group coalesced around a consensus that Sullivan was moving too slowly. Besides broad philosophical differences, they had at least one specific quibble: They felt Sullivan lacked the mettle to trim or shut down programs that couldn’t sustain themselves financially, such as obscure academic departments in classics and German.

Obscure???? They’ve got more than ten faculty there, many of whom seem to  be in endowed positions (to say nothing of one member being Director of Undergraduate studies and another being Director of Graduate Studies) … whatever the case,  it seems like a messy situation and probably should be a heads up for the Classics department at U-Va and, of course, all of us folks who will be rising to defend it …

3 thoughts on “Classics Threatened at U-Va?

  1. Thanks for posting this. You can bet that the UVA classics alumni/ae and faculty have been very active this weekend, particularly UVA’s Jon Mikalson.

  2. I forwarded this to my good friend who’s BS/MS (EE) from UVA, saying
    After Harvard and Yale, it seems to me that UVA, with its ties to Thomas Jefferson, should understand the relationship of the American experience to the classical canon.

  3. Via Jon Mikalson (Classics, UVA):

    From the Honor Committee:

    June 17, 2012

    To the University Community:

    Last Sunday, the Board of Visitors announced the resignation of Teresa Sullivan as President of the University of Virginia. Although this decision does not involve an act of lying, cheating, or stealing, the announcement and following justification have been unsettling to our Community of Trust.

    Despite the diversity of opinions about the Honor System, over the course of its 170-year history, it has consistently served as a distinctive ethical framework by which U.Va. community members conduct themselves and treat each other. We expect each individual to speak and act with honesty and integrity, and as such, trust serves as the foundation of our community.

    The lack of information given by the Board of Visitors is troubling because it is perceived as running counter to the standards to which we hold each other accountable as members of this community. We do not deny the Board’s authority to make this decision nor question the merits behind it. However, the lack of a clear and full explanation has created an environment that is inconsistent with the value of trust that runs through the very fabric of our University.

    We believe the Board of Visitors is a group of dedicated and caring individuals committed to acting in U.Va.’s best interests. We are also confident that this University will continue to offer a world-class education and unique opportunity for its students. The way in which we continue to excel is to live by the principles that have guided us to this point.

    In times of challenge, it is often easier for individuals to remain passive. However, this institution’s values teach us that such a choice is unacceptable. We call upon students — as well as faculty and staff — to come together to speak and act constructively to move this University forward. Our community is resilient, greater than any one individual, and will endure. Yet, we cannot fully move forward until the foundation of trust that sustains our community is renewed.

    Stephen Nash, Chair
    On Behalf of the University of Virginia Honor Committee

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