University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan was ousted from her position by the school's Board of Visitors last weekend. In a campus-wide email, it was announced that she would step down on August 15.
In the days after the shocking announcement, the controversy has only intensified, with university students demanding answers, faculty members protesting her removal and even Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell urging the school to quickly name an interim president.
McDonnell, though, stated he did want to meddle in the school's affairs. A critical Slate article, however, suggested that powerful Wall Street donors perhaps meddled more than they should have in the ouster of the popular president.
Slate reported that Peter Kiernan, a billionaire hedge funder, former Goldman Sachs partner and generous UVA donor, accidently leaked an email in which he claimed he and two important Virginia alums worked with University Rector Helen Dragas to remove Sullivan.
In the 21st century, robber barons try to usurp control of established public universities to impose their will via comical management jargon and massive application of ego and hubris, stated Slate.
The Hook, a Virginia-based publication, claims billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones also had a key role in Sullivan's ouster. It also pointed out that UVA founder Thomas Jefferson was himself wary of the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations.
The links to the two billionaires have spawned conspiracy theories, among them that Wall Street wants to privatize the university's online education.
One thing is certain: the Board of Visitors has not provided a detailed and satisfying explanation as to why an obviously popular and respected President was removed.
Dragas threw around terms like philosophical difference and the need for strategic dynamism. She named funding, Internet, technology advances, the new economic model as realities that Sullivan presumably failed to adequately adapt to.
Her words, however, were clearly not enough for many of the university's stakeholders.
The University of Virginia community is entitled to more information, stated the university's Student Council on June 15.