U. Va. quiet, contemplative a day after board vote
By John Henrehan, FOX 5 Reporter
Teresa Sullivan (Photo: University of Virginia)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -
In many ways, on the "day after", the grounds of the University of Virginia looked like any other big college campus in the summertime. Students sauntered between classes, sometimes pausing to text a friend. Faculty members were back at work in their offices.
It was quite unlike Tuesday, when a generally polite and civil revolt by faculty, students, and alumni, got the Board of Visitors to re-establish Dr. Teresa Sullivan as president of the university.
One of the revolt's leaders now expects faculty members to get more involved in solutions to the university's fiscal and technological challenges.
Law Professor George Cohen is the Chairman of the Faculty Senate.
"There is no magic solution [to the problems of the university]," said Cohen in an interview. "This is the kind of thing that's going to take time to work out. I don't think anyone has the answer – the perfect answer – right now. But we all realize that the model that universities have been working on does need to be revised."
Some faculty wonder if the Board of Visitors is sufficiently representative of the university's many communities.
"I don't understand why the state of Va. gives only seven percent of our operating budget and yet appoints 100% of the Board of Visitors," said Valerie Cooper, Ph.D., an associate professor of religious studies. "Every other public university, flagship university, has a board with faculty representatives, students representatives, alumni representatives. And we don't. So, our governance model is still 18th Century."
There has long been a tradition at UVA for student groups to paint symbols on campus. The newest symbols— of student pride -- festooned a roadway and sidewalk bridge over a railroad track. Three foot high letters, painted overnight, proclaimed, "We Love President Sullivan."
Third year student Alexander Mazza, an economics major, smiled when asked his reaction to the tumult over the past three weeks. "I'm kind of proud," explained Mazza, "proud to be part of a community that can rally around something. You know, they saw that something was wrong – WE saw something was wrong, and we said we didn't like it, and we did something about it. And we got results. So, I'm proud. I think [university founder] Thomas Jefferson would be proud, to be honest."