Board reinstates former U-M provost Teresa Sullivan as University of Virginia president
Sullivan, who served as provost of University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus from 2006-2010, was ousted on June 10 by a contingent of Board of Visitors members, led by rector Helen Dragas.
But during a 3 p.m. Tuesday meeting Dragas said she was willing to move forward with Sullivan and supported a motion to reinstate her.
"Thank you for renewing your confidence in me," Sullivan said after being reinstated. "I do not ask that we sweep any differences under a rug, but rather that we engage one another in candor and respect."
After reinstating Sullivan, 14 of the board members voted in confidence of Dragas, who abstained from the vote.
Dragas and Sullivan met privately before Tuesday's vote.
“We have both come to the conclusion that it is time to bring the U-Va. family back together,” Dragas said during the public meeting. “We have always respected each other on a personal level and we still do.”
Since Sullivan's forced resignation over two weeks ago there's been an outpouring of criticism directed at Dragas and the board. Top professors have resigned or threatened to leave the university, hundreds of students have protested the removal and donors have expressed frustration with the turmoil.
At the time, U-M Board of Regents Chair Denise Ilitch, who worked with Sullivan during her time as U-M provost, said Sullivan's removal "was very disappointing" and a "loss" for U-Va.
Former board of visitors rector and current member Heywood Fralin proposed the resolution to reinstate Sullivan. He called the process used to remove her "flawed," apologized for not intervening sooner and said he was never presented with evidence that convinced him Sullivan was performing poorly.
After her reinstatement, Sullivan urged for an open dialogue with the board moving forward.
"I need to have your support," she said. "I need for you to reach out to your networks within the commonwealth and around the world to help us move forward."
During remarks on the U-Va lawn after the meeting, Sullivan warned peer institutions not to exploit unease caused by recent events and try to woo faculty from Charlottesville.
“Stay here and help us make it even better," she asked faculty.