Rector Dragas’ Statement, Translated into Plain English

On behalf of the Board of Visitors, I’d like to speak directly to the extended U.Va. family – to our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends. We reach out to you today as fellow sons and daughters of this University, who studied here, matured into adulthood here, made friends here, met spouses here, and walked the hallowed Lawn.

Dear proles.

We share your love of this institution and its core values of honor, integrity, and trust. Like you, we have given our energy, commitment, and resources to the University. And, like you, we are inspired by the magic of U.Va. every time we speak with students and faculty. Through service to the University, we have had the true honor of witnessing up close all that the University community does so well.

I’m just like you. Only I was born rich. So trust me, as your relatable better.

This has been a difficult week for the University. It is never easy to announce a change in leadership, particularly after a relatively short period of time since the last selection.

It is in no way my fault that this has been a shit week. What a funny thing that we just got a new president two years ago, and here we are doing it again! But who can say what the cause of that is, really?

While our actions in this matter were firmly grounded in what we believe to be in the very best and long-term interests of the University, and our students, faculty, staff and alumni, we want to express our sincere regret for the pain, anger and confusion they have caused among many in our U.Va. family. We certainly never wished nor intended to ignite such a reaction from the community of trust and honor that we all love so dearly.

Who could possibly have anticipated that a second-rate Virginia Beach condo developer single-handedly orchestrating the firing of the president of the University of Virginia to satisfy the demands of a rich asshole would upset people? Not me! People love that! …right?

We recognize that, while genuinely well-intended to protect the dignity of all parties, our actions too readily lent themselves to perceptions of being opaque and not in keeping with the honored traditions of this University.

It is your fault for interpreting my actions as being bad. (You idiots.)

For that reason, let me state clearly and unequivocally: you – our U.VA. family – deserved better from this Board, and we have heard your concerns loud and clear.

Boy. That escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand fast.

The Board of Visitors exists to make these kinds of judgments on behalf of all the constituencies of the University. While the broader U.VA. community – our students, faculty, alumni, and donors, among others – have varied and important interactions and touch-points with our University leadership, the Board is the one entity that has a unique vantage point that enables us to oversee the big picture of those interactions, and how the leadership shapes the strategic trajectory of the University. Simply put, we have the responsibility, on behalf of the entire community, to make these important and often difficult calls.

When I want your advice, I’ll give it to you.

I want to make clear that the Board had a formalized communications process with the President, involving ongoing discussions for an extended period of time on progress toward mutually agreed-upon strategic goals for the University. And we took this action only as a result of there being an overwhelming consensus of the Board to do so, and after all Board members were thoughtfully and individually engaged.

I mentioned all of this to President Sullivan fully two days before she was actually canned. Also, three people voted on it. So, y’know, quitcherbitchin.

We have heard your demands for a fuller explanation of this action. And while our answers may seem insufficient and poorly communicated, we have responded with the best we have to offer – the truth.

I have provided you with an insufficient, poorly communicated “truth.”

And, to set the record straight on an important point, the Board has never, nor will we ever, direct that particular programs or courses be eliminated or reduced. These matters belong to the faculty.

I’m lying through my teeth.

This is all to say that there is not one single person on earth whose interests we would ever put above those of the thousands of stakeholders entrusted to our care. Not one President, not one administrator, not one faculty member, and certainly not one donor.

Just totally making shit up at this point.

As we look forward to the transition to new leadership at the University – a process that begins today with our deliberation over the selection of an interim President – the U.Va. family can rest assured that it will have a great deal of input. We have already met with student and faculty leadership, and we agreed to broaden and deepen our interaction and engagement going forward.

I gave these same tired lines to the Faculty Senate and the Student Council, and they’re both pretty pissed off about it, but whatevs. I talked at them, that’s the important thing.

For selection of the next president, our Board Manual calls for setting up a special committee, which, in addition to some Board members, will have representation from students, faculty alumni and staff.

We are committed to doing the bare minimum.

We look forward to your participation in this important process.

Oh, Jesus.

On a personal note, I want to say something about our outgoing President, Terry Sullivan. Dr. Sullivan has put all of her considerable energies – and then some – into her work as President, and we owe her a great deal of gratitude for her service, her enthusiasm for improving U.VA., and for always keeping the best interests of this University foremost in mind. We hope that Dr. Sullivan will remain an important contributing member of our U.VA. family in the coming years, and we are very fortunate to have had the benefit of her service.

I’m pretty sure that Teresa Sullivan has absolutely no self respect.

I want to thank the U.VA. family for enduring the tumult of this difficult week. It has been exceptionally trying for all of us, and we accept our great share of responsibility for that. Going forward, the Board of Visitors pledges to work closely with you as we all pull together to restore the foundational unity of Mr. Jefferson’s University for current and future generations.

In conclusion, fuck you.

68 thoughts on “Rector Dragas’ Statement, Translated into Plain English”

  1. This came at just the right time, Waldo–thank you for the tragi-comic relief.

  2. Waldo, you are blessed with unique insight into the twisted minds of the three-faced, fork-tongued, strategic dynamism-ers who wrote this, because Dragas surely didn’t do it herself. Would love to get to watch her actually try to give that speech with a straight face/faces, I was having contortions just trying to read it.

  3. Still not sure how “successful” business people can be sooooo poor at image control. Do they really operate in a world where none of this fallout was foreseeable? Holy crap.

    A piece of advice from the the brilliant, and of’t under-appreciated words of Clancy Wiggum: “No, no…dig up, stupid.”

  4. Well done, Waldo, thanks! Although, I do have to say, that “we have responded with the best we have to offer – the truth” line is difficult to translate. It all depends on what she thinks “the truth” is, because she sure as hell isn’t telling us. It brings to mind that scene from “A Few Good Men.”

  5. Brilliant. This expresses what, I think, each of us felt was being said when the remarks were read. We are tired of hearing Dragas’ doublespeak. Thank you for “translating”.

  6. Excellent Waldo !

    I find this statement chilling. Given their pick for Interim President, who may remain in this position for quite some time. Now, the Board doesn’t have to make the deep cuts in academics, they can just get their new Interim hire, head of the Commerce School to do it for them.

    Dragas says,

    And, to set the record straight on an important point, the Board has never, nor will we ever, direct that particular programs or courses be eliminated or reduced. These matters belong to the faculty.

  7. Quite clever! Now use your wits to find a way to get Dragas out of there. Otherwise, UVa drowns in the wake of the Dragas Family yacht. Largest in Va. Beach.

  8. Don’t forget that the moneyman behind the scenes & author of the piece purporting to say Jefferson would have fired the President is a convicted environmental criminal (convicted for violating the Clean Water Act) – – “Jones pleaded guilty last May (1990) to a misdemeanor criminal charge for violating the Clean Water Act by negligently and illegally filling the Tudor Farms wetlands. He paid a $1 million fine and $1 million restitution to the government in a plea bargain.”

    Yeah, he’s a real class act.

  9. As a retired educator, I am troubled by the message sent by UVa’s BOV. It tells young and old that there are people who can impress their weak values and ethics upon anyone in this State and get away with it. Just like olden days of slaves, masters and right on through the Harry Byrd years of hypocrisy and subterfuge. We must maintain a free press–tho technocrats would take it away, of course. Jefferson said: “Deliver me from those lawyers in Richmond,” as he founded UVa. Same still true.

  10. This sort of thing will happen as long as businesspeople are in charge of institutions of higher learning. The BOV is a giant FAIL, but very typical of our current political system. Dragas doesn’t have the sense to resign because she has no honor, wisdom, or dignity.

    Thank you for speaking truth to power, Waldo.

  11. When I first saw the lengthy reply from Dragas (or whenever I see really long-winded explanations of events) I cannot help but be reminded of the biblical adage “in the multitude of words, sin is not absent”…

  12. I just want to add… (highjacking your satire venue…)

    These business pontiffs don’t understand that the money is in service to another value: education. They think if they pile up enough money and push it this way and that, that greatness will emerge. Woe to those who get in the way, woe to people like Teresa Sullivan who actually have the vision of what it takes to build a great institution, and the ability to make it happen.

  13. Quite clever! Now use your wits to find a way to get Dragas out of there.

    You (might) kid, but you’re right. This was a chance to make use of time during a long, frustrating wait last night, and bring a little humor into an upsetting situation. But we’ve got serious problems that need to be solved.

  14. In other news, the BOV announced the University Mace will be sold to raise cash, and will be replaced by a cudgel – inscribed with the words “The beatings shall continue until morale improves”. This would have been in Latin, except that would have shown support for the Classics……..

  15. Hilarious, Waldo. But I’m waiting for Jack Nicholson to bark at us, “You can’t handle the truth!”

  16. The way to get Dragas out of there is to write to the Governor and your local State representatives. McDonnell will have to reappoint her to a new term, which would start July 1. Regardless of the reasons behind Sullivan’s dismissal, Dragas has made such a mess out of the situation that the University may well be irreparably harmed.

  17. University of Virginia announces sale of Philosophy Department, Plans for “Communities on the East Range”

    Charlottesville, June 19. Paul Tudor Jones, special advisor to Interim President Whats-His-Name, announced today that the University of Virginia has sold its philosophy department to an undisclosed small liberal arts college for an undisclosed sum.

    “I know that some folks have a sentimental attachment to philosophy, but — strategically — it really has become obsolete and is not part of the dynamic future of Mr. Jefferson’s University, which we all deeply love” said Jones from aboard his vessel in Long Island Sound.

    This announcement came on the heels of the news of the University’s plan to raze the historic East Range of the University’s “Lawn” district to allow the construction of a condominium development to be called “The Communities on the East Range.” “We will of course retain motifs from the Jeffersonian aspect of the campus…er, Grounds” said Jones. “But the strategy behind this project is replacing old, dilapidated buildings with new modern modern ones that better convey the dynamic future of the University.” The planned 500 units will be available for sale to graduates of the University’s Darden School, who may rent them to incoming students. “It’s a perfect public-private partnership” said Jones. A developer for the project has been selected, but her identity has not been disclosed.

    Jones was tight-lipped about future development plans at the University, but was heard to comment “Really — it’s the Corner of what?”

  18. Here’s the nut graf from that letter:

    I ask that you take the time to understand where and why Terry Sullivan fell short and then make your judgment.

    We’d love to do that! But Dragas ain’t giving us those facts. It’s swell that her sister has access to this special information, but if she’s not going to share it with everybody else, then this letter basically amounts to “leave Britney alone!

  19. I think if you read Jennifer Dragas Stedfast’s letter, the gist is “Helen has things well in hand.”

  20. On a personal note, while genuinely well-intended, we have given our energy, commitment, and involving ongoing discussions for an extended period of time on progress toward my immediate resignation.

    Rectum Drag-Ass

  21. What exactly is Dragas thinking with regard to online education? Has any reporter asked her if her comment about the glories of online education was indeed not a reference to a plan to do a deal with a Goldman Sachs-backed for-profit online college company?

    As an alum, the idea of UVa devolving into the University of Phoenix at Charlottesville makes me want to puke. If I wanted to destroy everything that makes UVa what it is, Dragas’ concept might be at the top of the list.

    Governor McDonnell, this is your mess now, and you’re doing squat. Fire Dragas and her henchmen, appoint a rector who is committed to traditional education, and decree that Paul Tudor Jones’ involvement with the University be limited to showing up at basketball games. He can bring his wife and their freaky Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh Yoga cult leader with him.

  22. Thomas Jefferson would be proud….. he also thought that the lesser should serve the affluent. And loved being covert.

  23. how did such a Hamiltonian become BOV rector at Mr. Jefferson’s university?

  24. Kington gone. Now it’s time for Dragas to follow suit and go home, where she can sign up for an online course on management … and she can stick her “strategic dynamism” up her bony Wicked Witch of the West ass.

  25. Anyone else notice that the placard in front of Wrecktor Dragas yesterday read “The Rector” while that in front of President Sullivan read “Ms. Sullivan”? I’m pretty sure that at past meetings its either read “The President” or “Pres. Sullivan”, no? Just another way to say “f*ck you, you have no more authority here than any of those idiots out on The Lawn” even though she’s technically President for two more months. They probably had to have it made special for this meeting.

  26. Brilliant dissection. The letter from Dragas’ Stedfast sister got me to thinking about other hapless apologists . . .

    Let me begin by saying that my brother has no knowledge that I am writing this and would insist that I not.  Knowing how protective he is of his family, he would not want anyone, family or friends, to be subject to criticism on his behalf.

    My brother has not shared with me any of the specific reasons why the Jews were deported to Poland, but if you know Adolf like I do, you would undeniably trust his judgment and forethought.  He would not have removed them for an unnecessary cause. He and the Geheime Staatspolizei are privy to information that we in the public are not.

    Adolf has such a love of the the Vaterland and has spent endless hours educating himself about the workings of Deutschland so that he could be part of taking and forcing our way into Czechoslovakia.   Knowing how thorough, detailed and patient Adolf is, I know there is simply no way that he would have deported the Jews unless he were sure that they were a less than stellar people.

    I ask that you take the time to understand where and why the Jews  fell short and then make your judgment.


    Gertrude Hitler Mengele


  27. Bravo, Waldo!
    And, yes, *****, I saw the name placard and couldn’t believe how low, rude and petty that was. Made me think that there is something personal in all of this.

  28. Noticed that you did not call Wulf an “old white guy.” Unbiased consistency in journalism continues to dissolve….

    Yes, yes, you’re terribly oppressed as an old white guy. Some day, your people will rise up and seize power!

  29. Tragically amusing, brutal and simultaneously called for. Don’t hold anything back Waldo.

  30. As an alum who can only watch this shit show from afar (Boston) and wonder what the hell is going on down there and who let the inmates run the asylum. . .I thank you for this article and bringing some humor to a situation that has been anything but funny. Good work.

  31. So Stanford and MIT “legitimatized” online learning with their own programs.

    By that logic, did Bill Clinton legitiatize oral sex in the Oval Office because he did it? Let’s look at what is being proposed, not just that some other smart kids seem to be doing it.

    Jeffrey Walker cited keeping the Va. legislature happy as a reason for pushing ahead with online learning. That may be a practical reality, but it’s a piss poor way of determining the best course of action for what is supposed to be an elite academic institution.

    Just a small prediction: the slowing growth of Facebook that doomed its IPO is just the beginning of a pushback on social media as human beings begin to see the value of meeting and talking and learning in person. I see online learning as a step backward, not a step forward (unless you’re Goldman Sachs and own the online diploma mill).

    By the way, has anyone asked Paul Tudor Jones about the influence Tony Robbins has had on his life? I’m just waiting for PTJ to endow the new Tony Robbins Center for Strategic Dynamism.

  32. Fight The Academical Village Putsch
    This is a fight worth fighting. Keep the pressure on.

  33. nicely done. been forever but I remember working with Waldo when I was at U.Va. nearly 10 years ago. good to see he’s still at it.

  34. Thank you and all of the folks who have commented. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to understand her comments without your translation and the clarifying comments. I am sending your translation to as many people as possible.

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