BOV Vice Rector Kington Resigns

Mark Kington has resigned from the UVA Board of Visitors. The vice rector of the board, he worked for months with the rector, Helen Dragas, to engineer the removal of Teresa Sullivan as president of the university. In his resignation letter to Governor Bob McDonnell, Kington says he’s resigning “in order to better serve this university which I love and respect, and to help bring about new leadership on the Board of Visitors at this critical time.” His resignation comes just hours after the board’s 2:30 AM vote to name McIntire School of Commerce Dean Carl Zeithaml interim president. Kington’s term started July 1, 2010, and isn’t over until July 1, 2014. Under § 23-70, a replacement appointment to complete his term “shall be made by the Governor subject to confirmation by the Senate and the House of Delegates.”

Speaking of resignations, computer science professor William Wulf resigned today, writing that he does “not wish to be associated with an institution being as badly run as the current UVa” that he “want[s] no part of this ongoing fiasco.”

29 thoughts on “BOV Vice Rector Kington Resigns”

  1. If Kington were sincere in his “let the healing begin” drivel, he would have resigned prior to Monday’s meeting of the BOV. This might have provided the momentum for a victory by the Fralin-led Board members (7, I’m told) and resulted in reinstatement.

    My prediction is that McDonnell will appoint 5 new members July 1 (letting Dragas move on to her next ‘project’ and filling Kington’s term). The new members will still share the Dragas/Kington agenda; and; unless there’s continuing scrutiny and action, the selection of a new president will track that agenda.

    Dragas apparently plans to appoint a search committee very quickly, probably prior to the end of her term since I don’t think she’s going to be enjoying a second. The Faculty Senate should demand voting members representing the Faculty, undergraduates and graduate students. Also, the Faculty Senate should demand voting membership for the alumni; and there could be no better choices than outgoing Board member Heywood Fralin, and former members Buford Scott and Syd Dorsey.

  2. Wulf’s resignation letter is fabulous: totally calling out Zeithaml for participating in this fiasco by accepting the interim presidency & mincing no words. If no one had said yes to the BOV, wouldn’t they have been thrown back on themselves & a reinstitution of Sullivan? Whose amended employment contract constrains her from saying anything bad about either UVA or the BOV.

    Hunter Craig is whining that he’d have reinstated Sullivan if there had been the votes, Kington is outta here, and Dragas is still Dragas. Undoubtedly, undoubtedly shoving people who are like-minded onto the new president search committee before she fades into oblivion in less than two weeks.

    Loving also the Faculty Senate’s statement today saying, basically, “Fine, fine, fine: but what we said last week is what we’re still saying today.” Also, the Faculty Senate consistently refer to “Dean Zeithaml” which is as subtle and as telling as the BOV meeting providing a new name tag for TS reading “Ms. Sullivan” at last night’s drag-out fight.

    /I’m not as good at Plain English as Waldo or Claire are.

  3. Darden School is their “template.” In other words, privatization. Annoyingly enough, a lot of this story is playing out on Twitter. Here is what the Cavalier Daily is twitchering, presumably in preparation for an article:

    The Cavalier Daily ?@cavalierdaily

    KIngton: “maybe a modicum of candor is called for” in June 11 email to #UVA Rector Dragas and COO Michael Strine

    Former Vice Rector Kington: “Darden is a near and visible template for much of what we seek” in June 10 email to #UVA Rector Dragas

    #UVA Vice Rector’s email: Jeff Nuechterlein calls #Sullivan’s opinions about online education “rather pedestrian”

    #UVA Rector identifies @WSJ article as “why we can’t afford to wait” in May 31 email to Vice Rector

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

  5. Given that normal appointments to the BOV are made July 1, when the legislature is out of session, it appears that the Governor has full power to make them without legislative oversight. Or are they later confirmed as a matter of course? I believe it to be the former because I can’t remember a BOV ever being challenged but I’m not sure by VA code.

  6. It’s my recollection that the appointments are immediately effective but subject to later confirmation, usually given as a matter of course.

  7. You can apply right here, or nominate someone else:

    Composition: Sixteen members appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly; of these, thirteen shall be appointed from the Commonwealth at-large, and no more than three shall be nonresident alumni. The board appoints a rector and secretary every four years.

    Term: Four years; no more than two full successive terms

    There are four openings:

    7/1/2008 6/30/2012 Seat 1
    7/1/2008 6/30/2012 Seat 3
    7/1/2008 6/30/2012 Seat 4
    7/1/2008 6/30/2012 Seat 6 ‐ non‐resident alumni

  8. wall street redux — website called bacon’s rebellion has some interesting info on subject of online education being a disruptive innovation. Here’s a snip:

    The screw up is all the more troubling because the board members are right about one thing – radical change is headed to higher education, and even to elite schools like U.Va. It’s not just the internet. Computerized courseware allows much of the routine information transmission and routine skill building to be offloaded to machines. If you have read Clayton Christensen’s work, you understand that the early adopters will be the lower tier offering education to people who otherwise could not afford it, but these technologies will march up the value network. Already, they aren’t bad – questions can easily be asked, forums and chat rooms can expand on lectures, conference technology can bring together faculty and students from around the world. It might be U. Phoenix today, but in time the better schools will be incorporating all this technology. It will change the resources needed, and will require schools to think hard about their mission and goals. Commoditized schools that just offer a credential useful to employers will be the first hit, and some may not survive in their current form. Christensen sees the disruption reaching all the way to the Ivy League in the end, however, and that would imply that U.Va. really can’t safely rest on its laurels. And that doesn’t even get to globalization, which is hitting higher education today the way it hit business a generation back, with forward thinking schools taking their brand worldwide.

    Question is why were so many people connected to the VC world so interested in UVa, and why the secrecy?

  9. OK, this is embarassing. Could someone perhaps put the little blue letters for the Cavalier Daily tweets to help tech challenged folks such as myself find them.

    The tubes of the internets are confusing to me.

  10. Nevermind, the tubes untied themselves.

    These tweets are ASTOUNDING.

    Dragas and Kington were governing the University based on op-eds by David Brooks and two guys from the ultra-rightwing Hoover Institution.

  11. This gazellionaire is asking all the other gazillionaires to resign (the entire board), as reported in the Daily Progress:

    [Ligon said,] “Ms. Dragas must also resign. In fact, the entire board should resign as a group out of shame and embarrassment. They have made themselves the laughingstock of the American university community, and done immeasurable damage to our commonwealth’s flagship institution … in a remarkably short period of time.”

    And it gets more radical from there. He wants the governor to appoint a special super-board to investigate the whole governing mess and perhaps try to get Sullivan back. He’s a former member of the board who was on the committee that chose Sullivan. And he’s a gazellionaire. What a sorry state of affairs.

  12. Anyone out there question the sincerity of Kington’s resignation? The two scenarios to me are a) taking a bullet for Dragas, so she might hold on to her job, possibly at PR instruction, or b) events of last night convinced him that serving on the bov is too contentious to be productive, now. Remembering that Craig also was floating resignation after meeting.

  13. Dragas won’t go because, if she does, there’s a good chance the effective and honest members (Fralin, Mastracco, Key, maybe Diamonstein) would take charge and right the ship.

    Dragas refusing to resign runs out the clock.

  14. William Jefferson Clinton will be the next President of U.Va.
    Why did Kington withhold his resignation til after an interim Pres was named? Because he had achieved what he and Dragas wanted at that point, not a hostile takeover by Goldman Sachs or the privatization of online whatever, just a vacancy at the top. This ‘project’ goes back a few months.. what else happened a few months back is the 2012 election started to turn from a walk in the park to one in which this states electoral votes may be all the difference it takes. And McDonnell began looking like a likely possible VP choice. Best way to combat that without looking like you’re trying to? Plop the Dem’s biggest rock star down in central Va just months before the election. Think about it, Dragas has no more cards to play, she doesn’t even get re-nominated to the BoV at this point… if this was just act one of some bigger plan, who do they think will carry it further? If the true end game was some venture capital takeover why not wait til July when Dragas would be fresh into a new term and she could see it through? As of right now, neither she nor Kington will be voting on the next President after working so hard and sacrificing their reputations to get rid of the last one. But they won’t have to be there. The next President won’t require their presence to get elected. Dragas’ most unguarded statement to date has been ‘wait to judge til you see who the new president is’. She’s been oblivious to the damage done with donors and faculty because she knows that in the end its all going to be fine. Why else did they need Sullivan out immediately yet offer her a post-sabbatical professorship at almost the same salary? Think about it, Clinton’s just spinning his wheels up there in Harlem, in a state thats not in play…
    In the end, Dragas becomes US ambassador to Greece.
    just my $.02 but I’d bet my reputation as an anonymous internet prognosticator on it.
    Only downside is Clinton will have been somewhat complicit in pushing Sullivan out. Hence the secrecy. Or perhaps Sullivan is up to speed on all of it? It would explain why she didn’t put up more of a fight.

  15. just my $.02 but I’d bet my reputation as an anonymous internet prognosticator on it.

    This is pretty funnier, but funnier still given your habit of posting under the name of “****”. :)

  16. A nice example of “Maybe [wild theory X]. That would explain [some random detail]. Then [long chain of airy castle-building].”

    Personally, I’m going to predict that Carl Zeithaml will be not only the interim but the next president of UVA.

    I do think, however, that Greece would be an excellent place for Helen Dragas. They have some very small and rocky islands there.

  17. I see two threads here:

    1. Poor execution of superficial plan for greatness. Ego, fueled by a shallow reading of articles in the NYT, NY’r, WSJ, CHE, etc. Personal vindictiveness as evidenced by asking Sullivan to move out of the house two weeks early, and publishing a critique of her after her resignation.

    2. Zombies are coming to eat our brains. Or, privatization, monetization, student aid mining, stripping academics, etc. The dog that isn’t barking in the emails is hospital management. A tide of money goes through that side of the budget and there are eager bandits who want contracts, under whatever “innovative” structure.

    A surprising amount of #2 is probably true, while #1 is clear enough from the facts. Perhaps the alumni – since they appear to be the only hope for sanity short term – should declare an independent funding board.

    Another problem is the donor bubble, now quickly deflating. Big donors were already becoming more ego-driven, with the University grubbing at the silliest excuses for a big wire transfer. As it collapses around them, board & management will blame everyone but themselves. It’s surprising what a good plan Sullivan had for conserving the University, but that did not satisfy the bad new kids of finance.

  18. wall street redux and Barbara Myer, in the CD’s defense they got the FOIAd emails in printout form late in the day and tweeted the most interesting pieces as they were scanning them and compiling them to release generally. It was simply the best option they had to get the information out as quickly as possible.

    the boss of me: agreed completely. The Post really should have credited the CD.

    As to wall street redux’ point about the donor bubble, I spoke with two friends who are alumni and both have already cancelled their recurring donations to UVA. One only cancelled his donations to Darden and maintained his donations specifically to the College of Arts and Sciences as a way to show support for that particular school in this mess. These are not huge donors, but I expect many others are doing the same and it will add up.

  19. Another faculty resignation who’s taking his $6M in grants with him.

    Another faculty resignation at the University of Virginia. Ian G. Macara, Ph.D.; Harrison Distinguished Professor of Microbiology; Director, Advanced Microscopy Facility resigned Wednesday. His resignation letter to Dean Zeithaml read in part “My wife and I are moving to Vanderbilt University, together with our $6 million in grant funding.”

    WINA reports:

  20. WINA is now walking back the story on the Macara resignation. Apparently, this was a decision that was made in March and is not related to the current tempest.

  21. Kington spent so much money for this position:

    Power for Sale. Power for Sale.

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