Zeithaml Named Interim President in Marathon BOV Session

At 2:30 AM this morning, the Board of Visitors emerged from what was surely a very contentious session, having named McIntire School of Commerce Dean Carl Zeithaml the interim president. McIntire is a sort of Darden Lite—the undergraduate version of Darden—and Zeithaml is an old, white man, which is to say that, in retrospect, BOV’s choice is not particularly surprising. (Zeithaml also has a degree in “Strategic Management,” something that seems to be buzzword compliant with the BOV’s preferences.) He sent a letter to the McIntire School when President Sullivan was ousted ten days ago, which neither condemned nor explicitly supported the BOV’s actions. Zeithaml’s selection was not unanimous: Heywood Fralin voted against Zeithaml, Robert Hardie and A. Macdonald Caputo abstained, and Glynn Key left the meeting before the vote.

So, there was a meeting was held in secret in response to widespread anger about the BOV’s new habit of doing things in secret, in which they selected an old, white man who runs a business school and has a degree in “Strategic Management” to take over the presidency of the university. It’s difficult to see how the universal condemnation of the BOV’s actions have resulted in an outcome that is in any way different than the one envisioned by Rector Helen Dragas last October, when she set this plan in motion.

27 thoughts on “Zeithaml Named Interim President in Marathon BOV Session”

  1. So will we see Simon’s resignation any time soon? Or is he just fine with this? And if he’s fine with it, will he explain why?

  2. Thank you for that correction, Betty. (I’d previously written that only Hardie abstained, having believed that Caputo was not a voting member because of his absence.) I have corrected the post to include Captuo’s abstention.

  3. I’m curious if anyone has any insights into why a meeting that was scheduled for two hours instead lasted 11? I mean, what, specifically, were they discussing? Other than the obvious guess that they had trouble finding anyone stupid enough to want the job at this point…?

  4. I want to know who’s in charge.

    We’ve already established that Sullivan is out of organizational command, and that Dragas is the big boss. Sullivan remains president until August 15. So when is Zeithaml in as president? August 15? If earlier, WTF? If not, then doesn’t that mean that Dragas is running the show for the next two months, making her interim interim president? If so, and if her term expires at the end of this month, doesn’t that explicitly mean that when the BOV selects their new rector, they’re selecting a new interim interim president?

  5. Waldo, somewhere I read Dragas quoted that they had moved up the selection of the interim in order to restore normalcy, and that as soon as the interim was selected, the President’s office would report to the interim, and not to her and Kington. So I infer it has already happened.

  6. And why can’t the BOV just answer the freakin’ question?!


    Stop tap-dancing and tell us, idiots.

  7. Ladante, I think Waldo’s point is more that this is “business as usual” for UVa and the BOV than that he is “old and white” in particular. At least that is how I read his comments, and I agree with his basic point–after all outcry and meetings, very little has changed from what Dragas wanted to start with.

  8. Yo, why do you care so much that he is old and white? dumbass.

    Why do you assume that I “care so much”? The fact that I mentioned his age and race seems to have upset you. Why?

    Ladante, I think Waldo’s point is more that this is “business as usual” for UVa and the BOV than that he is “old and white” in particular.

    Yup, that’s the point. Many of the members of the BOV are members of the same club, sometimes literally (and these literal clubs were notable for having men-only and white-only policies until very, very recently. ) It would have been extraordinary if they had named a black Muslim woman. Why? Because black Muslim women are not part of their club, period. “Old white man” is a handy shorthand for “one of them.”

  9. I’d say this is not business is usual at UVa. Just look at the reactions of the good old boys and good old widows and good old former presidents! The board has been stacked by a new type worse than the old type.

  10. Read the other news stories, Waldo, to become informed re the timeline. For now, Simon (provost) and Strine (Sandridge’s replacement) are running operations from Madison Hall. Zeithaml takes on new interim role effective day after Sullivan’s ends (and Comm School needs to now pick an interim dean). Dragas has no univ operational role, and her current term ends at end of June. Big q is whether McDonnell will reappoint her to bov (she was appointed by Kaine, so is presumably not a republican), or send her packing.

  11. Waldo, as for who’s in charge, while it might be Sullivan on paper, I’m pretty sure that it’d be Simon/Strine until Aug. 15th. Unless, of course, they step down as well.

    In looking at the manual for the Board of Visitors, it doesn’t appear as though they have the power to usurp the president’s powers when the president steps down (although they do have a lot of other scary powers).


    Also, something I didn’t realize until earlier today and I hadn’t seen it mentioned, but Dragas got to be the Rector because the BOV voted her to that position (chair of the board).


  12. Read the other news stories, Waldo, to become informed re the timeline.

    I hope this doesn’t sound sarcastic, but thanks for this. Mike. I’m (fittingly) attending the MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference right now, and my attentions are necessarily divided between this story and the conference that I’m sitting in. I’ll bet that I haven’t read beyond the opening paragraph of a single news articles so far today, giving me great knowledge of the headlines, but not so much on details.

  13. Meet the new boss, not half as good as the old boss.

    The BOV did not address one of the faculty Senate’s concerns. They appointed the COMMERCE school dean beCAUSE HE AGREED WITH THEIR BS FROM THE GET GO. GOOD LUCK TO HIM AS HE WILL HAVE NO respect from the faculty who see him as a corporate schil or scab. He should resign now as should Simon.

    None of this changes the point: the capitalist/wealthy class appointed by two governors working off a neoliberal, privatize everyting philosophy have strangled the university finacially over time so as to weaken and soften it up for this takeover by a group of people who in no way represent the citizens of VA or UVA. Its corporate oligarchy and domination of public space. They are occupying our university as if they had tanks and drones flying over.

    we need to wake up: Faculty you are labor, expendable units of labor. The BOV doesn’t listen to reason. Time to organize, unionize, and play hard ball not gentlemenly politeness with these scum bag corporate facists who want to control everything and everyone until Ayn Rand and 1984 visions come true as it is starting to right before our very eyes.

    We need long terms and sustained movement protest a la Saul Alinskiy. we need a national movement born of the tyranny to protect public from private global capitalist domination.

    TJ would say not on my watch.

  14. I wonder how long before this enters the Va US Senate race and Allen makes mention of how Kaine appointed Dragas in a bid to improve Allen’s lackluster previous performance in this area.

    As for a protest it would pretty much have to be a MASSIVE strike before the BOV would make a change. Most Va politicians are waiting to see if new BOV appointments calm the situation (Not reappointing Dragas for one). I’m very curious to see if the Governor will take up Hunter Craig up on his offer to give up his BOV seat for a professor/faculty member.

  15. Yes, but it’s currently unclear whether he has resigned from the BOV or has resigned as vice rector of same.

  16. Washington Post:

    The second-ranking member of the university’s Board of Visitors, Vice Rector Mark Kington, has resigned from the board effective immediately. Kington said in a letter to Gov. Robert F. McDonnell that he hoped his resignation would “begin a needed healing process.”

    One down. A bunch to go.

  17. This just in. Faculty Senate knows how to run a university in a changing world with strategic dynamism:

    Faculty Senate Executive Council Statement in Response to Board of Visitors Appointment of Interim President on June 18, 2012

    Late last night, the Board of Visitors approved Dean Carl Zeithaml of the McIntire School of Commerce as Interim President of the University of Virginia. While we have the utmost respect for Dean Zeithaml’s work with the McIntire School and his years of experience with the University of Virginia, we disagree with the Board’s decision to approve an interim president without faculty consultation.

    We fully stand behind all statements we have made thus far. Given an appointment made without faculty consultation by a Board of Visitors that has overwhelmingly lost the confidence of the Faculty Senate and the faculty as a whole, we remain deeply concerned that any interim president will find it difficult to succeed in leading the University.

    Nevertheless, Dean Zeithaml has graciously offered to meet with the Faculty Senate Executive Council this week, and we have agreed to meet with him. We stated that we look forward to working cooperatively with him in the best interests of the University. Throughout this crisis, the Faculty Senate Executive Council has sought a calm, rational, and constructive dialogue and has tried at all times to act in the best interests of the University. We intend to continue that approach.

    Until this point, faculty have been united. We understand and expect that the coming days and weeks will bring a much broader range of views and differences of opinion about next steps. We have already been receiving numerous suggestions and we welcome input from all faculty. From our meeting with the Rector, we understand the Board’s stated position to be one of acceptance of shared governance and the faculty’s decisive role in programming and other decisions that affect the academic mission of the University. We intend to insure that the Board’s actions match its words. We were also assured that the Board’s decision concerning President Sullivan had nothing to do with her principles and practices of transparency, open discussion, and faculty consultation and involvement. We expect the Board to adhere to these principles as well. We heard and appreciate the call at the Board meeting last night for voting faculty representation on the Board. We will continue to pursue that change by pushing for appropriate legislation.

    In short, the Faculty Senate intends to continue its role of giving voice to the concerns and interests of the faculty and to preserve, protect, and expand shared governance, open and honest communication, and faculty control over the academic mission of the University.

  18. Faculty Senate and Sullivan, what a perfect combo to run a global university.

    Bring Terry Back now!!!!

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