Governor Names BOV Appointees; Dragas Among Them

Governor Bob McDonnell has named six new members of the UVA Board of Visitors, and the big news is that reviled Rector Helen Dragas has been reappointed, as a source in the governor’s office said would happen, last Saturday. The announcement came in an e-mail, in which he also named Johns Hopkins Medical CEO Edward Miller, who you’ll recall was Dragas’ pick for interim president, but wound up not the BOV’s pick, presumably as a result of the firestorm of protest to Sullivan’s removal. The remaining four new members are outgoing JMU president Linwood Rose, Northern Virginia Tech Council CEO and Republican political operative Bobbie Kilberg, Gannett CFO and UVA Alumni Association chair Victoria Harker, and McGuire Woods Consulting chairman Frank Atkinson.

McDonnell defended his reappointment of Dragas in his statement, writing:

Just as I was disappointed to see the lack of transparency and communication surrounding the request for the resignation of the first female president of UVa, I am also concerned that the first female rector seemed to become the sole target of recent criticism. While there is no doubt that the board made several mistakes in its actions, which it has publicly admitted, this is not a time for recrimination. It’s a time for reconciliation. I have been heartened by recent statements made by president Sullivan, the Board of Visitors and by the faculty senate chair about their ability to work with the rector. As Faculty Senate Chairman George Cohen said to The Richmond Times-Dispatch, “She (Dr. Sullivan) said she can work with the rector. I think we can work with the rector as well.” That kind of commitment to unity, healing and advancement is crucial to the university’s success in maintaining itself as a pillar of higher education to pursue the growth of knowledge and advance the human condition. Today’s reappointment is made in that spirit and with that purpose. I look forward to the board and administration moving forward together. The university’s tradition is the embrace of inquiry, critical thinking and change, which the rector and many others bring to the table. Ms. Dragas’s serious critique of the challenges facing the university is a voice that must be heard, and can help, in ensuring UVa remains one of the world’s foremost institutions of higher learning.

McDonnell conveniently ignores that Dragas was the sole target of criticism because she was the sole person to screw up terribly. Vice Rector Mark Kington was a close second, but he resigned from the board, insulating him from much further criticism just as the story went national. Complaining that Dragas was singled out for criticism would be like complaining that Katrina was singled out for destruction in New Orleans in September of 2005. Yes, of course she was.

The press release follows.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 29, 2012

Contact: Jeff Caldwell
Phone: (804) 225-4260
Email: Jeff.Caldwell@Governor.Virginia.Gov

Governor McDonnell Announces UVa Board of Visitors Appointments
Governor Also Names Bill Goodwin and Leonard Sandridge As Senior Advisors to the Board Issues Statement Regarding Appointments

RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell today announced the appointment of six University of Virginia Board of Visitors positions, along with two senior board advisors, newly-created positions established by the governor. In addition, the governor issued the following statement regarding his appointment decisions. Bios of the board members can be found below the statement.

Statement By Governor McDonnell Regarding Appointments to the Board of Visitors to the University of Virginia

“While normally I would not make a statement concerning board and commission appointments, the events of the last three weeks at the University of Virginia have been anything but ordinary. They compel me to offer a fuller explanation of the reasoning behind my selection of the excellent people I am appointing today to the UVa board.

“The university has emerged from a challenging time, and remains an extraordinary, vibrant place that is a beacon of advanced learning across the world. And I am encouraged that, after the reinstatement of Dr. Sullivan, the tone at the university changed quickly this week from one of passionate disagreement in the family to one of willing collaboration. I thank the administration, faculty, alumni and student body for their engagement and desire to have the school they love continue to grow and excel.

“While some still have questions about the reasons for the board’s action, and others about the school’s strategic direction, the recent debate puts the university in a unique and positive position for frank dialogue and progress that most organizations never encounter. UVa now has the opportunity for an honest self-assessment to refine and improve upon a long-term vision for the university, and build on its exceptional reputation with candor, clarity, and collaboration. The school is being watched by all of those interested in the future of our nation’s public universities.

“This is not the first time that Virginia has been in a position to serve as a national leader. Therefore, it is imperative that as this conversation ensues the board evaluate and improve upon its own transparency, operating procedures, and communications with the faculty, administration, students and the public. Full transparency, constant civility and open dialogue will be crucial as the university evaluates its progress in meeting the goals set by the board, president and legislature.

“This year I have six appointments to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors. Cognizant of the need for varied and wide-ranging voices, I have appointed competent professionals to the board who come from the fields of academia, business, law and technology, and who can, while bringing different backgrounds and philosophies to the table, work well together in finding common ground and forging a shared path for Mr. Jefferson’s University.

“Today, I have appointed the former President of James Madison University and the former CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine to the board. I have also placed the chairwoman of the alumni association on the board. Another selection is well-known as the architect of many of the Commonwealth’s higher education reforms over the past several decades. Finally, I have appointed two female CEOs who are well-respected in their fields.

“I have also reappointed Helen Dragas to the board. Ms. Dragas was appointed to the board by my predecessor Governor Tim Kaine in 2008 and elected rector by the board’s members in 2011. Prior to that appointment, she had served on the Commonwealth Transportation Board and the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia, in both cases through appointments made by Governor Mark Warner. During her four-year term on the board she has been a strong and dedicated board member, committed to advancing the mission of the university.

“Just as I was disappointed to see the lack of transparency and communication surrounding the request for the resignation of the first female president of UVa, I am also concerned that the first female rector seemed to become the sole target of recent criticism. While there is no doubt that the board made several mistakes in its actions, which it has publicly admitted, this is not a time for recrimination. It’s a time for reconciliation. I have been heartened by recent statements made by president Sullivan, the Board of Visitors and by the faculty senate chair about their ability to work with the rector. As Faculty Senate Chairman George Cohen said to The Richmond Times-Dispatch, “She (Dr. Sullivan) said she can work with the rector. I think we can work with the rector as well.” That kind of commitment to unity, healing and advancement is crucial to the university’s success in maintaining itself as a pillar of higher education to pursue the growth of knowledge and advance the human condition. Today’s reappointment is made in that spirit and with that purpose. I look forward to the board and administration moving forward together. The university’s tradition is the embrace of inquiry, critical thinking and change, which the rector and many others bring to the table. Ms. Dragas’s serious critique of the challenges facing the university is a voice that must be heard, and can help, in ensuring UVa remains one of the world’s foremost institutions of higher learning.

“In addition to the six official appointments I am making to the Board of Visitors, I have also asked Leonard Sandridge, a former executive vice-president of the university, and Bill Goodwin, a former board member and business leader, to serve as senior advisors to the board. Mr. Sandridge and Mr. Goodwin are very well-known and well-respected in the UVa community. Their roles will be to provide the board with wise counsel on an array of matters and to assist the university in solving strategic and communications challenges, based on their decades of institutional knowledge and understanding of the university. It is my hope that Mr. Sandridge and Mr. Goodwin will, at the board’s discretion and upon request, facilitate improved dialogue and collaboration in implementing the reforms in the Top Jobs 21 legislation, unanimously approved in 2011 by the General Assembly. It is also my hope that they will provide advice to help address the pressing items of concerns outlined by the board in recent weeks, and serve as trusted, experienced voices who will help the university grow, improve, and innovate in the years ahead. Both men understand the illustrious history of UVa; both men are committed to building an even more illustrious future. Their wisdom, counsel and advice will prove invaluable to the board.

“I am confident that in the years ahead the board, president, administration, donors, faculty, staff and students, and the larger UVa family across this Commonwealth, country and globe will work together with a renewed spirit of cooperation to develop solutions to the challenges facing UVa and, in fact, facing all public higher education institutions across America. The University of Virginia will lead this nation into the future, just as it has led it through the past.”

University of Virginia Board of Visitors Appointments

Frank B. Atkinson of Hanover is the Chairman of McGuire Woods Consulting and previously served in state government as counselor and director of policy for Governor George Allen. He has served on a number of boards and commissions and assisted the Governor’s Higher Ed Commission on behalf of the Virginia Business Higher Education Council. He graduated from the University of Virginia law school in 1982. Frank brings an in-depth knowledge of the workings of higher education and has worked on many of the higher education reforms in Virginia over the past three decades, including the design and implementation of the Grow By Degrees initiative which helped propel the Top Jobs Higher Education Act of 2011.

Helen E. Dragas of Virginia Beach is the president and chief executive officer of The Dragas Companies, a leading diversified real estate company in the Tidewater region of Virginia, and has served as the rector of the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia since July 2011. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a bachelor’s degree in foreign affairs, a bachelor’s degree in economics, and an master’s in business administration from The Darden School. Dragas has received several awards and honors, including First Citizen of Virginia Beach in 2009, the 2011 Humanitarian Award from the Center for Inclusive Communities of Virginia, and the Lee Evans Award for Building Management Excellence by the National Association of Homebuilders and Builder Magazine in 1999 and 2009.

Victoria Harker of McLean was recently announced as the new CFO for Gannett Company, Inc., a Fortune 500 global print and broadcast media company. She formerly served at AES Corp., a global power company, where she was chief financial officer and president of global business services. Prior to AES, Harker was acting CFO and treasurer at MCI. In addition to her new position at Gannett, Harker also served on the corporate board of directors for Darden Restaurants (DRI) and Xylem (formerly ITT). Harker received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia in 1986 and holds a master’s in business administration degree from American University. As chair of the UVA Alumni Association, Victoria will bring an important and critical perspective to the board, and her senior level background in finance will also be an asset.

Bobbie Kilberg of McLean is president and CEO of the Northern Virginia Technology Council. She was a White House Fellow, an attorney with the law firm of Arnold and Porter, vice president for academic affairs at Mount Vernon College, director of the Aspen Institute’s Project on the Future of Private Philanthropy, and a senior member of the White House staff under three administrations. Bobbie served on the U.S. Naval Academy Board of Visitors and recently completed 11 years of service on the George Washington University Board of Trustees. She is a graduate of Yale Law School, Columbia University and Vassar College. Among her children and their spouses, there are four degrees from the University of Virginia, and a son is presently a student at the school of law.

Dr. Edward Miller of Baltimore, Maryland was named chief executive officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine, the 13th dean of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and vice president for medicine of The Johns Hopkins University in January 1997. Under his leadership, both The Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine continue to be ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, and the school continues to rank at the top in NIH research funding. Miller was asked to serve in an ex-officio capacity last year by the governor due to his knowledge and background in healthcare administration. The General Assembly in the 2012 session added a seat to the board for a member with an extensive academic medical background.

Dr. Linwood Rose of Harrisonburg served for 14 years as the president of James Madison University. He is retiring on June 30. Under Rose’s tenure as president, James Madison experienced immense growth in size and quality, with enrollment growing by 37 percent. As president, he served on the Governor’s Higher Education Advisory Committee and the Governor’s Higher Education Commission. He recently served as chairman of the Council of Presidents for Virginia. He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Virginia Tech, his master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from the University of Tennessee, and his doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Virginia.

Senior Advisors to the Board

Mr. William H. Goodwin, Jr. of Richmond is a former member of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors. Goodwin is currently chairman of the board of CCA Industries Inc, a holding company whose assets include several hospitality businesses including The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Kiawah Island Golf Resort in Kiawah Island, South Carolina, and The Hermitage Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee—all of which are five-star properties—Sea Pines Resort in Hilton Head, South Carolina and Keswick Hall in Keswick, Virginia. In addition, CCA owns and operates several other businesses, real estate holdings and investments. Goodwin holds a degree in mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech and a master’s degree in business from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.

Mr. Leonard W. Sandridge, Jr. of Charlottesville retired from the University of Virginia in June 2011, after serving for 44 years. He previously served executive vice president and chief operating officer for UVA president John Casteen. He began his service to the university on the staff of the internal auditor. He served as an assistant to university comptroller, treasurer and director of budget. In 1986, Sandridge was appointed to the post of executive assistant to the president, a position he held simultaneously with director of budget. In 1989, he was named vice president for business and finance, and then was named senior vice president and chief financial officer. In 1993, Sandridge’s position was expanded to executive vice president and chief financial officer, where he served until his promotion to executive vice president and chief operating officer.

42 Responses to “Governor Names BOV Appointees; Dragas Among Them”


  • Any political announcement made at the end of the day on a Friday isn’t one that inspires much confidence. In political circles this is what is called throwing it out with the trash — make your unpopular announcements when people are distracted. Dragas violated our trust and likely violated her duties as Rector. Shame on the Governor.

  • Bobbie Kilberg recently held a fundraiser for Romney where $322,000 was raised for the Republican candidate. McDonnell was a high-profile guest there. Since 1996 she’s given $58,433 to Republican causes in Virginia, including $2,500 to McDonnell and another $14,633 to McDonnell via his PAC.

  • Any political announcement made at the end of the day on a Friday isn’t one that inspires much confidence.

    Absolutely, Duane.

  • Thanks, Governor, you’re a real prince. What’s with the “first female” talk in this press release? I don’t see how Sullivan or Dragas’ sex has anything to do with what happened.

  • I wonder if these appointments are any different than they would have been if none of this went down in the past three weeks. They certainly don’t look it. There’s broad agreement that we need to reform the BOV appointment system, and McDonnell has done nothing here to demonstrate otherwise.

  • Is it just me, or does anyone else think that the back-room dealings didn’t end with Ms. Dragas’ one-on-one BOV lobbying effort leading up to the original “vote”? The past several days have been quid pro quo after quid pro quo. So much for transparency.

  • On second thought, maybe we really are seeing transparency. Is seems pretty clear what has been going on.

  • If this doesn’t prove once and for all that the governor was behind the attempted ouster, I don’t know what would. I am especially curious about Sandridge’s new role. this whole thing stinks like the rotten pile of garbage it is.

  • You know who else gave $100K to McDonnell when he ran for governor? One Paul Jones of Greenwich, CT.

    Cripes on a cracker.

  • “You know who else gave $100K to McDonnell when he ran for governor? One Paul Jones of Greenwich, CT.”

    See the disappeared PBS film (1987) on Jones, “The Trader”:
    http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/XH5W4vffBbY/

  • I’m shocked! Shocked!! There’s obfuscated BOV appointments being made in the broad wide open on a friday, and before a recognized national holiday too!!! What next?

  • The “first female rector” thing is just laughable. Other than the “Queen Bee” piece in the Nation’s Worst Newspaper, I can’t recall anything that would justify this claim.

    Also, I look forward to McD expressing similar “concern” about all criticism of our first black President.

  • LOL, Greg. And, I don’t use all caps or lol.

  • If you had criticisms about Dragas before, wait till you’ve had a load of Bobbie Kilberg yet.

  • This connection is not obvious, so I’ll mention it: Hardie was not reappointed for a second term, but now Goodwin is back in. Goodwin is Hardie’s father-in-law and all of their money comes from the same Goodwin pot.

  • Bobbie Kilberg also ran for the Republican nomination for Lt. Gov. some years ago.

  • Is it copacetic to be on the board of both UVA and George Washington University at the same time? Does Mrs. Kilberg need to resign from GWU’s Board now?

    http://trustees.gwu.edu/trustees.cfm?id=1001

  • C’mon, there are few ‘female’ CEOs: we gotta spread them around to declare gender equity.

    /not.

  • Waldo, you say that this isn’t a change to BOV, but I would argue that it is (at least in regards to background of appointees). Two of the new appointees have extensive experience in a university setting (Linwood Rose, a university president, and Edward Miller head of a university medical center). Not to mention Frank Atkinson, Bobbie Kilberg, and Victoria Harker’s experiences in higher ed. Those picks alone seem to be a departure from the norm of appointing people who are purely corporate bigwigs.

    The point about political donations is really more of a “so what?” Look at McDonnell’s previous appointees, I bet that all gave money to him. Look at all of Kaine’s appointees, donors. Same for Mark Warner’s appointees, etc…

    Also, your Katrina analogy is specious. It essentially puts FEMA and the Corps of Engineers (and their levees) in the clear for what happened in that disaster, and we know that singling out the wind and rain itself (i.e. the hurricane Katrina) overlooks everything else that made it such a disaster. Ergo, his comment about singling out Dragas for the fire that nearly burned down the Rotunda did hold water as there were certainly other embers smouldering on the rest of the BOV (not all, but certainly more than those who came out of the shadows).

    And besides, if the Gov really wanted to slip these picks under the radar he would have announced them yesterday! ;)

  • Friday = take out the trash day.

    We’re not supposed to notice.

  • I really hope McDonnell gets the VP nod so I can vote against the tone deaf oaf this November, otherwise who knows when I will get the chance! The penalty for one of the worst screwups in UVa history is reappointment? Talk about grading on a curve.

  • Karl, please don’t insult our intelligence:

    Linwood Rose was both a McDonnell and George W. Bush appointee to commissions;

    Ed Miller was Dragas’ hand-picked President;

    Frank Atkinson is Darth Vader without a conscience;

    Bobbie Kilberg is a failed Republican candidate for Lt. Governor but a huge fundraiser for Republican candidates; and

    Bill Goodwin is more troubling than all of the above combined.

    Heywood Fralin should’ve been appointed as a Senior Advisor to the BOV, if such appointments are permitted by law.

    Roxanne Gilmore and Buford Scott should’ve been appointed to the BOV to demonstrate that the Governor McDonnell has any regard for the University.

  • “That kind of commitment to unity, healing and advancement is crucial to the university’s success in maintaining itself as a pillar of higher education to pursue the growth of knowledge and advance the human condition.”

    I applaud that part of Governor McDonnell’s statement.

    He must appoint Heywood Fralin as a “Senior Advisor” to the Board.

  • wall street redux

    Waldo would probably recall whether Gov. McDonnell’s adding two new advisory positions to the BOV was explained or reported on at the time, presumably during the legislative session last winter. To risk sounding conspiratorial, it sounds like part of ACTA’s “strong board” agenda. Previously the board was as sleepy group who gave deference to the president, and had only one staff-type position, the secretary. Now it has two designated non-voting experts and seems on the way to taking a more administrative role. For anyone who wants to connect dots, beyond the obvious $ connections, there are McDonnell’s visit to Norfolk for tall ships just before the firing, and the one FOIA’ed email implicating him.

  • What do you all make of Sullivan’s and Cohen’s statements about the appointments? They seem ok with them?

  • wall street redux

    The are keeping their powder dry. Both have been through plenty of scholastic politics and play the slow game. Just a guess. I’d like to see Sullivan test the board, but don’t expect it.

  • Bob McDonnell, of all people, does NOT get to “play the gender card.”

  • JWS, did you miss my whole point?

    Up to this point, board appointees have been pretty much solely corporate bigwigs who haven’t even set foot on a college campus since they graduated (well maybe to visit kids if they have them in college). By appointing a group of people who at least have some background in higher ed it is at least somewhat of a step forward. As good of a step as appointing, say, a professor? No, certainly not, but better than just corporate heads.

    It is a good question about the “advisors” though, I’ve never heard of that happening before and it is an interesting twist.

  • I am fearful that the recent statements regarding the recent BOV appointments made by President Sullivan and Faculty Senate Chair George Cohen may represent the typical urge by middle class elite and liberal tendency to just accept politely the scraps that are doled out by the powers that be. This episode represented in my opinion, a chance for leaders to seize the opportunity to fight back against the Koch Brothers inspired attack of public higher education.

    To merely ignore the other demands originally made by the Faculty Senate as stated below and just accept the Governor’s reappointment of Dragas and his appointment of other corporate types seems like a huge misstep, a waste of momentum both local and national. The Faculty Senate calling for these other actions does not represent recrimination but actually get at the root of the problem that is certain to rear its ugly head again in the near future. I realize everyone is tired, but this is not the time to go back to sleep as though nothing ever happened. Many people mobilized to help the faculty based on these listing of intended actions.

    I hope the AAUP has a much greater presence on Grounds after this. But my reading of the Virginia and UVA culture is that the tendency to eschew political organization and conflict of any type and leave things to the few elite leaders (President Sullivan, Faculty Senate leaders, Larry Sabato, etc…) will rule the day. Faculty often like to see themselves as part of the elite. This episode showed how faculty are regarded as expendable units of production.

    From the Faculty Senate Web site:

    “We asked the Rector about the process and the reasons behind President Sullivan’s resignation; the principles of shared governance between the faculty, administration and the Board; the Board’s desire for a strategic plan; and the Board’s justification for the speedy and secretive nature of its actions.
    We had a cordial discussion. Based on extensive input from our faculty constituents and the Rector’s responses to our questions, we made the following requests:

    1. That the Board delay the naming of any interim president to provide an opportunity for shared governance;

    2. That President Sullivan be reinstated;

    3. That the Board recommend representation by UVA faculty on the Board as voting members; and

    4. That the Rector and Vice Rector resign in the best interests of the University.

  • Did I miss something… why are there six? I thought there were four terms expiring, plus Kington who resigned? Sorry if I missed some news…?

  • Prediction (based on nothing other than my gut feeling): In six months or so, after things quiet down, President Sullivan will announce that she’s been offered the presidency of a highly-regarded private university and will be leaving UVa.

    Everything that’s been presented to us in the last week or so has been a face-saving exercise: Sullivan keeps her job, the public gets to feel like their outcry was heard, the university avoids the utter embarrassment of its BOV-created public relations nightmare, donors don’t depart in droves, the faculty feels empowered.

    You see, in the short term, everyone wins. But in the long term, Dragas keeps the Rector’s chair. A new “strategic dynamism” president is installed. And our little weasel-governor continues moving UVa away from an elite, liberal arts university towards a more conservative, corporate, and business-oriented institution.

    You heard it here first.

  • More than time to take Toscano up on his idea that BOV appointees deserve more than a rubber stamp from the legislature.

  • Called it.

    You all sound so surprised.

  • Whether intentional or incompetence, McDonnell has sent one message to me by re-appointing Dragas.

    He believes that running a public agency in secret sessions and back-room deals is appropriate. The state’s open meetings act is a trivial law to be avoided, or honored in the breach.

    In other works, he either has no honor, or supports those who have no honor.

  • Karl — I think Waldo’s Hurricane Katrina analogy works if you view Dragas as the hurricane itself and Bob McDonnell as FEMA.

  • I hadn’t seen this explained earlier, but here’s a clip from UVA as to why there were 6 appointments (vice 5).

    “Also, the University had requested that the General Assembly increase the number of voting members from 16 to 17.”

    http://www.virginia.edu/uvatoday/newsRelease.php?id=18974

  • 2003 UVA Graduate

    The only thing more disgusting to me than the initial coup was the series of events that began with the vote of confidence in Dragas and ended with McDonnell’s statement. I have contributed a moderate amount of money to UVA annually for several years, but I won’t continue that.

  • Kinda funny how shocked people are about how politics actually works. Our own City Council uses personal email addresses to avoid having to go on record about their talks. Is that “back room politics?”

  • The use of personal email addresses to conduct public business by City Councilors ought to be expressly forbidden by law. The ONLY reason for doing that is to skirt existing laws pertaining to public records and there ought to be a public outcry demanding that the practice change.

  • Did the Governor really say this?

    “Ms. Dragas’s serious critique of the challenges facing the university is a voice that must be heard, and can help, in ensuring UVa remains one of the world’s foremost institutions of higher learning.”

    Aside from the sentence’s bizarre syntactical contortions, the sheer illogic of its premise is stunning. The whole mess was caused by the fact that Dragas wasn’t saying this to anyone in the first place! In fact, there is compelling evidence to support the contention that she still hasn’t said this, and that it was really the product of her PR consultants’ damage control spin.

    Ok, first: it’s quite clear that whatever drivel the Governor offers in the place of reasoned speech, the whole BOV appointment process is a game rigged by and for those with power and access, in order to keep them in power and access.

    Second, despite this fact, which really should not be a shock to anyone who’s been paying attention to the last two thousand years of western civilization (not that the political history of any other culture is particularly brighter), there have been shining moments in our own democratic republic’s history when people have acted and achieved, not just for themselves, but for the greater good.

    Third, given that it is possible to do so, it is very important to note that, according to the BOV’s own website, that:

    The Board of Visitors is composed of sixteen voting and one ex-officio non-voting members appointed by the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly, for terms of four years.

    So, it is possible that the General Assembly may be prevailed upon to Do the Right Thing and refuse to confirm the Governor’s reappointment of Dragas, on the clear grounds that she has proven herself to be utterly unfit to serve on the board in any capacity.

    I have never gotten this worked up or spoken out so publicly about any issue, but what truth to power wrote about concerning our local fracas in the context of national political and social developments strikes me with despair and determination in equal measure. The stakes have gotten so huge, and the trends have becomes so severe, that it seems like the height of folly to do anything but burrow deep and hope to ride it out. What can one person do in the face of such enormous political inertia?

    But then I remember that small actions may ripple out, and that whatever the condition of the world, it is most important to do what is best and right for its own sake, whatever the chances of changing the world may be.

    And this is the point; the Governor wants to sweeten Dragas’ and the BOV’s contemptible disregard for due process and accountability which with saccharine and facile platitudes, such as

    “unity, healing and advancement is crucial to the university’s success in maintaining itself as a pillar of higher education to pursue the growth of knowledge and advance the human condition”

    so that we swallow their reappointment whole. Well, this sweet poison simply burns in my throat. Knowledge cannot grow on diet of lies and the human condition cannot advance on the basis of treachery. Statements like

    The university’s tradition is the embrace of inquiry, critical thinking and change, which the rector and many others bring to the table.

    CANNOT be allowed to pass unchallenged as truisms being twisted to serve the evil purpose of subverting themselves. We should embrace these values, and they should applied first of all to the people who would subvert them.

    So how do we start? Who do we call, write, or pester to make it known that this issue isn’t going away? That we do in fact value inquiry, critical thinking and change?

  • Any interested people should join this group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/347537338649665/
    I have seen some people post responses from state legislators who plan to vote against the Dragas reappointment. Encouraging that may be a good, achievable goal.

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