McDonnell demands final decision on U.Va. president

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Gov. Bob McDonnell has warned the University of Virginia Board of Visitors to come to a final decision on the fate of its president on Tuesday.

“If you fail to do so, I will ask for the resignation of the entire board on Wednesday,” a letter to the board from the governor says. “Regardless of your decision, I expect you to make a clear, detailed and unified statement on the future leadership of the university.” 

The board of visitors is scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. Tuesday at the university’s iconic Rotunda building to reconsider President Teresa Sullivan’s forced resignation. The June 10 announcement of Sullivan’s ouster less than two years into her tenure has thrown the university into turmoil.

In this letter on Friday, McDonnell said he is not telling board members how to vote on Sullivan’s reinstatement, but to end the controversy with a unified stance.

“First, eliminate any uncertainty on the future of President Sullivan immediately.” McDonnell wrote. “The university needs closure now to move forward.”

The governor also urged the board to have a clear explanation of its decision. “Unfortunately, the execution and communication of some of the decisions over the past 12 days has confused and angered people in the larger university community,” he wrote.

Earlier Friday, Carl Zeithaml, dean of the U.Va. McIntire School of Commerce, said he had stopped all preparations to take over as interim president of the university after learning the board planned to reconsider its decision about Sullivan.

Zeithaml was scheduled to become interim president in August.

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