A member of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors has spoken out about the resignation of former President Teresa Sullivan. Heywood Fralin said the process that lead to her exit was flawed.
Fralin is one of two board members from western Virginia. He was the only board member to vote against the appointment of an interim President Monday afternoon. In a written statement, Fralin said his vote did not reflect his opinion of Carl Zeithaml. He described Zeithaml as "an extraordinary and capable leader."
Fralin said his vote indicated his dissatisfaction with the process that lead to the resignation of the President. Fralin said he was never presented with evidence that merited asking for Sullivan's resignation, and never would have supported the effort to remove her. He also said he would have voted for her reinstatement if he had had the opportunity.
The board voted 12-1 with two abstentions early Tuesday to approve McIntire School of Commerce Dean Carl Zeithaml to serve as interim president after Sullivan's Aug. 15 departure.
Here is the statement from Mr. Heywood Fralin:
As you are probably aware, in the open session of the Board of Visitors when the motion was made to name Carl Zeithaml as the Interim President of the University of Virginia I voted no. I would like to further explain my vote. It had nothing to do with my opinion of Carl Zeithaml’s leadership abilities. I have served on two search committees with Carl and believe him to be an extraordinary and capable leader. I like him as a person, and admire his leadership at the Commerce School, which is the highest rated school at the University of Virginia and is viewed by many to be the first or second best Commerce School in the nation.
My vote was an indication of my dissatisfaction with the process and the decision that lead to the resignation of Terry Sullivan. I have not been presented with evidence that I believe merits asking for her resignation, nor have I ever indicated that I would be willing to support such an effort. Given an opportunity I would have also voted to support her reinstatement. It is my opinion that the process leading to her resignation was flawed. I am convinced that in the future the Board of Visitors will always meet in a scheduled meeting to discuss issues involving the President.
Now that Carl has been selected as the Interim President I believe that we should all join behind his selection and work together to unify the university community in support of this institution that we love. It damages the university for us to be divided. We all, the board of visitors, the faculty, the students, the alumni and friends, and the employees must work together to make this university the best it can be. The University of Virginia is far more important than any one of us.