Soon after Sullivan was forced to resign in early June, Strine said he was not involved. But support for him at the flagship public university appeared to dwindle following Sullivan’s June 26 reinstatement. The president has expressed distrust of Strine, said a senior university official. Another person with knowledge of the situation said the resignation was forced.
Strine’s resignation provides a glimpse at tensions that lingered on the Charlottesville campus even as top officials pushed a message of reconciliation and unity. Sullivan wrote in a statement Tuesday that Strine “recently determined that it would be in the best interest of the university that he step down and allow me to do some necessary internal restructuring.”
Strine was not in his office Tuesday afternoon, an assistant said, and could not be reached elsewhere for comment. In a statement released by the university, Strine said: “Though it is hard to step aside, I am confident that this step helps the university and those it serves.”
Strine will receive a severance package of $847,308. That includes 18 months of pay, plus six months of pay for his wife, Sharon Strine, who worked in marketing and has also resigned, according to an agreement signed Monday. Strine’s annual salary was $450,000, a university spokeswoman said.
Strine’s departure was widely anticipated in the wake of the June crisis. But many guessed he would leave only when he could publicly announce acquiring another job.
Tuesday’s announcement came when the campus was relatively empty, with summer school over and the start of fall classes still weeks away.
“I think it’s healthy as it allows the administration to get back to the business of managing the financial future of the university,” said David Leblang, chairman of the politics department, who called the job “a terribly important position at this moment in the life of the university.”
When Sullivan’s presidency was in limbo in June, Strine was one of the school’s most visible leaders.
But rumors spread that Strine had worked against the president in his dealings with Dragas and the governing Board of Visitors. On June 15, Strine read a statement at a staff meeting that said he was not involved with Sullivan’s removal. During that meeting, Strine said he had met with board members who had posed critical questions about Sullivan, but he told them to take their concerns to her directly.
At one point in June, Sullivan’s allies said she would return to the job only if Strine left.