(You can read the full article here: “At U-Va., e-mails show faltering efforts at crisis control.” And here are related e-mail documents, along with annotations: “The U-Va. crisis communications effort.”)
As the board and others released statements to explain their positions, faculty, alumni and other supporters of U-Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan payed close attention to the wording in those statements. Here are a few phrases that were quoted over and over again:
“Strategic dynamism.” Hours after the announcement of Sullivan's resignation, a U-Va. business school trustee, Peter Kiernan, sent a mass e-mail stating that he and “two important Virginia alums” knew about Sullivan’s forced resignation weeks ahead of time. The e-mail was widely circulated and led to rumors that a small group of powerful donors had orchestrated the ouster. The e-mail repeatedly used the abstract biz-school-sounding phrase “strategic dynamism,” a term that came to represent differing opinions on how best to run a university.
“Modicum of candor.” Early on, the U-Va. student newspaper requested e-mails exchanged by Dragas and Kington in the days before the ouster was announced. In one of those e-mails, which is a public record, Kington contemplated communicating with a reporter, telling Dragas and another university official: “Maybe a modicum of candor is called for— Helen, your thoughts?” Those seeking a full explanation of Sullivan’s ouster began using the phrase “modicum of candor” in their pleas.
“#BOV.” Each state school has a different system of public governance. Most public universities in Virginia are governed by a “board of visitors” that is appointed by the governor. The leader of the board is the “rector.” In June, these odd words became an even stronger part of the U-Va. lexicon. So, too, did the Twitter hashtag, #BOV.
What phrases and buzzwords did I forget? Go ahead and post them in the comments section below.