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U-Va. faculty hold raucous meeting over ousted president

Teresa Sullivan, president of the University of Virginia, listens at the Bloomberg Innovation and Economy roundtable event in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011. U.S. House Republican Leader Eric Cantor told the gathering of chief executive officers and university leaders that his party agrees on the need to grant visas to skilled workers more quickly. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Teresa Sullivan (Andrew Harrer/BLOOMBERG)

The university’s chief academic officer, Provost John Simon, set a defiant tone. He said he wanted to do the right thing and set a good example for his children on Father’s Day by taking a stand against the ouster of Sullivan. He had praised her previously but stopped well short of criticizing the Board of Visitors that removed her.

“I now find myself at a defining moment, confronting and questioning whether honor, integrity and trust are truly the foundational pillars of life at the University of Virginia,” he said, remarks that struck to the heart of the university’s fabled honor code.

“The board actions over the next few days will inform me as to whether the University of Virginia remains the type of institution I’m willing to dedicate my efforts to help lead,” he said.

As she left the meeting, one psychology professor said she felt much the same.

“I will find another job at another university,” she said, speaking anonymously so as to protect her current one. “I don’t want to teach at a place like this.”

The faculty meeting, ostensibly to ratify a no-confidence vote in the university’s governing board, spawned a traffic jam of Volvos and hybrids at the Darden business school, which played host.

Virginia Delegate David Toscano was among the attendees.

“I have not heard one single comment from somebody in the community who supports this decision,” he said. “This is 98 percent opposed. And I haven’t heard from the other two percent.”

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