Reinstate University of Virginia President

Target: Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell

Goal: Reinstate former University of Virginia President Terry Sullivan after her coerced resignation

There have been widespread student protests on the campus of the University of Virginia after the resignation of President Terry Sullivan was announced. Board of Visitors Rector Helen Dragas released an official statement to the press attempting to explain the decision, but failed to even mention Sullivan’s name, let alone pin any causal evidence to her termination. The statement cited ten reasons why the university should be concerned with its future, mostly related to lack of funding and technological lapses. The statement blames this panic on the lack of an overarching strategic plan, and further blames the former board for being incompetent in the selection of a university president, a particularly ironic point, considering Dragas was vice rector of the board at the time.

Yet there is no link to Sullivan’s performance, no listing of individual job requirements unmet. Dragas admits the board “should have handled the situation better,” in response to critics condemning the almost unilateral approach to the termination, and apologized. The statement sounds more like an appeasement than a sincere apology.

The bottom line is that as a political overseer of the University’s well-being, Helen Dragas does not like what she sees. Instead of joining forces with President Sullivan to create a long-term strategic initiative, she has essentially blamed Sullivan for problems dating back more than a decade (Sullivan was named president in 2010).

Students and faculty have made their opinion strong and clear. They are outraged. They want Sullivan back. Sign below to join them.


Dear Governor McDonnell,

The recent resignation of University of Virginia President Terry Sullivan was an unjust coercion by Board of Visitors Rector Helen Dragas. While we are aware of Mrs. Dragas’s impeccable standing in the business community, her actions as Rector are disturbing and unacceptable. Furthermore, the public statement she issued provides no evidence into the Board’s decision to terminate President Sullivan, no more than the Board members themselves could be implicated for.

The University of Virginia students and faculty have sounded. They want their President back. The reputation of Jefferson’s University is not at stake with Sullivan at the helm, although it might be with a business-minded pundit like Helen Dragas making appointee decisions. Please reinstate Terry Sullivan Presidential status and reconsider Helen Dragas’s appointment as Board of Visitors Rector.


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40 Signatures

  • Ana Maria Mainhardt Carpes
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  • Frédérique Pommarat
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