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Chris Graham: The silence from McDonnell on UVa. fiasco is deafening

The putsch that led to the forced resignation of University of Virginia president Teresa Sullivan was done with Gov. Bob McDonnell’s full knowledge and support.

That’s the only thing that we can conclude based on the continuing silence from the governor’s office on the ouster of Sullivan, the eighth UVa. president and, unless something changes in the coming weeks, the shortest tenured, at just two years in office.

That we still really don’t know what led to her forced departure more than a week since the rushed Sunday-morning announcement is indicative of something sinister going on behind the scenes. It appears that exactly three people made the call – Rector Helen Dragas, Vice Rector Mark Kington and board member Hunter Craig. Those three to date are the only members of the UVa. Board of Visitors to vote on Sullivan’s fate.

That’s three members out of a board of 16. The full board is scheduled to meet later today (Monday, June 18) to consider the appointment of an interim president, ostensibly forcing the other 13 members to finally weigh in on what has been taking place on Grounds the past eight days.

The only public comment from McDonnell on the matter to date, meanwhile, came on a conference call with reporters on Friday to discuss his ongoing European trade mission. When asked to weigh in, McDonnell offered the ultimate copout, saying that he would not micromanage the decision of the board.

The governor will be forced to play his hand in the days leading up to July 1, when Dragas is up for reappointment to a second four-year term on the Board of Visitors. If McDonnell were to reappoint her, that would send a clear signal that he was indeed micromanaging the departure of Sullivan, UVa.’s first female president.

As to the why, well, we’ll just have to continue to speculate until the putschers are forced to finally reveal their reasoning.

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