My Response to UVA's Interim President's email to the McIntire Community

June 20th, 2012  |  Published in Musings

My Response to UVA's Interim President's email to the McIntire Community

The Interim President at UVA sent an email out to the Commerce School's Alumni.   Since I know I won't hear back from him, I thought I would post my response here (typos and all unfortunately).   His original email appears after my response.

Carl,

“When it became clear to me that the decision which created this situation would not be reversed”

I must have missed your public comments expressing your desire to reverse this situation.   All I remember seeing is an email from you to the McIntire Community telling everyone to support the BOV.  Perhaps in private you were complaining to the BOV while in public you were sticking your head up their ass as far as possible.   Why should we believe anything you say?

"We may not agree with the recent decision involving President Sullivan"

Really?  Now you say that you don’t agree?  Really?  Why not come out, as Interim President, and demand that those on the BOV that are accountable for this mess resign?   What are they going to do fire you?  For better or worse, they really can’t touch you right now.  So, why don’t you really tackle the root cause of the recent fiasco?   Your support for President Sullivan was amazingly silent.  I bet she really appreciated the fact that you stuck your head in the sand in order to curry favor with BOV.   Well played, sir.

"Everyone, from Mr. Jefferson to our entering students, should expect no less"

Do you have some superpower that we don’t know about?   How do you know what Thomas Jefferson would expect?  Now, that would be impressive.  Perhaps you are talking about Sherman Helmsley who played Mr. Jefferson on the Jeffersons .  Perhaps he gave you some tips on “Movin’ On Up!”  Enjoy the big house you get.  Oh, and enjoy the protestors.

"Some people disagree with my decision to serve in this role, and I understand their reasons. After profound deliberation, however, I felt that I had no choice"

Nah, have at it.  It is going to be the most miserable experience of your career.   You will get to be the President that was in charge when the University lost its elite standing.  Thanks helping chucking away a lot of the equity in my degree.

"I intend to rely on the same formula for success that we use in the McIntire School: a shared understanding and commitment to an ambitious strategy, an unselfish and dedicated community, and a phenomenal team effort"

If that formula is to say one thing in public and another in private, I wouldn’t call that a team effort.  I would call it being a good politician.   UVA doesn’t need a politician right now, it needs a leader.  Perhaps in some of your past endeavors you were a leader, but this email is another attempt to appeal to the masses by saying you supported Sullivan when you know you didn’t.  In case this gets passed around.  I am not close enough to the University to know if Sullivan was the right person or not.  However, I am close enough to this situation to know that it was handled in the worst way possible and led by people with extremely selfish intentions.

"I have asked Senior Associate Dean Rick Netemeyer to serve as the Interim Dean of the McIntire School until I return."

You won’t be returning.  Either you will get washed away in this whole mess or you will become the permanent President of the University.  Oh, wouldn’t it be a sign of leadership to say that you WILL UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES accept the President position on a permanent basis.  That would give you even more freedom to do the right things.  I guess we will get another email in year saying, “When the BOV of visitors all got on their knees (something they usually do only for the Governor) and begged me to take this job full-time, I realized I had no choice.”

David Price
COMM 88

From: Carl Zeithaml [mailto:deanz@virginia.edu] 
Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2012 8:06 AM
To: David Price
Subject: University and McIntire School Leadership

McIntire Alumni,

As you probably know, yesterday I was asked by the Board of Visitors to serve as Interim President of the University, effective August 16. I accepted this daunting responsibility because, at this time of turmoil and uncertainty, we need all members of the UVA community to step forward and ensure that the mission of our great University is fulfilled. When it became clear to me that the decision which created this situation would not be reversed, I agreed to join with many colleagues across the University who recognize that we need to reestablish a clear and positive momentum. We cannot, even for a moment, abandon our immediate and exceptional commitment to our students, our patients, learning and knowledge creation, community and professional service, and, very simply, to each other. We may not agree with the recent decision involving President Sullivan or the process, but, rather than walk away, it is up to us, faculty, staff, students, and alumni, to continue to forge UVA as a preeminent global university. Everyone, from Mr. Jefferson to our entering students, should expect no less.

Some people disagree with my decision to serve in this role, and I understand their reasons. After profound deliberation, however, I felt that I had no choice. I am sorry if you disagree with my decision, but please join me in my efforts to move the University forward. I intend to rely on the same formula for success that we use in the McIntire School: a shared understanding and commitment to an ambitious strategy, an unselfish and dedicated community, and a phenomenal team effort. I will need each of you to help me in this new role, and the School will need you. I hope you will understand my reasons for making this very difficult decision.

Because I am temporarily leaving the job that I truly love, I have asked Senior Associate Dean Rick Netemeyer to serve as the Interim Dean of the McIntire School until I return. He agreed with his usual thoughtful and humble dedication to the School. Rick is an extraordinary scholar, teacher, and academic leader, and I know he will work closely with the rest of our terrific leadership team to continue our tradition of excellence, innovation, and community. As always, it will be an exciting and challenging year, and please provide Rick and the rest of our School leaders with the extraordinary and generous support that I enjoyed for the past 15 years. 

I look forward to seeing you in my travels and on Grounds, to your essential engagement in the School and University, and to your overall great support. The McIntire School has a strong foundation built on its people, and I know that we will excel through this time. Thank you very much for everything, and I hope to see you soon.

Carl

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