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UVa disaster continues: One of the top 13 professors has resigned

Read the resignation letter from University Professor Bill Wulf (Computer Science).  It’s a beauty.  It reminds me of one of those letters that your write in a fever and then debate whether to send or not.

Here’s a snippet:

Dean and Interim President Zeithaml,

By this email I am submitting my resignation, effective immediately. I do not wish to be associated with an institution being as badly run as the current UVa. A BOV that so poorly understands UVa, and academic culture more generally, is going to make a lot more dumb decisions, so the University is headed for disaster, and I don’t want to be any part of that. And, frankly, I think you should be ashamed to be party to this debacle!

 [rather impressive bio goes here]

In short we have extensive experience that spans academia, executive positions in the private sector, government, and board memberships. So we deeply understand the proper conduct of academic administration and the proper oversight of that administration by a board, In my opinion the BOV has perpetrated are the worst example of corporate governance I have ever seen.

To repeat_- I resign. I want no part of this ongoing fiasco.

Bill Wulf

Wm. A. Wulf University Professor, Dept. of Computer Science University of Virginia, and President Emeritus, National Academy of Engineering

Bill Wulf is not a slacker.  It’s unclear whether his wife intends to follow him.  There are other tweet rumors that the Vice Rector, Mark Kington was also in the process of has resigned. The vice rector is the second ranked member of the Board of Visitors who forced Sullivan to resign.  Governor McDonnell of Virginia,  appears to be cautiously critical of the board’s actions.  But half of the board members are his appointees.

And what of the interim president who was appointed today to take Sullivan’s place?

Zeithaml will take a leave of absence from the McIntire School during his tenure as interim president. In March, Bloomberg Businessweek ranked the McIntire School as the No. 2 undergraduate business program in the country, and the No. 1 MBA feeder school.

He specializes in the field of strategic management. He joined the McIntire School in 1997.

It sounds like the university community knows *exactly* what’s going on, who is doing it and why.  This isn’t about change.  It’s a corporate coup of MBA management assholes who are going to restructure the University to be more attentive to their needs.  They know nothing about academia but they have a lot of experience with management techniques.  Gawd help UVa.  They’re going to need it.

If UVa doesn’t have an Occupy group, now’s a good time to start one.  If they were located closer to a major metropolitan area, they’d be getting recruits to help make some noise.  But Charlottesville is kind of isolated.  Nevertheless, I hope the protestors get the attention they deserve.  When it can happen at UVa, no university is safe from the bonus class.

Update: the more I read about the forced resignation of Sullivan, the weirder this story gets.  A couple of sources (Here and here) are reporting that the board of Visitors did not meet to take a vote to get rid of Sullivan, that there was no unanimous vote and that Rector Dargas has been planning this resignation for months in secret without any faculty input.

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12 Responses

  1. I linked to a good commentary about university presidencies yesterday: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/patricia-mcguire/teresa-sullivan-uva_b_1603531.html. It is HuffnPuffnFluff unfortunately, Your assessment is on target and this assault is being directed by the governing board. I went through one of those “we’ll run this place like a business” stupidity fits. My school went from 90% faculty to 20% in the space of five years. Needless to say, hall-walking coffee drinkers (managers) ballooned. I went from two positions between me and the president to five people between me and the CEO.

    When all of our faculty resigned,the reaction from our leaders was joyous. These kind of people are monsters, whether on school boards,corporate boards,the Supreme Court, Congress,or slithering in the White House.

  2. The only remedy which the non-corrupt faculty and non-corrupt governators (who/whatever they might be) of the university will be to aggressively seek work in other places so fast and furious that mass
    defections can effectively destroy this university and abolish it from existence fast enough to serve as a lesson to the other universities.
    If it is destroyed more slowly by these apparent take-over artists, it
    will be spun as the first/best example of new thinking, and the same methods will be employed against other universities.

    This is about very fast killing a cow with hoof and mouth disease in order to prevent it from infecting the herd.

  3. Sounds like they have been taking direction from the Susan Komen Foundation for stupidity.

  4. For those who don’t know, what will probably happen is the corporate muckety mucks will basically make “requests” of the professors that would be offensive to any free thinking individual, such as,
    “get better results”, or you will be fired, fined, or possibly have your class load reduced and your pay reduced as well.

    In other words, what these types basically do is bully people, threaten them for a desired result, and if the result is not attained, there will be some type of punitive action taken against the “offender”.

    Of course, the muckety mucks that have been hired will get paid a shtload of money. Sort of like, (this is just an example) “one for me, one for you”, for every dollar they get paid, they will save the school two dollars, in essence, a fifty percent commission, or something almost as obscene.

  5. Lest we forget: MBA = Master of Bullshitting and Assholery. :twisted:

  6. from Lambert’s links at Naked Capitalism today I found this interesting article:

    A theory of what led to Sullivan’s ouster | Anne-Marie Angelo

    (I don’t know if RiverDaughter has linked to it yet.)

    • I think I read that late last night. It makes a lot of sense and is probably the leading theory IMHO.

  7. Off topic but have you read this?

    http://tinyurl.com/7myvtco

    [Open in new window]
    Can someone who’s a lot savier than I , explain why this tiny url is unlinkable. What am I doing wrong? It humbles me to ask and, I guess, that’s always a good thing. I guess.

  8. Well, what do you know!
    My first real link and I see it’s on the side of this page, anyway.

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