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Locals support ousted leader page 2
Area U.Va. alumni say they hope the university's president will be reinstated today.

Date published: 6/26/2012

By Jeff Branscome

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Hample, however, did run into controversies during her short tenure. Some complained that she wasn't visible on campus, and she was criticized for not shaking students' hands during graduation because of concerns over swine flu.

She also ran into trouble during a safety walk with students and other administrators after placing a emergency test call to campus police. She never told police it was a test, and they responded as if it were a real emergency.

House of Delegates Speaker Bill Howell, R-Stafford--who graduated from UVa. Law in 1967--said he, too, thinks Sullivan should be reinstated.

"I don't think it was handled properly," Howell said. "I do think it would calm things down, and she has three years left on her contract, and see how it goes."

Howell said he doesn't think the legislature needs to step in at this point--particularly because today's meeting could go a long way toward resolving things--but he does think university boards, and other state boards, need to clarify that they can't make big decisions like firing a university president without full meetings.

"It seems to me that basically two people convened an executive committee" to make the decision, Howell said. "That's wrong, and that ought to be in their operating procedures and their bylaws. I don't think it takes the General Assembly to tell them they need to do this."

Howell said he does have concerns about rising costs at state colleges and universities, and that such costs can't keep rising the way they have in recent years. Schools, he said, must run more efficiently, and governing boards must ensure that they do so.

McDaniel made similar points, and said he feels online education--reportedly a part of Dragas' concerns about Sullivan's leadership--is "a big, big deal."

But Sullivan deserves more time to step up to the plate, he said.

Local alumna Betsy Valentine said she, too, thinks Sullivan should be reinstated, and feels Dragas' stated reasons for asking for Sullivan's resignation were "superficial."

Valentine referred to op-eds and newspaper articles referenced in emails among Dragas and others before Sullivan was asked to resign.

"The more we find out about how they made their decision, the worse it is," Valentine said. "The whole thing was so superficial you don't base decisions of that magnitude on articles like that."


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