Tuesday, June 19, 2012

God bless President Sullivan; we must not forget the most vulnerable

The Board of Visitors, the trustees who govern the University of Virginia and who have so ineptly governed themselves over the last 10 days, finished its meeting at 3 am early this morning with the announcement of the appointment of an interim president which you can read HERE.

Teresa Sullivan, who has been a class act throughout this sorry episode, will finish her time with us very soon. She walked through the crowds yesterday with her head high, and the board of visitors who fired her slinked out of town in the wee hours of the night. It was a very sorry and sad day for this iconic and historic university founded by Thomas Jefferson.

The trust between the governing board and those they govern will not be easily regained. Star faculty will leave, and life will go on. Budget cuts at UVA will be made, and those who live closest to the economic margin in our community will be hit the hardest. Those who can speak must continue to speak out, especially now. The issues are far deeper than about a single leader of a single university.

Recently, IMPACT, our coalition of 28 faith communities has worked on job creation for low income people in Charlottesville. We've focused closely on the UVA Medical system, the biggest employment driver in our community. President Sullivan's dismissal is a definite set back to this work.

But our work must continue.

I pray that the commitment shown by thousands in our community in recent days in supporting President Sullivan will remain. And I pray it will be channeled not just toward academic performance, but also for the most vulnerable in our community. Terry Sullivan implored us to "create a caring community," and included everyone in this community, especially those who are the most vulnerable: the sick, the poor, the non-white.

And let me repeat once again: God bless President Sullivan.

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