UVa board meeting ends in heckling

Readers may recall my earlier report on the strange weekend ouster of UVa president Teresa Sullivan last week where I suggested there might be a Michael Mann connection because supposedly he was offered the Kington chair, and the fellow whose name is on it allegedly called the emergency weekend stealth meeting leaving some board members behind. UVa has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting FOIA requests from the American Tradition Institute and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for Mann’s emails related to his publication of MBH98 done while at UVa, and from what I hear, this issue has been very unpopular with some alumni and has resulted in some fund raising issues under Sullivan’s tenure.

Now, in the middle of this turmoil, word on the street is that Michael Mann will not get the Kington Chair. Meanwhile Larry Sabato, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics reveals (via his Twitter Feed ) the mood at the wee hours of the morning end of the UVa board meeting (at 2:39AM) after the weekend coup ousting president Sullivan.

From The Republic it seems the faculty is pretty upset too:

University of Virginia asks rector, vice rector to resign after president’s ouster

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — University of Virginia faculty leaders on Monday demanded the reinstatement of the school’s president and the resignation of two board members involved in her ouster. Officials gave no sign of complying, but acknowledged they could have handled Teresa Sullivan’s abrupt departure better.

“We recognize that, while genuinely well-intended to protect the dignity of all parties, our actions too readily lent themselves to perceptions of being opaque and not in keeping with the honored traditions of this university,” Rector Helan Dragas said in a statement issued by the university.

“For that reason, let me state clearly and unequivocally: You, our U.Va. family, deserved better from this board, and we have heard your concerns loud and clear.”

That wasn’t good enough for members of the Faculty Senate, who earlier met privately with board members to demand the removal of both Dragas and Vice Rector Mark J. Kington. The Senate’s executive committee also requested that faculty be given a voting position on the board, known as the Board of Visitors.

full story at The Republic

h/t to Ryan Maue

[UPDATE: I trust Anthony will not object to my adding that the “Kington chair” he refers to is actually the Joe D. and Helen J. Kington Professorship in Environmental Change. It is a newly endowed professorship, and it was established by their son, Mark Kington, in the memory of his parents. Mark is active in UVA matters, and presumable is the man Anthony refers to as working behind the scenes with the Board. -w.]

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ferdberple

Similar to the actions of ex NASA employees speaking up, most people fear to speak up because they fear for their jobs. Thus it often falls to ex employees, retirees, and alumni to correct the evils that flourish when good men (and women) remain silent.

Phil C

UVa has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting FOIA requests from the American Enterprise Institute and Attourney General Ken Cuccinelli for Mann’s emails related to his publication of MBH98 done while at UVa, and from what I hear, this issue has been very unpopular with some alumni … .
And where have you heard this? I haven’t seen any evidence that Mann had anything to do with the President’s ouster.

Tom Tanton

I believe the FOIA’s referred to have been filed by American Tradition Institute, not American Enterprise Institute.
[REPLY: So many Institutes! Fixed. Thanks. -REP]

very confusing. no official acknowledgement of what the issue is, and Sabato says Kington et al are unpopular, not Sullivan. ??

John F. Hultquist

The kerfuffle has led to fund raising issues, and the following fits:
QUOTE:
According to the onetime editor of Woodrow Wilson’s papers, however, long before any of them strode the academic-political scene, Wilson observed often that the intensity of academic squabbles he witnessed while president of Princeton University was a function of the “triviality” of the issues being considered.
http://ask.metafilter.com/80812/Academic-politics-are-vicious-because-the-stakes-are-so-low

Physics Major

One of the problems at universities is that the faculty refuse to acknowledge that they are just employees.

PaulH

I’m sorry, but this seems a bit “gossipy.” Shouldn’t we wait for some verifiable information?

Dear Mr. Watts, etal.
Some good info on the power elites we are all up against over at another blog.
Denis McDonough, who is very very close to Pres. Obama. He is now the leader on the NSC.
Seems that he has common problems for you guys and we others.
He is the guy who is running the protection operation on Fast and Furious as well as he is a user of the CO2 fraud your working on here.
Good read, but long, notwithstanding we of the Forward Operating Post know that rule one is know what the other guys are doing.
He is doing things, come to know him and those things.
http://www.sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/
Thanks for the space to post.
fob person
REPLY: Thanks, but no “Dr.” should be attached to my name – Anthony

John F. Hultquist

Phil C says:
June 19, 2012 at 8:09 am
And where have you heard this? I haven’t seen any evidence that Mann had anything to do with the President’s ouster.

Define “see”! Mann is not really the point. Money is the point. Connect the dots. Follow the money.
http://blogs.wsj.com/ideas-market/2012/06/18/inside-the-turmoil-at-the-university-of-virginia/?KEYWORDS=uva+president+sullivan

tadchem

Dragas and Kinton claim to have ‘heard’, but were they *listening*?
What do they intend to DO – besides watching their credibility melt faster than the ice in a Mint Julep in June?

John Whitman

The suddeness and urgency of the weekend process that resulted in Sullivan’s dismissal is not consistent with her having financially underperformed nor with her resistance to modernization.
Those were sort of the official reasons given for her dismissal.
The actual reason could be something more accute and embarrassing. Waiting for evidence about what the real reason might be for the suddenness of her dismissal.
John

oeman50

This thing is crazy. As a UVA student parent and an alumni, I find Dr. Sullivan’s ouster apparently by a select few on the Board, to be disturbing. I suspect Mann’s impact on this is minor if it had any impact at all.

woodNfish

This post does not reveal who the real crooks are at UVA. Is it the ex-president, the Board, the faculty, a combination of each or some?

Ian Hoder

You’re still wildly speculating on her departure. Hopefully the next president will be a bit more amenable to FOIA requests.

Grey Lensman

Any university admin that does not know the difference between ouster and ousting is not worthy of the position.

DesertYote

Sullivan is a radical lefty. She gets fired, probably because of things she did because she is a radical lefty. Now the Marxist faculty is having a fit and orchestrating protests and propaganda campaigns. Just watch for all the pro Sullivan trolls, with handle we have never seen before, to start showing up on every story related to this issue.

Duster

One point of great significance is that no reason has been given for the dismissal of Sullivan. There are reasons why various people and groups might have liked to see her fired, but, there simply is no real information available.

People, read the first article linked above if you are confused to who is who in this saga. It is a saga because frankly we are witnessing a power struggle that is most probably due to AGW politics. The fact is that it has very little to do with anything other then money. Some people want to keep the climate gravy train going and want to prevent FOIA requests and to give jobs to people such as Dr. Mann who have soiled the name of the university. The people so mentioned are probably mostly faculty and grad students who stand to lose big if the university starts going even somewhat balanced on the issue of AGW. They stand to lose big, but in the end the university is getting hurt more by the nonsense due to people not donating money simply because they disagree with the political aspects of AGW and how the university is covering things up and not having full disclosure and hiring such unsavory people.
That is the power struggle in a nutshell. I doubt the people fighting against AGW for the most part in this struggle care about the struggle itself…they are fighting against it due to the money angle and nothing else. Their jobs are to make sure the university is flush with cash, and since its losing more then it gains for going pro-CAGW, well in other words the cat is out of the bag and the people who can think are fighting back for no other reason but for the money.
This is how popular discourse and how websites and blogs like WUWT make a difference. They show the world how science has been hijacked by activists and how you can make a difference by countering free Government pork with not giving money to a university that is not honoring FOIA requests and is in other words digging its head in the giant trough of taxpayer money being given away.
This is probably the best grassroots way to end this charade of activist hijacked science at the college level in the US. Make the universities pay. When those “phone calls” come from your university talk the ear off of the person calling and tell them why you aren’t donating a cent and why you are telling everyone else not to as well. It seems to have really worked in this case….so its time to expand efforts. And when they do change their ways like in this case, donate the money.
People might not care about politics and/or global warming, but they do care about the money. Its always about the money no matter how much we talk about the science or the politics involved.

more soylent green!

I’m trying to connect the dots. I need more dots here, and less “read between the lines.”
IMO, Mann should be a discredit to any educational institution associated with his name. Can we show that fund-raising is down, and UVa’s obstruction of the FOIA requests are a factor? Can we show that alumni have raised this issue?

jayhd

Let’s not forget Sullivan and Elizabeth Warren’s paper.

jonnie

[SNIP: Way Off Topic for this thread. Please submit to Tips and Notes or perhaps here or even here. -REP]

Ed, "Mr." Jones

“Let’s not forget Sullivan and Elizabeth Warren’s paper.” E. Warren? Lieawatha? Fauxcahontas? Danceswithidentitypoliticsvictimstatus? That E. Warren?
Just Curious.

Henry chance

Physics Major says:
June 19, 2012 at 8:25 am
One of the problems at universities is that the faculty refuse to acknowledge that they are just employees.
I agree
Who is working for whom. The Board is not employed by the liberal faculty. The President is an employee and may have tried to think otherwise. . Maybe they ought to teach business class and teach the teachers that they are not owners. They are workers required to perform work.

John W. Garrett

One of my degrees came from UVa and I’m an outlaw of a former Rector. I’ve been a lifelong observer and participant in governance at academic institutions. It wasn’t all that long ago that these institutions were overseen by a handful of “pillars of society” possessing inherited fortunes who were simply carrying out the duties of noblesse oblige.
Somewhere along the road, academic institutions discovered marketing and salesmanship. With the active cooperation of the gullible and avaricious mainstream media, they exploited the insatiable demand for “prestigious” education by artifically constraining supply whilst simultaneously raising tuitions at twice the rate of inflation ( which they have now done for more than forty years). These institutions have always served as havens for anti-authoritarians and non-conformists seeking careers in academia as alternatives to traditional employment. Many of them bear a close resemblance to spoiled children— along with the same over-inflated ego, sense of entitlement and narcissism. Enabled by the rise of parvenus and noveau riches, “brand name” academic institutions began selling any and everything including— but not limited to— seats on the Board of Visitors/Overseers/Trustees. Not surprisingly, those Overseers/Rectors/Trustees somehow reached the perfectly understandable conclusion that they deserve something in return for all that money they’ve handed over.
Comedy is the inevitable result.

Michael Reed
Jeff Mitchell

My thought is that if this proves to be about AGW and Mann’s involvement, will it actually do us any good? My questions center around who was stonewalling the FOAI requests, and was Sullivan one of them? Everybody involved should leave. As long as we’re speculating devoid of much evidence, I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole group, president, rector, vice rector and BOV is all on the same side, but had a serious disagreement on how to proceed. Each time something happens at UVA we get the benefit of the Streisand Effect. Infighting actually helps us because it draws the story out over a longer period.
If they were smart they would use the David Letterman strategy: if a bad story is about to get out, get in front of it, handle it truthfully and get it over with. Dave got a blackmail offer from his producer to fork over a couple million bucks in trade for silence on his affairs in the rooms above his studio. Instead of paying off, he called the police, and went public with his indiscretions. As long as there is no resolution to the Mann story, people will keep digging and keep the story alive. Penn State whitewashed their Mann story, so that will continue to haunt them as well. At some point the story will come out, especially when people retire and tell what really happened at UEA, UVA and Penn. It is only a matter of time.

EternalOptimist

I had this weird idea that if Mann DOES get the Klingon chair at UVa, not only will we be able to get the UVa emails from when he wasn’t an employee, but we will NOW be able to get the Penn emails for an (soon to be) ex employee, and the icing on the cake – captains log, stardate 2012

Bill Illis

Why would any university hire Mann now?
They would have to care more about using unprofessional methods of supporting the AGW meme than the strength and standing of their university in the long-run.

Greg

Pure speculation. There is not a shred of information to suggest that the internal politics of UVa has anything at all to do with Mann. And the commentators referring to the “Marxist” faculty clearly have no knowledge of the economics department or business school at UVa!

As always, there will be those who believe it is in their best interest will be the ones who claim to be upset and of course, everyone is on their side in keeping the gravy chain status quo. NOT!
A crowd of 2000, from a possible 21,000 students and almost 8,000 staff makes a whopping 6.8% deciding it’s an unpopular board. That assumes that everyone protesting is directly associated with the university.
If someone who has and probably will make seriously substantial donations to UVa has finally gotten upset about a chair/position/science that involves his name; so be it! It’s about time. Now if only Congress will start making similar noises. Once the gravy chain starts starving malignant growths, there’ll be plenty of CAGW alarmists under the bus.

“…That wasn’t good enough for members of the Faculty Senate, who earlier met privately with board members to demand the removal of both Dragas and Vice Rector Mark J. Kington. The Senate’s executive committee also requested that faculty be given a voting position on the board, known as the Board of Visitors…”
Something the UVa may not have thought out. I’m sure that when Kington created that “newly endowed professorship”, there was a healthy donation along with it.
If they make him too mad, he might just take his chair and go home (and take all that lovely money with it).

jayhd

Yes Ed, that E. Warren. Breitbart has a nice piece on the two of them.

timg56

There seems to be a great deal of speculation here about this. In connecting the dots, I’d argue that what dots we have are widely scattered and could conceivably be connected in a number of ways that would provide widely different pictures.
I’d also point out that were there any hint that Ms Sullivan was asked to step down due to her views on CAGW, the reaction and comment here would turn 180 and be calling for the heads of those responsible.

PatK

As an alumnus of the University, the last few years have been filled with embarrassment as the University has flouted the law and protected Mann. Sullivan was hip deep in it as she was a full subscriber to the idea of the faculty being an enlightened class who should have to be accountable to the general rabble of the public and taxpayers. I am glad to see the BOV finally take a stand against an administrator. More power to them. The idea that professors have forgotten that they are employees is very true thoughout education, but especially so at the university level.

Manfred

The resonable place for Mann to be would a position at the Pacific Institute to join “high-profile climate scientists (such as Gleick)”.

DesertYote

Greg
June 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm
Pure speculation. There is not a shred of information to suggest that the internal politics of UVa has anything at all to do with Mann. And the commentators referring to the “Marxist” faculty clearly have no knowledge of the economics department or business school at UVa!
###
There is not an economics department or business school that is not awash with Marxist. You would know this but your education has been provided to you by Marxist and they sort of left out some details such as the history of Marxism. Besides, it is not running around with a red flag yelling “Workers of the world unite” that makes one a Marxist. If someone sees everything through the lens of a Marxist word-view, one is a Marxist.

Coach Springer

At this vague point of unkown reasons and players, it is easier to associate the reason to concern over image related to a questionable academic relationship with Elizabeth Warren and trying to become a premier research institute – leading to firing Sullivan without stating the reason. The protests are simply projection in reaction to not stating the reason. This seems similar to a bank firing an employee for theft but not wanting to be associated with it or to be subject to legal battles over the firing. Except for private health reasons, sudden unexplained resignations usually happen when a compromising situation arises and it is in everybody’s interest to sweep it under the rug as best as possible. In that case, the board and Sullivan expect to just ride out the waves of protest and let the whole thing die down. The board’s statement that they heard the protests about the lack of explanation loud and clear and then explained nothing is indicative.
Still, it could just be an insider power play by someone not liking the current direction and using other controversies as leverage. That seems less likely. The Mann controversy as the “primary driver” seems even less likely.
As a separate question, If you’re trying to become a premier research facility, how does the riddled work Mann has cranked out in the past and his current lame and self-serving diatribes help you? (It doesn’t, but if you’re trying to get the reputation for research that has had a huge political effect along with notoriety then you might want him back anyway. I think most universites would go with power and notoriety over an integrity first and above all approach. It pays better and controls the research at the same time.)
Does anyone know whether Kington wants to contribute to establishing a respectable science or was he just promoting climate scientists when that environmental chair was endowed? Were he or Sullivan either for or against Mann? Were he or Sullivan concerned by or in favor of the hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight divulging facts about the prior condut of Mann at UVA? Neither seems to have taken a position and that seems to remove a lot of opportunity for the kind of compromising situation that seems to have arisen to persuade her to resign.

David Jones

Let me, as a Brit, ask a question that, I’m sure, many other non-US followers of this blog are wondering.
Why the h*ll is anyone interested in the internal politics of a small, unheard of (outside Virginia) University?

Greg

This continues to be the most absurd speculative thread in the history of this (normally outstanding) blog. Sullivan was forced out for economic reasons, with the charge apparently led by Peter Kiernan from the Darden School of Business. By all accounts (save this thread) this is a battle about the financial future of the University and the best strategy for remaining viable.
The idea that because the President of a University where Michael Mann once (briefly, years ago) taught has been forced out is somehow related to CAGW is just screamingly myopic. There are issues in the world beyond climate change.
There are thousands of people commenting on this story at the Charlottesville Daily Progress (city paper) and the Cavalier Daily (student paper) and have been op-ed pieces in the Washington Post. Not only do none of those commentators mention Michael Mann, I’d venture a good number of them don’t even know who he is.

Greg says: (after commenting that there was just pure speculation at WUWT)
June 19, 2012 at 12:45 pm
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/hey_wait_a_minute/2012/06/teresa_sullivan_fired_from_uva_what_happens_when_universities_are_run_by_robber_barons_.single.html

Greg that’s an excellent piece. Lot of insight and wisdom.
The trickery Elizabeth Warren and Teresa Sullivan were accused of (see link above to Breitbart) has an uncanny similarity to Mann’s trickery: obstruction of data, with suspicion that this obstruction has been to hide fakery. So there could be a connection with Mann. And would publicity compare both these obstructions to the highly-damaging obstructive activity at another Uni this year, that for years had shielded a pedophile? Is this the reason for silence?
How big a dent has Mann’s court case costs been, on the overall UVa budget?

charles nelson

There are several comments above which suggest that our interest in events at small, obscure, second rate universities is; ‘irrelevant’ nay ‘screamingly myopic’!
Could I just remind these commenters that the ‘s’cientific foundations of the Global Warming Fraud were laid at small, obscure, second rate probably because the likes of Mann and Jones would never have gotten away with it at more reputable Universities.
We should indeed be interested in what goes on in instituions such as these.

Greg

charles – my point is the opposite. UVa is not a second rate university. It is a huge university with a well-known business school, a top-rated law school and a huge hospital. It is much bigger than one associate professor from ten years ago and a single FOI case.
BTW, this is also the University from which Fred Singer is professor emeritus.

rogerknights

UVA isn’t insignificant. It’s law school is one of the best in the US–perhaps THE best.

Coach Springer says:
June 19, 2012 at 2:31 pm
This seems similar to a bank firing an employee for theft but not wanting to be associated with it or to be subject to legal battles over the firing. Except for private health reasons, sudden unexplained resignations usually happen when a compromising situation arises and it is in everybody’s interest to sweep it under the rug as best as possible.

That’s my current best-guess too. The Board’s unanimity supports this interpretation.

Greg says: (after commenting that there was just pure speculation at WUWT)
June 19, 2012 at 12:45 pm
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/hey_wait_a_minute/2012/06/teresa_sullivan_fired_from_uva_what_happens_when_universities_are_run_by_robber_barons_.single.htm
Lucy Skywalker says June 19, 2012 at 3:31 pm:
Greg that’s an excellent piece. Lot of insight and wisdom.

Yes; excellent article; Siva Vaidhyanathan is one of my favorite hard-to-the-left authors penning/feigned ‘works’ for the likes of: (1) New York Times Magazine (an insert on Sunday to the NYT paper), (2) The Nation (cough-cough caution: HARD LEFT! cough-cough but I love watching Hurricane Katrina vanden Huevel ‘make a twisted argument’ based on what seems to be ‘severely altered reality’), (3) MSNBC.com, and (4) Salon.com while involved with ‘Media Studies’ (whatever those are) and Law (law? … supposedly) at the University of Virginia.
If he used the term “robber-barons” once he used it at least a dozen times; I had not realized that some adults are still enamored of ‘bogey men’ in their thinking processes supporting their need to apportion blame on others (primarily productive hard-working industrialists from the 1900’s!) for the world’s perceived ills today …
.

clipe

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Gail Combs

Coach Springer says: @ June 19, 2012 at 2:31 pm
This seems similar to a bank firing an employee for theft but not wanting to be associated with it or to be subject to legal battles over the firing. Except for private health reasons, sudden unexplained resignations usually happen when a compromising situation arises and it is in everybody’s interest to sweep it under the rug as best as possible.
_____________________________
ogerknights says: @ June 19, 2012 at 4:16 pm
That’s my current best-guess too. The Board’s unanimity supports this interpretation.
____________________________
Yes that is my best guess also. Either that or she managed to tic-off some VIP(s) donors with mega-bucks.
As you said U Va is a major law school so the use of University funds (and therefore donor funds) to do a CYA on Mann while he is at Penn may not have sat well with someone(s) trained in the law.

John W. Garrett

I doubt this imbroglio has much of anything to do with Cuccinelli v. UVa, There’s not much public evidence that would justify jumping to that very speculative conclusion.

PatK says:
June 19, 2012 at 1:29 pm
As an alumnus of the University, the last few years have been filled with embarrassment as the University has flouted the law and protected Mann. Sullivan was hip deep in it as she was a full subscriber to the idea of the faculty being an enlightened class who should have to be accountable to the general rabble of the public and taxpayers.

Extend and amend?
Reading for comprehension, PatK, a number greater than just a few of us are probably with more than just a little certainty concluding that your intention was to include a ‘not’ as part of this sentence as revised to include that term as shown below:
“Sullivan was hip deep in it as she was a full subscriber to the idea of the faculty being an enlightened class who should not have to be accountable to the general rabble of the public and taxpayers.”
I am happy to amend and extend your remark for this minor but important change on your behalf as both a taxpayer (although not in VA) and a member of the ‘general rabble’ who likes to see accountability generally (and generously) applied to all.
.