In the Chronicle of Higher Education this month, UVa Professor Bruce Holsinger wrote an intriguing commentary on Rector Helen Vargas attempt to spin the temporary suspension of President Teresa Sullivan by soliciting students and faculty to write opinion pieces that supported her point of view.
He writes:”On September 12, The Washington Post reported on a newly released tranche of e-mails between Rector Helen Dragas and other members of the university community. Among the messages are two exchanges that shed disturbing new light on the rector’s actions in the wake of her efforts to oust President Teresa Sullivan. Both speak volumes about her idiosyncratic understanding of free expression at the university whose board she oversees.To put it bluntly, these e-mail exchanges point to a direct and covert attempt on Dragas’s part to influence the content of students’ and faculty’s written expression.”
He concludes, “Time will tell what comes of this surreptitious attempt by UVa’s appointed leader to enlist her own university’s faculty and students to advocate the legitimacy of her views. Dragas’s actions provide yet more evidence that the rector has undermined the fundamental values of the institution she serves.”