The University of Virginia Darden School of Business held a Town Hall meeting on 14 June 2012 to have a constructive dialogue about the sudden resignation of University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan on Sunday, 10 June.
Darden Dean Bob Bruner and University of Virginia Provost and Executive Vice President John Simon led the meeting and urged the University community to stand strong at this moment and to be guided by its founding principles of honor and integrity. They expressed appreciation for all that Teresa Sullivan has done for the Darden and University communities and declared a commitment to transparency and openness.
"Let's live our values," said Dean Bob Bruner. "We deliver world-class education experiences thanks to a community of open engagement and discussion."
During the meeting, Darden faculty and staff members asked questions about the unexpected and abrupt resignation of President Sullivan, conveyed dismay over the lack of transparency and communication from the Board of Visitors and inquired about the next steps for the University.
The School leaders said that the Board of Visitors will hold a meeting on Monday to begin the process of appointing an interim President.
Dean Bob Bruner also read a statement from Peter D. Kiernan, who announced his resignation as chair of the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees and member of the board. (Kiernan's full statement appears below.) Kiernan's resignation followed a widely publicized e-mail that he wrote regarding the president's resignation and his conversations with the University's rector. Kiernan has made it clear that he acted through his own personal relationships and not in any official capacity. In addition, he issued a heartfelt apology for complicating the already difficult situation to the University of Virginia and Darden communities.
Members of the Darden community expressed appreciation to Darden Dean Bob Bruner for calling the Town Hall meeting and recommended that the next meeting of the deans of the University of Virginia take place at Darden - an idea to which Simon was open.
June 14, 2012
To the U.Va. Community,
As someone who has profound respect and love for the University of Virginia, I write to apologize for my role in further complicating the already difficult situation after Teresa Sullivan's resignation as president.
The content of my e-mail sent to the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees on Sunday, June 10, was confusing at a critical moment for the University and unfairly associated the Darden School with a situation in which it was not involved. No one from Darden - not the dean, nor the faculty, nor the administration, nor the Foundation Board - was involved. The conversations about President Sullivan's transition that I referred to in my e-mail were conducted through my own personal relationships and not in any official capacity.
So that my actions do not further impact Darden or the University community, I am stepping down as chair of the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees and resigning from the board.
Exceptional work is happening at Darden and across the University. As evidenced in recent days, people across the community care deeply about this University and will no doubt ensure that U.Va.'s future will be as strong as its past. Once again, I apologize to Dean Bruner, and to all of my friends, colleagues and professors at the Darden School and the University of Virginia who have been affected by my actions.
Peter D. Kiernan