Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Ousting of a President

The Charlottesville free paper The Hook has been doing some great reporting on the developing scandal of the removal of President Teresa Sullivan at the University of Virginia. Read all about it here.

Governor Bob McDonnell is claiming ignorance about the ouster--athough the chair of the board of the Business School, Greenwich venture capitalist Peter Kieran, stated in an email that "no major decision of this kind can be made at Virginia without the support and assent of the Governor." (Kieran evidently clicked "reply all" on this cataclysmically embarrassing email, and is now the former chair of the board.)  
"As the Hook reported, financier and UVA alum Paul Tudor Jones II appears to have had a key role in removing Sullivan, as her ouster may have been a condition of a major donation from the Greenwich, Connecticut billionaire. However, Jones also had a key role in McDonnell's 2009 election campaign as a major donor, giving the candidate $100,000."

So what's behind the coup at UVA?  ""The theory I have is that Goldman Sachs’s Education Management Corporation, a for-profit education provider, wanted to make or made a bid to offer online education through UVA," writes Anne-Marie Angelo on a blog that's been turning heads."  

There's no question that the UVA president-removal fiasco will be a staple of B-School cases on catastrophic decision-making. More importantly, it's a window into the arrogance and corruption at the heart of modern corporate efforts to commercialize the academy. To quote The Hook:
"In the 21st century," writes UVA-based media scholar Siva Vaidhyanathan in Slate following Sullivan's ouster, "robber barons try to usurp control of established public universities to impose their will via comical management jargon and massive application of ego and hubris."

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