Tuesday, June 26, 2012

UVA presidency battle background

So, when the story broke about the forced resignation of the president of the University of Virginia, I had no idea what brought Teresa Sullivan to suddenly quit after only two years on the job. It seemed to come from out of the blue.

Being old and out of touch with much of what goes on, I’m getting used to things making little sense to me. So, I read a few articles in the days following the news. I didn’t have much to say about the imbroglio that ensued, because reading between the lines wasn't easy. In other words, the stories about online studies disputes and large contributors didn’t quite ring true ... something seemed missing.

Could it all really be about personality clashes? Why was Larry Sabato saying it was all going to blow back on Gov. Bob McDonnell? 

Well, it seems my problem was that I was reading articles that were tiptoeing around the politics. To understand better what unseen forces have been at work in this brouhaha I needed to look to the dark side of the political spectrum -- the perpetually angry vast rightwing conspiracy.

It’s funny. When I first saw that Sullivan had been ousted, I wondered if it had anything to do with the recent legal attacks on UVA by the commonwealth’s attorney general, Tea Party darling Ken Cuccinelli ... attacks that failed miserably in court. But I dismissed the thought, laughing at myself for assuming the worst about grandstanding arch conservatives, when I had no evidence.

Now, it turns out my knee-jerk pessimism was on the money, so to speak. Yes, it appears this nasty business has been, among other things, another contrived episode in the campaign to destroy public education, as we’ve known it to be.

Sullivan has been perceived by some ultra conservative players in the background of this picture as a lily-livered liberal. They see Sullivan as tied to Elizabeth Warren, who is a high profile consumer advocate Democrat, who happens to be running for the Senate in Massachusetts. 

Here are two eye-opening examples of the thinking behind getting rid of Sullivan. Click here and here. There’s plenty more out there.

So, in some ways of seeing it, this complicated story has been another battle in the same tiresome culture war that has had us arguing forevermore about everything from climate change to evolution. From gun controls to abortion.

So it goes...

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