The University of Virginia Board of Visitors reversed itself yesterday and reinstated Teresa Sullivan as the university's president, an announcement greeted by cheers from student protesters and whoops of triumph from some faculty.
If I were the governor, I would fire the whole board, something he threatened to do last week. Certainly Rector Helen Dragas has to go; how can she and Sullivan work together in the future? More broadly, what authority will the board now have to do anything?
And what authority will the president have, beholden as she is to the faculty and students for her job?
An optimist might hope that this event will inspire everyone to work together to find new ways to teach better while spending less, but such an optimist would be mad. Likely the event will inspire greater caution and inertia in everyone. Rising costs and declining learning will remain the order of the day. As I said before, I don't think the president of UVA can do much about these trends herself, but it would be nice to hear her talk about how to make sure the students learn instead of how to shore up the university's reputation.