Paul Tudor Jones II, a prominent University of Virginia alumnus and billionaire hedge-fund manager, upset alumni and faculty members with comments he made at a campus event last month while discussing the disproportionate number of men who are financial traders, according to The Washington Post.
Mr. Jones was part of a panel of four investors convened to share their views on business and philanthropy. Several audience members submitted questions about the absence of women on the panel. During the exchange, Mr. Jones said many traders must work long hours and have an extraordinary commitment to the job. He suggested that many women opt out of such a demanding career, especially once they have children.
Carl P. Zeithaml, dean of the university’s McIntire School of Commerce, said he had received complaints about Mr. Jones’s comments, and sent an e-mail to students and faculty members urging everyone, including women and members of underrepresented minority groups, to “enthusiastically and optimistically” pursue the careers of their choice. He also shared an open letter from a 2001 alumnus urging young women to pursue careers in finance.
Mr. Zeithaml told the newspaper that Mr. Jones was sharing his view of the industry rather than offering an endorsement of the status quo, and said the remarks had largely been misinterpreted. “Paul was in no way trying to convey bias,” he said, though he acknowledged that Mr. Jones “might have said it a little bit differently.”
Helen E. Dragas, rector of the University of Virginia’s governing board, responded on Tuesday to faculty leaders who had criticized her reported conduct after a newspaper article suggested lingering friction between her and the university’s president, Teresa A. Sullivan. The apparent tension surfaced last week after The Washington Post published the text of an e-mail message in which Ms. Sullivan protested a list of 65 performance goals, 22 of them new, that Ms. Dragas sent the president in February.
Ms. Sullivan has played down news-media reports about her relationship with Ms. Dragas, who sought to oust her last June but weeks later joined in a unanimous vote to reinstate her. In response to the Post’s article, however, the UVa Faculty Senate’s Executive Council on Monday approved a statement saying Ms. Dragas’s “reported conduct does not embody the spirit of reconciliation and cooperation that we expected.”
On Tuesday, Ms. Dragas fired back in a letter to the faculty group, which was also obtained by the Post. “It is unfortunate, and disappointing,” she wrote, “to see the Faculty Senate react to a newspaper article that the Senate admits may not fully convey the substance or context of the situation.”
She declined to go into specifics of how the president’s goals had been set, saying the issue was “a confidential personnel matter.” But she did counter suggestions that a small faction of the board was seeking to micromanage the president, asserting that “at more than one step in this process” she had asked “the entire board to participate.”
She concluded by saying that she shared Ms. Sullivan’s publicly stated “commitment to work together” and invited faculty members “to join with us and to build trust and increase collaboration.”
Ever since Virginia’s governor, Robert F. McDonnell, reappointed Helen E. Dragas to another four-year term as rector of the University of Virginia’s governing board last summer, her opponents have been gearing up in hopes of blocking that move in the state legislature. Lawmakers have until February 8 to confirm her reappointment.
Opponents are upset that Ms. Dragas orchestrated a failed and very public campaign to oust the university’s president. Months later, the sting hasn’t worn off: They’re now so angry that they apparently can’t keep their feet on the ground.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that a plane was spotted flying over the State Capitol on Wednesday, pulling a banner reading “Restore Integrity at U.Va. Don’t Confirm Dragas.” One observer posted a photo to Twitter—the banner (circled in red) is hard to see, but a Times-Dispatch photographer snapped a better shot that’s visible here.
It’s not yet clear who’s responsible for the airborne lobbying campaign: Although a Virginia alumni group has been circulating petitions opposing Ms. Dragas’s reappointment, one of the group’s organizers told the Times-Dispatch that its members didn’t arrange the flyover.
And for all the effort it took to get the banner up in the air, it sounds as if most of the people it was trying to reach couldn’t even read it in the first place:
The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools announced on Tuesday that it had placed the University of Virginia on warning status for one year over the failed ouster of its president, Teresa A. Sullivan, an incident that threw the Charlottesville campus into turmoil this past summer. The Daily Progress reports that the commission’s decision was announced at its annual meeting, in Dallas. Previously, the commission and the university had traded letters about the episode, with the accreditor saying that it was not satisfied with Virginia’s explanation of Ms. Sullivan’s removal and subsequent reinstatement following a torrent of criticism. In a written statement cited by the newspaper, Virginia’s provost, John D. Simon, called the decision “disappointing” and added that the institution had been working “to ensure the highest level of transparency, accountability, and responsiveness to all those it serves.” An institution found to be out of compliance with the commission’s standards can face a warning or probation, and a warning is considered the less serious of the two sanctions.
There are still three months left in the year, but The Washington Post has already published a roundup of the 10 ideas in 2012 that led to the most “anger, embarrassment, and humiliation.” Included: Mitt Romney’s 47-percent remark, Apple’s maps fiasco, the NFL’s referee lockout, and the ouster of Teresa A. Sullivan as the University of Virginia’s president, which ranks fifth. The Post writes:
Machiavelli might have taught a few tricks to Helen Dragas, the University of Virginia rector who quietly worked to force out President Teresa Sullivan less than two years into her term. The move prompted protests, resignations and an avalanche of bad publicity for the university, whose trustees unanimously reinstated Sullivan 17 days later. Upon reflection, Dragas said: “I sincerely apologize for the way that this was presented.”
While we agree with the choice to include President Sullivan, we think it’s early days yet. There’s still plenty of time for screwups before the holidays.
A group of University of Virginia alumni said on Thursday that it would push state legislators to reject the reappointment of the rector, Helen E. Dragas, to the university’s Board of Visitors, The Daily Progress reported. Gov. Bob McDonnell reappointed Ms. Dragas to another four-year term on the board in June, after she played a central role in the controversial ouster and reinstatement of Teresa A. Sullivan, the university’s president. But the group, which calls itself UVa Alumni for Responsible Corporate Governance, will try to persuade lawmakers to block her reappointment after the presidential election, in November. Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers attended a town-hall meeting at which the effort was discussed, but those present emphasized that they viewed the matter as nonpartisan, according to the newspaper.
Months after the ouster and reinstatement of Teresa A. Sullivan, details continue to emerge about how and why the University of Virginia’s popular president was briefly pushed aside. Some new tidbits:
UVa Sticks With Self-Analysis — Students, faculty, and alumni will be picking the bones of the scandal for some time, and they’ll have panel discussions, academic courses, and even neckwear to help them do it. Jack Stripling takes the measure. The Chronicle
Helen Dragas Didn’t See the PR Crisis Coming — One day after the ouster, the university’s rector is said to have told donors on a conference call that “she hoped the noise would die down in a day or two.” The Washington Post
Echoes of an Earlier Presidential Dismissal — UVa’s student newspaper draws a connection between the recent tumult and a 1988 incident at Old Dominion University—in which the president was forced to resign by a board that included Ms. Dragas’s father. The Cavalier Daily
A Virginia judge on Thursday sentenced George Huguely V, a former University of Virginia student who in February was convicted of second-degree murder in connection with the 2010 death of his onetime girlfriend and fellow student, to 23 years in prison, The Washington Post reports. The case, which captured national attention, highlighted alcohol abuse on college campuses and sparked debate about how college officials might intervene. Mr. Huguely’s lawyers had urged the judge to lower their client’s sentence to 14 years from the 26 years recommended by the jury.