Interim U.Va. president steps back from his position

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The interim president of the University of Virginia said Friday he is suspending his position pending the potential reinstatement of President Teresa Sullivan at a meeting of the school’s governing board set for Tuesday.

“There is an enormous groundswell of support for Terry Sullivan’s reinstatement as our president, and I understand that the board will meet next week to consider this possibility,” Carl P. Zeithaml wrote in an e-mail to the campus community. “As a result, I am suspending any further negotiations with the board regarding my status as interim president, as well as any activities associated with this role.”

Mr. Zeithaml said he will return his focus to the McIntire School, the university’s undergraduate business school.

“Trust, one of our institutional core values, has been compromised,” he said, adding that trust can’t be restored until Sullivan’s status is resolved.

The campus of the state’s flagship university has been embroiled in chaos since the abrupt forced resignation of Ms. Sullivan on June 10. The resignation would be effective August 15.

The board appointed Mr. Zethaml as interim president in the wee hours of Tuesday morning after a marathon meeting. Former Vice Rector Mark Kington resigned his position later Tuesday, effective immediately. Mr. Kington, as well as Rector Helen Dragas, are said to be behind the ouster of Ms. Sullivan over differing views of the future of the university.

Ms. Dragas issued a lengthy statement Thursday evening defending the board’s action, saying it “did the right thing the wrong way.”

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