Category Archives: Board of Visitors

Asleep at the Wheel

Letter to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors from Walter Smith.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I expect you will ignore me, as usual, but, for purposes of establishing a record when the time for your contextualization comes, I must document your many failures and refusal to do your fiduciary duties, because I believe, if you had any honor, you would resign.

You have the distinct honor of being in charge of one of the world’s premier public universities, with an historic legacy few other schools could match: a UNESCO World Heritage site designed by Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, third President, author of the Religious Freedom statute, and perhaps history’s greatest proponent of free speech. The University of Virginia was Jefferson’s dream, established as a public university to pursue truth wherever it may lead.

Supposedly, you have been trained in your duties as Visitors. I sincerely doubt it. I have reviewed the Board Manual and the Board Basics booklet. The Board Manual’s first two duties list (1) the preservation of the ideals and traditions of the University and particularly encouragement of the maintenance of the Honor System by the student body and (2) the establishment of general education policy. As the recently released Alumni Association survey showed, support for the Honor System has dropped precipitously over the last 20 years, and the “single sanction” was overwhelmingly defeated in a March vote. Continue reading

UVa Board Extends Ryan Contract for Three Years

UVa President James Ryan

by James A. Bacon

The University of Virginia Board of Visitors voted unanimously Friday to extend President Jim Ryan’s employment agreement for three years to 2028. His existing contract doesn’t expire until 2025.

“Jim Ryan has been a strong and focused leader for this community under extraordinary circumstances,” University Rector Whitt Clement said, as quoted by UVa Today. “We are pleased that he has agreed to this extension and look forward to what the institution will accomplish under his leadership in the coming years.”

UVA Today, the house communications organ of the Ryan administration, provided no explanation of why the Board thought it necessary to act now to extend a contract that lasts another three years, or why, if the Board was pleased with Ryan’s performance, it could not just pay him another bonus as stipulated in his contract. Last year, the Board granted Ryan a $200,000 bonus on top of his $695,000 salary. Continue reading