Board Member: U.Va. Conflict 'Brought Embarrassment'

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

One of the most senior members of the University of Virginia’s board said today that the forced resignation and subsequent rehiring of the school’s president “brought embarrassment to the university."

“I’m admitting it right here,” said Vincent J. Mastracco Jr., a Norfolk lawyer who has served on the university’s board since 2005. “You guys are my priests. I’m embarrassed to say I was part of that process. It brought embarrassment to the university.”

Mastracco, a partner in the Kaufman & Canoles law firm, spoke at a panel discussion at the Town Center City Club in Virginia Beach sponsored by the Hampton Roads chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. They were his first public comments about the ouster and reinstatement of U.Va. President Teresa Sullivan.

When the board’s rector, Helen Dragas, a Virginia Beach real estate executive, phoned to inform him that she planned to seek Sullivan’s ouster, “I answered, ‘If this is the consensus of the group, I’m not going to stand in the way,’” Mastracco said. “Today if that were presented to us in a board meeting, I would vote to retain the president.”

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