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U.Va. board negotiating extension of president's contract following tumultuous year


RICHMOND, Virginia — The University of Virginia's Board of Visitors is turning its attention to extending President Teresa Sullivan's contract following a tumultuous academic year.

The board had extended Sullivan's current contract by a year in 2012, five months after a failed attempt by some members to oust her. The contract runs through July 31, 2016.

Sullivan's total annual compensation under the current contract is $674,700, which includes a base pay of $494,700 and deferred compensation of $180,000.

Rector George Keith Martin told the Richmond Times-Dispatch ( that he is confident a contract extension will be completed before June 30, when his term as rector expires.

Negotiations were supposed to begin in January. But by agreement of all parties, the talks did not begin until March because of turmoil last semester, Martin said.

The evaluation process has included input from students, alumni, faculty and staff, Martin said.

Larry Sabato, a U.Va. political science professor, said some recent events were out of Sullivan's control.

These events included a discredited Rolling Stone article about sexual violence at U.Va., the slaying of 18-year-old student Hannah Graham, and the high-profile arrest of a student by Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control officers.

"Murders, suicides, outrageously false reporting by Rolling Stone, and over-the-top takedowns of students by ABC personnel are outside of any president's control. It's unreasonable to insist otherwise," Sabato told the newspaper in an email.

But he said, "When so many unfortunate things happen to a university, a president is going to be Velcro rather than Teflon — that is, the blame is going to stick to her even though she had little or nothing to do with the tragic events."

Martin said Sullivan is being evaluated on the "body of her work" and not just the last academic year. He said he is "very, very pleased" with Sullivan's performance.

Sullivan told the newspaper that she plans to focus on implementing the university's strategic plan and recruiting and retaining faculty as U.Va. approaches its bicentennial.

Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch,

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