17 Days in June
Media Studies students research Sullivan ouster, present findings to public
A group of students and professors met Thursday to present the community the results of a course which compiled an oral history of the 17 days between University President Teresa Sullivan’s removal and reinstatement last summer.
As part of Education school faculty members John Alexander’s and Walter Heinecke’s Media Studies 3559, “Documenting U.Va.’s Future,” course last fall, students compiled interviews with a variety of people connected to the events, including faculty, students and those in Charlottesville who witnessed the drama firsthand.
“[These accounts are] the flesh and blood of what happened in that event” said fourth-year College student Grace Aherson, a student in the class.
The majority — but not all — of the individuals interviewed criticized the Board of Visitors for its role in Sullivan’s ouster, Alexander said.
Charlottesville businesswoman Joan Fenton, who took the class as it was open to community members, said she felt the ouster was the result of clandestine collaboration between a small band of actors who were largely indifferent to student interests.
“There was definitely a small group of people who wanted [the ouster] to happen,” Fenton said. “I think it includes the Gov. [Bob McDonnell], [President and CEO of Dominion Resources and former Board rector] Tom Farrell, [Board rector Helen] Dragas, [former Vice Rector] Mark Kington …I have heard that there were others.”
All materials collected by the class will be available to the public and housed in Alderman Library.