2012-2013: An academic year in review

From Sullivan to Obama, Honor to online hackers, the University's roller coaster ride seems never-ending


The past 365 days have been quite a ride for the University. With a summer that will go down in history as one the University’s defining moments, a few tear-jerking tragedies and some unbelievable and unthinkable occurrences, there was rarely a dull moment in the past year. Although we could undoubtedly publish several books with all the material we have — indeed, we’ve already published more than 100 newspapers — we will try to sum it up in fewer than 1,000 words.

June 10, 2012 Sullivan resigns — University President Teresa Sullivan shocked the University community by announcing her resignation, citing a “philosophical difference of opinion” with the Board of Visitors.

Photo: Will Brumas

June 19, 2012 Kington steps down — In the days after Sullivan’s now-apparent forced resignation, the University community launched into uproar concerning the Board’s lack of transparency. The ouster and subsequent criticism led to several other resignations, most notably that of Vice Rector Mark Kington.

June 21, 2012 Dragas responds to criticism — Rector Helen Dragas attempted to explain the Board’s action by sending a letter highlighting specific “serious strategic challenges” the University faced with Sullivan at the helm. The future of online education turned out to play a central role in this saga.

June 26, 2012 Board reinstates Sullivan — After weeks of outrage, several protests and an ultimatum issued by Gov. Bob McDonnell, the Board unanimously voted to reinstate Sullivan.

August 29, 2012 Obama visits Charlottesville — President Barack Obama scheduled a campaign stop in Charlottesville, but the administration did not allow him to speak on Grounds — saying it would cause an “extraordinary disruption” on the first day of classes. The speech was held instead at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion on the Downtown Mall.

October 8, 2012 Football practice facility roof catches fire — In a magnificent spectacle, the roof of the then-unfinished George Welsh Indoor Practice Facility caught fire while under construction. The damage was minor however, and the facility was completed on schedule.

October 19, 2012 University names new Chief Operating Officer — After Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Strine resigned in August amid the controversy surrounding the Sullivan ouster, the University selected Patrick Hogan, a former Ernst & Young executive, to fill the roll.

October 28, 2012 Hurricane Sandy prompts class cancellation — For just the third time in 30 years, the University canceled classes — this time due to the lingering threat of Hurricane Sandy. Students were thrilled when the cancellation was extended for a second day.

November 9, 2012 University student escapes abduction — A Runk Dining Hall employee attempted to force a female student into his car, but she was able to fight off the attacker. Police later found a leash, duct tape and handcuffs in the suspect’s car.

November 18, 2012 Honor expels two students in open trial — Two third-year students opted for an open honor trial, something that had only been done twice before in the last decade. They were found guilty of cheating and expelled.

December 1, 2012 Casey Schulman dies — The University community rallied together in the wake of the death of fourth-year College student Casey Schulman, who died in a boating accident while studying abroad with the Semester at Sea program.

December 8, 2012 Seven Society makes statement — In a rare action by one of the oldest secret societies on Grounds, the Seven Society urged the University to join together in the wake of hate crimes, sexual assaults and the death of a student. They relayed their message through an open letter and seven large banners placed around Grounds with the words of John Donne’s poem “No Man is an Island.”

December 11, 2012 SACS places U.Va. on warning — The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools issued the University a one-year warning, citing noncompliance with governance principles. SACS is the organization which grants the University its accreditation.

January 29, 2013 State legislature reconfirms Dragas — Despite many calls for the Virginia state legislature to block the reappointment of Dragas, both the House and Senate approved a new four-year term for the Rector.

February 15, 2013 Jake Cusano takes his life — In yet another tragic moment for the University, first-year College student Jake Cusano committed suicide. The University community held a vigil in Cusano’s honor.

March 1, 2013 Cavaliers upset No. 3 Duke — In the team’s most complete game of the season, the Virginia basketball team shocked the country with a 73-68 win against the then-No. 3 Blue Devils. Junior guard Joe Harris led the team with 36 points as the Cavaliers extended a John Paul Jones Arena win streak to 16 games.

March 3, 2013 Students reject Restore the Ideal Act — After months of campaigning, the Honor Committee’s Restore the Ideal Act, which called for jury reform and the implementation of informed retraction, was struck down by the student body. But the students did accept a separate ballot amendment proposed by second-year Law student Frank Bellamy, which exclusively proposed informed retraction.

March 6, 2013 Snowstorm pummels U.Va. — The “snowquester” hit the Charlottesville area hard in early March and canceled classes for the third time in the academic year.

April 4, 2013 Pledging stops early — Amid hazing allegations and investigations, the University announced that all Inter-Fraternity Council fraternities must end pledging activities and conduct initiations by the following Sunday at 6 p.m.

April 9, 2013 Hoax causes panic — One first-year student’s Snapchat sent the entire University into frenzy when she alluded to random dorm searches being conducted by Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control officials. Though the message was a joke, word spread like wildfire and it prompted a massive dumping of alcohol around Grounds.

April 12, 2013 Men’s Tennis wins 100th straight ACC match — The No. 1 Virginia men’s Tennis team reached a milestone 100th straight conference match when it defeated Clemson 7-0. Now the team will look to win its first-ever NCAA Championship.

April 15, 2013 Hack redirects virginia.edu — An anonymous hacking group calling itself “Root the Box” hacked the University’s website, redirecting visitors to the @R00tTh3B0x Twitter page. The hackers threatened to release confidential information obtained from the site, but have been mysteriously quiet since.**

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