After a state delegate criticized University President Teresa Sullivan for her handling of sexual assault at the University and called for her resignation, two other state delegates have come to Sullivan’s defense.
State Del. David Toscano, D-Charlottesville and Del. Jimmie Massie, R-Richmond, have expressed their support for Sullivan after Del. David Ramadan, R-Loudon, penned a critical column in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
In the column, Ramadan said the University administration’s response to negative evaluations of its sexual assault policy has been inadequate. A Campus Climate Survey released in September showed nearly one in four University women experience sexual assault or misconduct while enrolled at the University, while the Office of Civil Rights’ Title IX review said the University did not comply with Title IX policies from 2008 to 2012.
“Taken together, [the reports] should have produced a tsunami and immediate calls for change — particularly after the past year’s chronicle of events,” Ramadan said in his column.
After criticizing the University’s response to the reports, the events following last year’s Rolling Stone article and fourth-year College student Martese Johnson’s arrest last spring, Ramadan called for Sullivan to step down.
“It is time for someone to take responsibility for the spirits that have been broken and the lives and futures that forever have been negatively altered,” Ramadan said. “It is time for Dr. Terry Sullivan to go — and sooner rather than later.”
In their own opinion piece, Massie and Toscano cited the Board of Visitors’ successes and proactiveness in changing sexual assault policy, including their involvement with new laws meant to facilitate the reporting process and increase resources available for survivors of sexual assault.
Other delegates in the General Assembly of both parties support the Board of Visitors, Massie said.
“I felt like it was probably an issue where not only [Toscano] and I agreed on, but probably a significant majority of his caucus agreed on as well as a significant majority of my caucus,” Massie said. “It was an opportunity as well to be bipartisan and that’s always a really fun thing to do.”