Nichol delegates authority
September 21, 2007
__Provost Feiss given greater authority on everyday administration__
College President Gene Nichol has delegated certain everyday responsibilities to Provost Geoffrey Feiss in what the administration says is a normal shift of work responsibilities.
p. “This is a simple workload adjustment,” Nichol told The Flat Hat. “I have been looking for over a year for ways to be able to spend more time on the road, fundraising, doing alumni relations and working with the legislature. So the provost and the vice presidents will handle more of the routine operational decision-making. I’ll still make the major policy and operational decisions. … And, of course, it has absolutely nothing to do with the cross.”
p.The statement comes after an article and editorial Wednesday in a conservative campus newspaper, the Virginia Informer, that said Feiss would take over the day-to-day operations of the College.
Feiss told The Flat Hat that the Informer’s coverage was “a gross exaggeration of what’s taking place.”
p. Asked whether he thought there was any connection between Nichol’s recent controversies and the transfer of responsibilities, Feiss said there was none.
p. “It’s almost become a self-fulfilling prophecy,” he said. “Nichol could wear a blue suit one day and [critics] would somehow see it as justifying their claims.”
p. Feiss gave specific examples of the work that had been transferred to him. One responsibility will be filling in for the president at meetings with vice presidents of the College.
p. “[Another] good example is the hiring freeze. There is no need to involve the president in every single exemption request … and we have talked with the president about what the general criteria should be.”
p. Feiss and other administrators are also now in charge of drawing up a six-year academic and financial plan for the Board of Visitors.
p. The timing also makes sense, Feiss said. “It is very common for a new President to come, and after a few years determine what aspects of the college he needs to manage on a daily basis.”
Nichol also wanted to spend more time with students, according to the Feiss.
p. “A lot of this is just about work style,” Feiss added. “At other universities, this is common … Day to day operations are not run by the president at U.Va. or Virginia Tech.”
p. Joe Luppino-Esposito, editor in chief of the Informer and writer of the article, acknowledged this, but said the important issue was that the College was departing from its old policy.
p. “I certainly don’t think they are lying,” Luppino-Esposito said. “We just see it here one way, and they see it another way.”
Provost Feiss said that the Virginia Informer article flattered him by overstressing the powers that he had been given.
p. “But it’s not right,” he added.
__Editor’s note: this story is updated from what was originally published online. The spelling of “Luppino-Esposito” has been corrected from the original online article and the print edition__