BOV to meet with students
February 19, 2008
p. Rector Michael Powell and members of the Board of Visitors plan to visit campus this week to answer questions and concerns regarding the recent resignation of former College President Gene Nichol.
p. “I think we have talked to a lot of students, faculty and staff,” Powell said in an interview Monday. “I hope that it’s a good dialogue.”
p. Powell went on to say that although there was no defining moment when the BOV members chose not to renew Nichol’s contract, a general consensus had been reached before the end of their meeting Feb. 7, before three BOV members met with members of the House of Delegates to discuss the College’s recent controversies.
p. In a campus-wide e-mail sent out Friday, Powell announced the creation of a website that provides students, faculty and staff the chance to submit questions and comments that BOV members will answer at the meeting. Powell added that he and the other BOV members have an understanding of the most persistent questions, given the e-mails and phone calls received last week.
p. Nichol’s resignation sparked controversy at the College last week, with many students and faculty staging protests. The protestors generated a list of demands, including that Powell and members of the BOV hold a public meeting to explain their reasoning behind their decision.
p. Powell did send out an e-mail soon after Nichol’s resignation became public to redress people’s concerns However, to many, this was not enough.
p. “While we understand Mr. Powell’s rush to get a message out, a single e-mail cannot serve as the sole comment for a decision that has had such a dramatic effect on our College community,” Student Assembly President Zach Pilchen ’09 said in an e-mail last week. He requested Powell and the BOV answer questions in person on campus.
p. According to Powell, no format or formal date for the meeting has been established yet, but that he would like to talk to people in whatever manner is most conducive to a good dialogue, he said. He went on to say that at least he, BOV Secretary Suzann Matthews and five other members of the BOV would be at the meeting.
p. “This is a victory,” Annie Brown ’10, a leader of the demonstrations, said. “If he’s willing to come here and give us a voice and change the process, we’ve won.”
p. Pilchen declined to comment.
p. College spokesman Brian Whitson confirmed that no “specific details” of the BOV’s visits have been established yet.
p. Secretary to the BOV Michael could not be reached for comment.