“Don’t tread on me.”
These words were carefully chosen by our founders as a declaration of the fundamental dream of the United States: That everyone in a position of power is held accountable for all decisions, both great and small.
It was with great disappointment that I read the e-mails from Rector Michael Powell ’85 regarding the Board of Visitors’ decision to remove Taylor Reveley’s interim status. That Reveley would be declared president of the College of William and Mary seemed a foregone conclusion. That the e-mails gave short notice and used ambiguous language shows that not only does Powell continue to treat this community with condescension; he revels in being accountable to few.
But in this community, there is great power. The students, faculty and staff of this campus have a voice, and it is a powerful one. I urge everyone to let the BOV know how we feel about its decision.
I personally have no great complaint against Reveley. His interim tenure has been notable only in how little his presence was felt. Certainly there is an art in working hard behind the scenes to achieve positive change, but that Reveley is credited with bringing the community back together does a disservice to all the men and women who worked tirelessly in a time of crisis, and then worked hard to reunite the community after the BOV made irreversible decisions.
Reveley is not a president we helped choose. His power comes from the BOV, and if the BOV members could not get the sway they felt they deserved when former College President Gene Nichol was running things, they will certainly have no such complaints about Reveley. It seems that Reveley has found his greatest aspiration in the presidency of the College. But if the prize he covets is so great, let him earn it.
Begin the search for the new president that was promised, and if Reveley wishes to be considered, he should be. But to win the post like this is a hollow victory. Powell has previously told of how Nichol was selected for the job after months of searching, after review from many different groups, including members of the faculty, staff and former President Timothy Sullivan ’66.
If it is unwilling to begin this process again, a process that by all rights would have taken place if Nichol had not resigned before the end of his term, then it is our duty to find a BOV that will — a BOV that truly has the best interests of the community at heart.
The best way to communicate with the BOV is directly, but beyond that, it is our duty as members of a public institution to take this to a higher power. Write your legislators and let them know what is happening here. If we cannot convince the BOV to rethink its methods, then we must turn to someone it will listen to.
I would urge Nichol if he in any way still cares for our cause, to let his own voice be heard free from censorship to weigh-in on these latest happenings on our campus. The many great examples of activism on this campus at the end of last semester were just a preamble.
This is about our fundamental rights as a community. The true fight for the heart of the College begins now.
Pablo Fierro is a junior at the College.