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Morrissey wants lawmakers to investigate U.Va. resignation

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The University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors rejected calls from the Faculty Senate and ignored massive protests on the lawn outside the Rotunda Monday to reinstate ousted president Sullivan

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Delegate Joe Morrissey announced Tuesday that he wants the Virginia General Assembly to get to the bottom of why the president of the University of Virginia was forced resign.

Morrissey, a University of Virginia graduate, said in a news release that a 1919 statute gives the General Assembly full authority to look into the matter.  

In fact, Morrissey cited the statute as stating that “the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia shall be at all times subject to the control of the General Assembly [emphasis added].”

Morrissey also said he has sent a letter to the head of the House of Delegate’s Education Committee that asks him to call upon UVA’s rector and vice-rector to appear before the committee to explain exactly why president Teresa Sullivan was forced out.

“There are a plethora of rumors circulating from Charlottesville to Capitol Square including that the Rector, Vice-Rector, and a small cadre of collaborators worked secretly since October of last year to force the ouster of President Sullivan,” said Morrissey. “Thus far, the Rector has not addressed the specific inquiries from the Senate Faculty, media, and the student body. Accordingly, rumors, innuendo, misunderstandings, and rampant confusion flourish. This is unacceptable.”

Gov. Bob McDonnell said Tuesday that he has not seen Morrissey’s letter, but that the General Assembly should do what is necessary.

In fact, McDonnell said that since the General Assembly appropriates taxpayer money, they are free to do what is right since the school receives state funds.

“What we cannot do is to politicize a situation that is really up to the management structure of the universities to make those decision,” said McDonnell. 

The University of Virginia's Board of Visitors rejected calls from the Faculty Senate and ignored massive protests on the lawn outside the Rotunda Monday to reinstate ousted president Sullivan.

Instead, McIntire School of Commerce Dean Carl Zeithaml, in a 12-1 vote early Tuesday, was appointed lead the University as its interim president.

That decision came after nearly 11 hours of meeting behind closed doors, one dissenting vote and two abstaining.

Stay with CBS 6 News and for the latest on this developing story.