Serious talk of reinstatement began a week later, when Kington resigned in a gesture of conciliation, exposing internal rifts on the board. His departure left a thin majority who favored Sullivan’s return. By Tuesday, the anti-Sullivan faction agreed to support her return.
Dragas called Sullivan at 2 p.m. and reached the president in her car. She offered to walk Sullivan from the presidential home, Carr’s Hill, across the street to the Rotunda.
Dragas did not tell Sullivan that she would support her reinstatement, according to a person briefed on their talk. Sullivan allies were said to be surprised at the unanimous vote.
In Richmond, where the reinstatement had been the goal of a strenuous lobbying campaign, there was relief at the resolution.
“It’s an amazing end to an amazing two weeks,” said House Minority Leader David J. Toscano (D-Charlottesville).
McDonnell congratulated Sullivan.
“The past few weeks have not been easy for the university, and all those who love it,” the governor said in a statement. “There has been too little transparency; too much vitriol. Too little discussion; too much blame. . . . The statements made today by board members and President Sullivan were poignant and gracious and set the right tone for collaboration ahead.’’