This morning, President Gene Nichol sent an e-mail to students, informing them of the most recent goings-on regarding his renewal. Despite a massive student demonstration in support of Nichol at a Board meeting last week, the Board of Visitors has made the decision not to renew his contract.
Nichol informed students that the BOV offered him and his wife extra money if they were "'not to characterize [the non-renewal decision] as based on ideological grounds' or make any other statement about my departure without their approval."
Nichol rejected the offer, standing strong on his views of the First Amendment.
In the e-mail, President Nichol set out four decisions he had made that have "stirred ample controversy" - the Wren Cross issue, the Sex Workers' Art Show, the Gateway program and an increase in diversity.
About the removal of the cross from its original place in the Wren Chapel, Nichol said, "We are charged, as state actors, to respect and accommodate all religions, and to endorse none. The decision did no more."
About the Sex Workers' Art Show, which steeped campus in national-news-worthy scandal, he said, "To stop the production because I found it offensive, or unappealing, would have violated both the First Amendment and the traditions of openness and inquiry that sustain great universities. It would have been a knowing, intentional denial of the constitutional rights of our students."
He mentioned the Gateway program, which provides significantly more financial aid to those families making under $40,000 a year, and his struggle to make the College a more diverse institution.
Nichol addressed his critics, including state delegates who went so far as to threaten the appointments of members of the Board of Visitors.
"That campaign has now been rendered successful. And those same voices will no doubt claim victory today," Nichol said.
He made a list of positive changes at the College since his arrival - the acquisition of former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor as chancellor, a visit from the Queen of England and great strides in undergraduate research. But Nichol said he realized that all of those paled in comparison to something else he has noticed during his time at the College.
"The magic and the inspiration of the people - young and older - who Glenn and I have come to know here," Nichol said. "You will remain always and forever at the center of our hearts."
The BOV released a statement that admitted Nichol's "energy and passion is legendary."
Nevertheless, they said they believed there were "a number of problems that were keeping the College from reaching its full potential" and the College needed a "change of leadership."
BOV Rector Michael K. Powell said, "The uncharitable personal assaults are unworthy of anyone who professes to care about the College and there should be no joy when things do not work out between good people."
This resignation comes shortly after Vice President for Student Affairs Sam Sadler announced his retirement earlier this semester.
The BOV will begin looking for a new president immediately. They have appointed Dean W. Taylor Reveley as president in the interim.
Nichol will return to work as a professor at the College's Marshall-Wythe School of Law.