Virginia Senate Majority Leader Thomas Norment, Jr. said Monday that he plans to back the reappointment of University of Virginia Rector Helen Dragas to the university's Board of Visitors for a second four-year term.

Dragas came under fire last spring for her role in seeking the resignation of university President Teresa Sullivan. The move created an uproar among students and alumni who opposed Sullivan leaving and the closed-door process under which the decision was made.

Gov. Bob McDonnell reappointed Dragas in June, advocating "reconciliation" among the Board of Visitors and the university community. At an event last month, Sullivan also asked local legislators to help the university move past last spring's controversy.

"For our state-supported colleges and universities to continue to be world-renowned, it is essential that the leadership dynamic be one of cooperation between Boards of Visitors in a supervisory role and the schools' administrations in an executive role," Norment, R-James City, said in a statement Monday. "A rejection of Governor McDonnell's decision would effectively weaken the Boards in their necessary mission of providing guidance, direction, and oversight of our colleges and universities."