I am writing to express disappointment in the unfair attack piece on Virginia Commonwealth University President Eugene Trani (“A Cloudy Legacy,” Cover Story, Aug. 20). The article contained numerous allegations against President Trani but I was surprised to see that not a single allegation was supported by an example of President Trani actually doing something improper.
Sources in the article said that President Trani “slammed the door shut on dissent” and that he has “no heart or soul.” The article said President Trani did not collaborate with university faculty and quoted another source as wondering whether some elements of the university “are really educating [students].”
Not one of these allegations or insinuations was supported by a single factual example. When did President Trani squash dissent? Which students were failed in their educational aspirations? What did President Trani do that led one anonymous source to claim he had no heart or soul? With regard to which university initiative did President Trani fail to collaborate with VCU faculty?
The article reports these allegations uncritically but does not even attempt to provide factual answers for any of these questions. In short, the article repeats inflammatory and harsh criticisms without any supporting evidence at all.
President Trani's contributions to VCU and the City of Richmond have been extraordinary and by and large enormously positive. While not every article that covers his tenure needs to be laudatory, if he's to be attacked in print for being something he's not, he and Style's readership are entitled to at least some small factual basis for the criticism.