Friday, August 15, 2008

Trani's decision

Yesterday Dr. Eugene Trani announced he would leave his job as president of VCU on July 1, 2009. Before Trani's heart surgery last month he had been planning to step down in 2010. He said his decision was based on health considerations.

When a 68-year-old man, who is five weeks into his recovery from quintuple coronary artery bypass surgery, says he has decided to cut back on his work load, I don't see any need to look for what else may have weighed on his decision. So, don't count me as one of those who wants to speculate about how much VCU's recent spate of bad publicity may have come to bear on Trani's thinking about when to retire.

Given the way some of his critics have savaged him this summer, it would have been understandable if Trani had announced that he was stepping down immediately. There are some who are complaining that he didn't do just that, as if such a move would immediately fix whatever problems they have with VCU's agenda and way of doing business.

The angry calls for the impeachment and recall of elected officials we hear so much, these days, don't do much to fix problems. California recalled its governor five years ago on a whim. Elections were not meant to be overturned except in extreme circumstances.

No matter how much I don't like President George Bush, at this point in his second term, impeaching him would be silly. We, the people, had our best chance to throw him out of office in 2004.

Closer to home, I doubt the College of William & Mary is all that much better off for having ousted its president, Gene R. Nichol, in February of this year.

VCU will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of it becoming a university this fall. And, I'm happy that Dr. Trani will be the VCU president presiding over the events meant to commemorate the occasion.

That hardly means I have agreed with everything Trani has done or said. What it does mean is that Trani has done so much that has been good for VCU, and will continue to pay dividends for the City of Richmond, too, he surely deserves to finish his stay as the university's president on his own terms.

Therefore, even though it may bother some of his most bitter critics, on the day after his announcement I'd simply like to wish Dr. Trani well with his recovery, and wish the university well with its anniversary festivities.


Updated for clarity on Aug. 16.


Anonymous said...

We had a chance to throw Nixon out in 1972 so I guess Watergate didn't matter. Bush is a criminal who deliberately lied to send us to war. John McCain has just said that "It's the 21st Century. Nations don't invade other nations." So even McCain wants to see Bush impeached. . . .

As for Trani. Yes, yes, of course he's done wonders for VCU. All true. But somehow as the boss of the Massey Cancer Center I have a problem with some of his benefits:

F.T. Rea said...


Of course Watergate mattered. In politics, I was never more delighted than when Nixon fell. He was poison. But the paybacks have been coming ever since. Working across the aisle hasn't been the same since then.

If somebody had really wanted to impeach Bush three or four years ago, I might have said OK. I don't know.

Now it would just be striking a pose. The hearings that will come will uncover some of the worst law-breakers and I hope they will go to jail. That will be enough.

But I don't expect politicians or university presidents to be flawless. At this point, hounding Trani out of his job won't help anybody.

But I suspect some people still want to do it, anyway, because they would get a kick out of it.