Helen E. Dragas, rector of the University of Virginia’s governing board, responded on Tuesday to faculty leaders who had criticized her reported conduct after a newspaper article suggested lingering friction between her and the university’s president, Teresa A. Sullivan. The apparent tension surfaced last week after The Washington Post published the text of an e-mail message in which Ms. Sullivan protested a list of 65 performance goals, 22 of them new, that Ms. Dragas sent the president in February.
Ms. Sullivan has played down news-media reports about her relationship with Ms. Dragas, who sought to oust her last June but weeks later joined in a unanimous vote to reinstate her. In response to the Post’s article, however, the UVa Faculty Senate’s Executive Council on Monday approved a statement saying Ms. Dragas’s “reported conduct does not embody the spirit of reconciliation and cooperation that we expected.”
On Tuesday, Ms. Dragas fired back in a letter to the faculty group, which was also obtained by the Post. “It is unfortunate, and disappointing,” she wrote, “to see the Faculty Senate react to a newspaper article that the Senate admits may not fully convey the substance or context of the situation.”
She declined to go into specifics of how the president’s goals had been set, saying the issue was “a confidential personnel matter.” But she did counter suggestions that a small faction of the board was seeking to micromanage the president, asserting that “at more than one step in this process” she had asked “the entire board to participate.”
She concluded by saying that she shared Ms. Sullivan’s publicly stated “commitment to work together” and invited faculty members “to join with us and to build trust and increase collaboration.”