A Volatile Mix: Sex, Obsession, Microaggressions and Mental Health at UVa

by James A. Bacon

Kieran Bhattcharya, a University of Virginia School of Medicine student who claims he was expelled for challenging left-wing political orthodoxy at the school, has filed new papers expanding upon his allegations. Among the more explosive charges, he asserts that he was twice committed against his will to psychiatric facilities, given antipsychotic medication, and once woke up from his tranquilized state to find himself in a car bound for a private psychiatric hospital in Petersburg.

UVa’s response to Bhattacharya’s “dissident speech” is “reminiscent of the infamous ‘treatment’ of dissidents in psychiatric hospitals in the former Soviet Union,” says the pleading, which was filed yesterday in the U.S. District Court in Charlottesville in support of a request for a jury trial.

Adding another new dimension to the lawsuit, Bhattacharya contended that his ex-girlfriend collaborated with med school officials to drum him out of school after he had broken up with her. He describes her as a controlling, manipulative and vindictive woman who boasted how she had gained revenge against two former boyfriends at Emory University by charging them with rape.

After reading the filing, one is inclined to believe that one of two things must be true. Either the UVa med school is sitting on a biggest scandal in its history or Kieran Bhattacharya is a young man in serious need of help. Continue reading

Can Free Speech Thrive in an Intellectual Monoculture?

Jim Ryan

by James A. Bacon

My fellow members of The Jefferson Council and I are united in our determination to protect the Jeffersonian legacy at the University of Virginia, in particular to champion free speech and expression on the grounds. An internal debate we have is whether we should work with President James Ryan in advancing this goal or rather, seeing him as part of the problem, work to remove him. We have reached no formal conclusion.

Ryan has not been entirely unresponsive to our concerns. Most notably, he appointed a committee to draft a statement on free speech and expression, which it did and which the Board of Visitors formally adopted. But, as Ryan himself conceded, the challenge now is to actually apply those abstract principles to real world circumstances.

I have argued that it is meaningless to champion free speech if all UVa administrators and faculty members hew to the same narrow range of moderate-left-to-far-left worldviews and other voices are systematically weeded out through the hiring and firing process. Creating an institution where a “marketplace of ideas” leads to a vibrant exchange of views presupposes that participants actually have… different ideas. Continue reading

What the Free Speech Committee Should Have Written

by Walter Smith

Last week the University of Virginia Board of Visitors approved a statement produced by the Committee on Free Expression and Free Inquiry (See “UVa Affirms Commitment to Free Speech…. at Least in Theory.) This is what the statement should have said:

Free speech has been the bedrock of the University of Virginia from its founding and shall be as long as it shall exist.

The right to speak freely, without fear of recrimination for stating an unpopular view, is the exception in history. Tyrants in all aspects of life — governmental, civic, economic and academic — seek to suppress speech with which they disagree. Yet the answer to speech that offends is more speech. Our founder, Thomas Jefferson, the “author of liberty,” dreamed of a University  where “…we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” Continue reading

Craven UVa Board Cancels More History

by James A. Bacon

The University of Virginia Board of Visitors took another big step in purging its “white supremacist” past by voting Friday to take down the statue to George Rogers Clark. The Clark statue, critics say, perpetuates “the myth of brave white men conquering a supposedly unknown and unclaimed land.”

The cost of removing, relocating and storing the statue is estimated to cost $400,000. University officials expect the statue to be removed by the end of the summer. Then the university will start talking to students and the Indigenous community about what should replace it, reports The Daily Progress.

The removal, initially recommended by the UVa’s Racial Equity Task Force, advances the systematic extirpation of any names, memorials or statues that can be tangentially connected to “white supremacy.” The dismantling of the Clark statue is part of a larger set of recommendations to “repair relationships with Indigenous communities” by establishing a “tribal liaison position,” found a Center for Native American and Indigenous Studies, recruit Native and Indigenous faculty. And, of course, it is consistent with the denigration of anyone associated with the slave-holding era. Continue reading

UVa Affirms Commitment to Free Speech… at Least in Theory

by James A. Bacon

The University of Virginia Board of Trustees has voted to approve a statement affirming the university’s commitment to free expression and free inquiry.

“All views, beliefs and perspective deserve to be articulated and heard free from interference,” states the Statement of the Committee on Free Expression and Free Inquiry. “Free and open inquiry … is at the heart of the principles of academic freedom. … Likewise, the educational endeavor for students requires the freedom to speak, write, inquire, listen, challenge and learn.”

President James Ryan appointed the committee and asked it to craft a set of principles to guide the university. The committee heard testimony from students and faculty attesting to the widespread sentiment that certain views should not be expressed in or out of the classroom for fear of triggering intense social media backlash or punitive measures by administrators (many incidents of which have been documented in Bacon’s Rebellion and The Jefferson Council website).

It remains to be seen how the Ryan administration will interpret and apply these principles. The committee’s Statement genuflected to the fact that the university has not always fulfilled its aspirations — “exploiting enslaved laborers and excluding Black Americans, women, and groups and viewpoints disfavored by the majority.” It made no explicit mention of the suppression of conservative views antithetical to a core of radical students or the failure of the Ryan administration to stand up for them — things that are happening now, not a hundred years ago. Continue reading

When Did UVa Law School Profs Stop Caring about Civil Liberties?

Robert Mueller

by Walter Smith

For some time I have been beyond disappointed by the deafening silence from the University of Virginia Law School over its apparent lack of concern with basic abuses of civil liberties. Once upon a time, lawyers zealously defended American civil liberties such as free speech and the right to counsel. Once upon a time, they abhorred government abuses in the defense and intelligence arenas. Once upon a time, they defended concepts like equal justice under the law, speedy prosecutions, fair trial forums, and the right to participate in all civic and economic aspects of our country.

Members of my father’s UVa Law School class of 1948 fought real Nazis. They not only understood law, they understood the evil of a society without it. In between his graduation in 1948 and mine in 1984, lawyers still defended these glorious abstractions – free speech, free assembly, fair trial, checking governmental abuse. I never had one professor who advocated stifling speech. I don’t believe any professor would have turned a blind eye to governmental agencies abusing citizens. I was too young for the McCarthy hearings, but I remember the Church Committee, Watergate, Viet Nam hearings, and Iran Contra.

Seeing UVa law professor Danielle Citron advocate the banning President Trump from Twitter bordered on unthinkable. Continue reading

UVa President Ryan on UVa Religious Studies Professors Attacking Evangelicals

UVa President James Ryan

by James C. Sherlock

University of Virginia President Jim Ryan was kind enough to read my column detailing the unacceptable behavior of two Department of Religious Studies professors.

There are two “counts” I charged against them:

  1. First, slander. All speakers trashed all white evangelicals as racists and “confederates” who are sorry the South lost the Civil War. Two of them were UVa professors speaking at a University-sponsored webinar.
  2. Second, systemic slander.  The webinar had a topic, “Informed Perspectives: White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America,, which demanded a speaker for the evangelical community for a balanced discussion. None was invited. It was an academic lynch mob.

President Ryan wrote to me:

“I assure you we’re taking this matter seriously and looking into it.”

He did not have to write that. I take him at his word. Continue reading

We Are Losing the Soul of Our University

TO: All UVA Alumni and Friends Who Care About Our University

FROM: The Jefferson Council

RE: We Are Losing the Soul of Our University

DATE: May 20, 2021

On the eve of Final Exercises at our University, we, the founding members and Board of the Jefferson Council, feel the need to send out this letter regarding very troubling developments at our beloved University. Every aspect of the legacy of UVA is under threat from our President and his hand-picked administration. They have a social justice agenda that is in many cases contrary to the values at UVA that made our institution so unique and so beloved.

We cannot solve everything in one fell swoop. Like the adage about how to eat an elephant, the answer is one bite at a time. Therefore, we have narrowed our focus and set our goals to address four core issues at UVA that we know to have wide-spread alumni support. These four core issues of The Jefferson Council are as follows:

  1. Open Dialogue: We will fight for the University to adopt and enforce a set of principles providing for open dialogue from all parties within the University. No one should be vilified or physically abused or have their grades docked for expressing a contrary opinion on any issue, political or social.
  2. Mr. Jefferson: We will fight to protect the legacy of Mr. Jefferson as our Founder and as a Founding Father of America.
  3. The Lawn: We will fight to remove all signage from the Lawn doors and preserve the sanctity of the Academic Village.
  4. The Honor System: We will fight to resuscitate and preserve the Honor System at UVA. It has been severely weakened and will only survive with a concerted effort by the Board of Visitors, the Administration, the alumni, and the students.

Continue reading

UVa’s Latest Lurch Toward Leftist Uniformity

Malo Andre Hutson

by James A. Bacon

The University of Virginia has bolstered its reputation as a Leftist intellectual  monoculture with the announcement that Malo Andre Hutson, director of Columbia University’s Urban Community and Health Equity Lab, will become the new dean of the School of Architecture.

At Columbia, Hutson belongs to both the Earth Institute and the Columbia Population Research Center. He has written about gentrification, environmental justice, and urban health, a trifecta of trendy Leftist disciplines. His latest book is entitled, “The Urban Struggle for Economic, Environmental and Social Justice.” Continue reading

Religion Faculty Hate Speech against Evangelical Christians

UVa President James Ryan

by James C. Sherlock

Thirty percent of Virginians identify as evangelical Christians. So, one can never say that the University of Virginia, in targeting them with school-sponsored hate speech, doesn’t swing for the fences.

Members of UVa Department of Religious Studies faculty have unloaded on white evangelicals in as wide-ranging and comprehensive an example of collegial vitriol as you will ever watch or read.

The hatred spewed out is visceral and brooks no dissent. Continue reading