Happy Birthday, T.J.!

Birthday cake concocted by Young Americans for Freedom to celebrate Thomas Jefferson’s birthday.

Professors as Partisans

Steven Gillion

by Walter Smith

The politically one-sided “news” in UVA Today makes me wonder if any editor knows anyone who voted for Trump last November, and surely makes me believe there is no chance students get anything other than an indoctrination – not an education from a world-class institution of higher learning.

The March 26th email featured a “fan girl” pre-game of what to expect from President Biden’s first press conference, including this quote from Barbara Perry of the Miller Center: “He seems to me more relaxed now than I ever remember him in his career… He’s both genuine and authentic, but he’s taken on the mantle of the presidency and the dignity of the presidency.” Continue reading

When “Words Are Violence,” Only One Side Gets to Speak

If you’re not woke, you’re a fascist.

by James A. Bacon

Victoria Spiotto was brought up in a conservative, religious family of Italian descent in Loudoun County.  It was at the University of Virginia where she found her political identity as a conservative. One day in her third year, she was walking the grounds when she came across a Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) table displaying a 9/11 memorial. She found the club appealing, and started learning about thinkers to whom she’d never been exposed to before — the philosophers and thought leaders of conservatism. By her fourth year, she was leader of the club, determined to grow the organization.

Conservatives are mostly invisible at UVa, and they have few means of connecting. Spiotto wanted to let people know the group was out there, that YAF was a club where students of a conservative/libertarian stripe could find like-minded people and make friends. So, she began organizing a series of initiatives to get noticed. “It wasn’t a call to fight.” The idea, she says, was to “stand your ground. Don’t compromise on the truth you believe in.”

YAF now may be the most vilified student organization at UVa. The hostility is unrelenting. Spiotto and her buddies don’t worry for their physical safety. But left-wing students take down their signs and rain down vitriol on social media. Student Council leaders stifle dissent. Continue reading

The Bureaucratic Banality of Academic Oppression

by James A. Bacon

Two-and-a-half years ago, Kieran Ravi Bhattacharya, a medical school student at the University of Virginia, attended a session on “microaggressions” in which psychology professor Beverly Colwell Adams gave a presentation about her research. In what he considered to be a collegial manner, Bhattacharya challenged her analysis.

The challenge was not well received. Indeed, other participants in the session deemed his questions disrespectful. There followed a sequence of events in which Bhattacharya was investigated by the Academic Standards and Achievement Committee for unprofessional behavior, was told to submit to psychological evaluation, was suspended, was branded as a threat to the university community, was banned from the university grounds, and ultimately was expelled. Continue reading

The Real King Ralph (Sampson, not Northam) Saves the White Spot!

Robert Henry at the counter of The White Spot Photo credit: https://www.wspot.net/wspot/#

By Don Rippert

Double Gus, all the way. Students who attended The University of Virginia going all the way back to 1953 are likely to be familiar with the White Spot “restaurant.” The term “restaurant” is in quotes because The Spot, as it is affectionately known, is a hole in the wall that originally had 11 stools all in a row along a counter directly across from the stovetop. At some point The Spot expanded to include the adjacent space where a few simple tables sit. As for the food… The Spot never served alcohol but still managed to attract lines of UVA students out the door waiting for a stool. Enough said. The hallmark dish was the Gus burger. The Gusburger was a mainstay of The Spot going back at least to 1977 (and probably much further). It was a cheeseburger or double cheeseburger with a fried egg on top. And this was long before the trend of putting eggs on burgers became a common fad.

Everybody wondered what would become of the beloved Spot given the Coronavirus shutdowns. A cramped space like The White Spot was not expected to fare well. But suddenly … Good news! An icon has come to save an icon. UVa and NBA basketball legend Ralph Sampson has teamed with businessman Bert Ellis to buy The White Spot. Best of all, they insist that maintaining the classic look, feel and menu of The Spot is job #1. Continue reading

Cavalier Athletes Excel Academically

2016 championship women’s golf team

University of Virginia student-athletes enrolled between 2010 and 2013 have racked up the highest graduation-rate scores since the National Collegiate Athletic Association began issuing its annual Graduation Success Rate data.

Cavalier student-athletes graduated at a 95% rate, up one percentage point from last year’s report, a previous high for UVA athletics. The NCAA’s national average this year was 88%, reports UVA Today. Twenty of 21 Virginia athletic programs matched or exceeded the national average. A dozen recorded 100% graduation rates, including men’s basketball. See the NCAA report here.

The women’s golf team and women’s lacrosse team both had their 11th straight years of 100% graduation rates.

Kudos to the UVa athletic program. This is a track record of which the entire UVa community can be proud!

Intellectual Diversity Scorecard: Left-of-Center 5, Right-of-Center 0

(Editor’s note: Ann McLean will periodically take the ideological temperature of articles appearing in issues of UVA Today. As a supporter of intellectual diversity, The Jefferson Council takes no issue with left-of-center faculty, students, and issues being profiled in the University’s official house organ. We do have a problem with an administration that presents only left-of-center perspectives.)

Compiled by Ann McLean, April 2, 2012

Article: Global Forest Losses Accelerated Despite the Pandemic, Threatening World’s Climate 
Deborah Lawrence, deforestation and climate change professor, cited in Washington Post article.
Left of center

Faculty Spotlight: Professor Studies Sounds of Justice
Associate professor of music Nomi Dave documenting women speaking out for gender justice.
Left of center Continue reading

The UVa School of Education Provides Exclusive Analysis for State Early Childhood Education Policy

by James C. Sherlock

Sometimes thumbing through the state Budget Bill, HB1800 (Enrolled), one finds something other than what one is looking for.

I was examining the Education budget, and specifically the Department of Education, Central Office Operations, Item 137, Instructional Services (18100).

That is where the massive infusion of federal COVID education dollars are found. The instructional services budget increased from $32 million in FY 2021 (ends Jun 30, 2021) to almost $263 million in FY 2022. The increase is all federal dollars and all for Program Administration and Assistance for Instructional Services (18102).

Readers know I am a graduate of the University of Virginia, but sometimes that causes me some discomfort. This is one of those times. Continue reading

Would Someone Enroll the UVa Board in These Courses, Please?

Laura Goldblatt

by James A. Bacon

Like most higher-ed critics, Bacon’s Rebellion conducts analysis of Virginia’s higher-ed institutions from a politically conservative perspective. Colleges and universities have mostly gotten a pass from commentators on the left wing of the political spectrum because, I would suggest, colleges and universities are almost all leftist-dominated institutions. But there are occasional exceptions.

One of those is a course taught by University of Virginia assistant professor Laura Goldblatt this spring, “The Marketplace of Ideas? Following the Money at the University of Virginia.” Her course description starts with an excellent question: “Why does student tuition for four-year, US colleges keep rising (at rates above inflation)? And where do all those tuition dollars go?” Continue reading

UVa Lifetime Indoctrination

Lifetime education… or indoctrination?

by Walter Smith

On occasion, the University of Virginia’s Lifetime Learning program addresses topics that appeal to a broad cross-section of the alumni population. I have found the courses taught by Michael Ragosta about Patrick Henry to be enjoyable and instructive. Not only did the professor deliver an entertaining lecture about the tumultuous relationship between Henry and Thomas Jefferson, he allowed his students to draw their own conclusions… without the “help” of contexualizers, no less! That’s a crazy idea that UVa just might want to emulate.

Unfortunately, much of the content created to engage alumni, parents and friends of the university reflects a politically progressive mindset that will turn off half its audience.

I focus today upon the Climate Ambition Summit, three events in which each is worse than the other, as seen here, here and here. The sponsors of the Summit include the Environmental Resilience Institute in partnership with UVA’s Office of Engagement, Career Center, the Office of the President, and Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs. Continue reading