Share Your DEI Data, UVA!

by James A. Bacon

We’re making progress of a sort… The University of Virginia is dribbling out details that clarify the University’s spending on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. Thanks to an article in UVA Today, the University’s house news organ, we have learned a bit more about how UVA classifies its employees as “DEI,” allowing us to move a baby step closer to a solid number.

But the analysis is far from complete, and the debate continues unabated. We urge UVA to make public the data it uses. We extend an offer to collaborate in getting beyond what is at present a debate over semantics — whether a particular employee should be tagged as “DEI” or not.

The size and scope of UVA’s DEI bureaucracy has long been a matter of conjecture. The Heritage Foundation has taken a swipe at divining a number, as has the Virginia Association of Scholars. At one point UVA told The New York Times that it had 40 DEI employees, and not long thereafter the administration told the Board of Visitors that it had 55 — a number it has stuck with. The question became one of national interest when Open The Books, in collaboration with the Jefferson Council, published an estimate of 235 employees including student interns.

“Strictly as a factual matter, if you hear UVA spends $20 million yearly on DEI programs, including 235 employees, that’s simply false,” Kevin McDonald, UVA’s vice president for diversity, equity, inclusion and community partnerships, told UVA Today.

Sure, given whom UVA includes as a DEI employee, that’s likely true. But who counts as a DEI employee? Who is UVA including and excluding? Continue reading

UVA Responds to TJC Questions About Plagiarism Charges

Brian Coy, chief spokesperson for the University of Virginia, responded to TJC’s questions posed in the previous post about plagiarism charges leveled in The Daily Wire against Natalie J. Perry, chief DEI officer at UCLA, in her 2014 PhD dissertation for the University of Virginia. Said he:

“The University takes concerns about research integrity seriously. We are aware of these allegations from 2014 and we are initiating an investigation according to our process. While federal student privacy laws prohibit us from commenting on any specific case, the University does have the ability to revoke degrees in cases where plagiarism or other qualifying forms of misconduct are identified and proven. “

Extensive Plagiarism Alleged for Education School PhD Dissertation

by James A. Bacon

Natalie J. Perry, who now leads the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion program at UCLA, plagiarized long passages in her PhD dissertation at UVA, allege Luke Rosiak and Christopher F. Rufo in The Daily Wire.

In describing the plagiarism in Perry’s dissertation, “Faculty Perceptions of Diversity at a Highly Selective Research-Intensive University,” Rosiak and Rufo write:

An analysis of the paper found it ridden with the worst sort of plagiarism, reproducing large swaths of text directly from several other authors, without citations. The scale of the plagiarism suggests that Perry lacks both ethics and competence and raises questions about academic programs that push DEI.

Perry’s dissertation lifted passages from ten other papers. In key portions of her text, she copied almost every paragraph from other sources without attribution. She fails even to mention at least four of the ten plagiarized papers anywhere in her dissertation.

The article says Perry earned her PhD in 2014. Her official biography states that she holds a degree in “higher education” from UVA. The School of Education and Human Development website indicates that the school offers a PhD in Higher Education.

“A legitimate academic field never would have found this dissertation plausible,” Rosiak and Rufo write. Speaking of UVA, Harvard, and UCLA Medical School, they add, “These institutions have dramatically lowered expectations for favored groups and pushed a cohort of ‘scholars’ through the system without enforcing basic standards of academic integrity.” Continue reading

“Crash the U.S. Settler State”

Dr. Tiffany King, a tenured professor in the University of Virginia’s Department of Women, Sexuality and Gender, spoke last week in a virtual symposium hosted by Hunter College’s Center for Puerto Rican Studies.

The symposium, “At the Edge of Each Other’s Battles: Puerto Rican, Palestinian, Black & Indigenous Futures,” explored the “mutual solidarity” that is believed to exist between these communities. King and a Hunter College professor closed out the symposium with their panel, “Letters for Palestine: Storytelling as Praxis.” We have excerpted clips from that even for this blog post, but we have made the entire discussion available for viewing should anyone wonder if we are taking comments out of context.

King believes that the Palestinian Resistance inspires Black and Indigenous feminists to “crash the U.S. settler state.” Continue reading

Keffiyehs, Yarmulkes and “Belonging” at UVA

by James A. Bacon

It’s “Palestinian Liberation Week” at the University of Virginia this week, and the Students for Justice in Palestine have organized loads of activities for antizionists, culminating with a “Die-In for Gaza” Friday.

“Wear your keffiyeh,” urges UVA’s Students for Justice in Palestine on its Instagram page. Keffiyehs are traditional Arab scarfs, which students wear to signal their solidarity with Palestinians seeking to combat “settler colonialism” in Israel.

Meanwhile, Jewish students have stopped wearing yarmulkes, Stars of David or other ornamentation that would identify them as Jews.

What does that dichotomy say about the sense of “belonging” — the holy grail of the Ryan administration — experienced by Arabs and Jews respectively at UVA? Continue reading


On April 4, the Jefferson Council published a blog post detailing concerns by parents of Jewish students about the hostile environment their children face at the University of Virginia. That article linked to a list of 37 incidents involving faculty and students compiled by the parents and attached to a letter to Rector Robert Hardie. One incident mentioned professor Ian Mullins by name as supporting a terrorist attack on an Israeli town. The lead compiler of the list mis-identified Mullins as the professor in question and has written a letter of apology to him. The Jefferson Council disclaims any responsibility for the error but wanted to alert blog readers who might have viewed the document on our website to know of the correction.

Blockbuster: Ryan Solicited Urgent Meeting with Jones Prosecutor

by James A. Bacon

Three days before withholding a state-ordered report looking into a 2022 mass shooting at the University of Virginia that killed three students and wounded two, UVA officials set up a meeting with the prosecutor of the alleged killer, The Daily Progress reports.

In a statement issued November 17, 2023, President Jim Ryan and Rector Robert Hardie justified keeping the report’s findings secret by quoting the prosecutor, Albemarle County Commonwealth Attorney Jim Hingeley, as thanking the University for not complicating the prosecution of the accused.

“After conferring with counselors and Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Hingeley, we have decided that we need to wait until after the criminal proceedings to release further information,” said Ryan and Hardie.

Left unsaid in the statement is the fact that Ryan initiated the meeting with Hingeley, using University Police Chief Tim Longo as an intermediary. Longo, who worked closely with Charlottesville and Albemarle County law enforcement authorities on safety issues affecting the university, made a logical go-between. Continue reading

A Tale of Two Protests: UVA vs. Berkeley

by James A. Bacon

The Jefferson Council is often critical of the free-speech environment at the University of Virginia, but we’re also cognizant that things could be a lot worse. UVA could be Harvard, which has the worst possible free-speech rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights & Expression… or Berkeley, which is almost as bad.

In his Substack publication Original Jurisdiction, legal analyst David Lat contrasts the behavior of law students at UVA and Berkeley. Describing a speech at UVA by Justice Jay Mitchell of the Alabama Supreme Court, who wrote the controversial opinion in Alabama’s invitro fertilization case, Lat writes:

Some UVA students decided to protest him. As I approached the room where he would be speaking, I saw several protesters standing outside and holding signs. I wondered if they would yell at me or other people going into the talk, à la the Stanford law students who shouted “shame, shame” at attendees of Judge Kyle Duncan’s March 2023 talk—and who screamed at Judge Duncan things like, “We hope your daughters get raped!”

Continue reading

Miyares, Manchin to Speak at UVA

The Jefferson Council is pleased to partner with the Center for Politics to bring these two prominent politicians to the University of Virginia.

Team Ryan Defends Closed Board Session

by James A. Bacon

University of Virginia officials have responded, albeit obliquely, to questions raised by the Jefferson Council about the legality of a closed session called during a Board of Visitors meeting March 1.

In a column posted in the “So Hoos Asking” feature of UVA Today, University spokesman Brian Coy walked readers through the basics of closed sessions under Virginia state law. In that piece, he cited the real-world example of the Board’s vote last month to go into closed session to discuss the safety of Jewish students on Grounds in the wake of allegations of antisemitism.

Coy’s description of the session reveals details not previously available to the public. I’m not entirely satisfied with his explanation, as I shall explain in due course, but even if I were, another issue arises: If the topic of the closed-session discussion was as narrowly focused as Coy says it was, it drives home the fact that Rector Robert Hardie and President Jim Ryan have shut down any discussion in open session of the larger questions of UVA’s hostile climate to Jews.

In the cause of promoting open and reasoned dialogue, we are duty-bound to inform our readers fully and fairly of the views of the Ryan administration. Here follows the full passage from Coy’s column. Continue reading