Guest Column: A Playpen For Social-Justice Activists

The Jefferson Council champions free speech and intellectual diversity at the University of Virginia. We welcome columns, op-eds, and letters addressing issues affecting the UVA community for publication on our guest forum, like the one submitted by Jim Bacon, founder of Bacon’s Rebellion and contributing editor for The Jefferson Council.

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EXCERPT

Jim Ryan’s vision for the University of Virginia is to build an institution that is both “great and good,” an institution that strives for excellence while also advancing the common welfare. There are many paths to achieving the common good — entrepreneurship, economic development, effective government, strong families, vibrant civic life, for instance — but UVA’s president has settled on something else. He defines a good community as one that strives for social justice.

In 2020 the UVA Board of Visitors adopted most of the recommendations of the Ryan-appointed Racial Equity Task Force, which called for spending $700 million to $950 million to rectify the University’s historical racial injustices. The University has since ramped up its Diversity, Equity & Inclusion bureaucracy and poured millions of dollars into the hiring of far-left faculty who embrace Critical Theory and the intersection-oppression paradigm.

But Ryan has greater aspirations for UVA than merely to be an incubator of social-justice theory. He wants to export that thought into the world at large, starting with UVA’s home communities of Charlottesville and Albemarle County. To advance that aim, he created the Equity Center.

What does the Equity Center do?

Read the full article in Bacon’s Rebellion.

 

The Jefferson Council President: Massive Expense Reductions Must Be Priority For New BOV

Since our inception four years ago, The Jefferson Council has relentlessly fought to implement our four founding pillars:

  1. Promote a culture of civil dialogue, the free exchange of competing ideas and intellectual diversity throughout the University
  2. Preserve the Jefferson Legacy
  3. Preserve the appearance of the Lawn as a UNESCO World Heritage site
  4. Support and reinvigorate the Honor System

Mr. Jefferson’s legacy cannot be preserved unless we ensure that the cost of a University of Virginia (UVA) education remains competitive with our peer universities. One of the many historical competitive advantages of UVA has been its 33% out-of-state undergraduate student body representation. This is a much higher percentage than our public university top-ranked competitors. The UVA undergraduate student body bears a close resemblance to quality private universities whose students come from states across America. As a result, we must be aware we are competing for middle class parents who desire a stellar education for their children but cannot afford comparable private college tuition.

You will see from the chart below that UVA is the most expensive top 50 public university in America. Perhaps more amazingly, a third and fourth year out-of-state undergraduate at UVA is charged more than his or her counterparts at Harvard.

COST OF ATTENDANCE FOR 2024-2025:

UNIVERSITY NAME
IN-STATE COST OF ATTENDANCE
OUT-OF-STATE COST OF ATTENDANCE
US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT RANKING
UNIVERSITY COST LINK

Princeton

N/A

$86,700

#1

Click for Princeton Costs

Harvard

N/A

$82,866

#3

Click for Harvard Costs.

Duke

N/A

$88,938

#7

Click for Duke Costs

Cal-Berkeley

$48,638

$82,838

#15 (tie)

Click for Cal Berkeley Costs

UCLA

$42,127

$76,327

#15 (tie)

Click for UCLA Costs

Vanderbilt

$94,072

$94,072

#18

Click for Vanderbilt Costs

Michigan

1st and 2nd year: $33,214

3rd and 4th year: $35,376

1st and 2nd year: $74,058

3rd and 4th year: $78,128

#21

Click for Michigan Costs1

UNC

$27,036

$60,040

#22

Click for UNC Costs

Florida

$23,530

$45,808

#28

Click for Florida Costs

Wisconsin

$30,008

$61,106

#35

Click for Wisconsin Costs

Georgia

$28,862

$49708

#47

Click for Georgia Costs

Virginia

1st year: $39,494

2nd year:
$40,556

3rd and 4th year: $43,558

McIntire: $52,420

1st year:
$79,574

2nd year:
$80,636

3rd and 4th year: $83,658

McIntire:
$93,022

#24

Click for UVA Costs

1 Michigan’s 2024-2025 costs not yet published; numbers are for 2023-2024

 

Quite simply, UVA is not competitive. I have no doubt we are losing well-qualified out-of-state students whose middle-class parents need to save money and are thus sending their children to less expensive quality state universities versus the private options. Of note is the University of North Carolina (UNC) which has been ranked higher than UVA for the past several years and is over $20,000 less expensive.

As of July 1, Governor Youngkin’s appointees now comprise the voting majority on the Board of Visitors (BOV). They must aggressively address the bloated administrative costs at UVA and slash expenses with a vengeance. The broadly defined middle class is being shut out since Access UVA scholarship aid stops at $125,000 in family income — excluding at least 40% of all families classified as “middle class” according to the Pew Research Center. The financial reality of our high tuition charges is that they prohibit deserving middle-class students from attending. The out-of-state student body is now comprised of the upper 5% family income portion of America or the poor/lower middle class. Where is the economic diversity in our student body?

Given the abysmal publicity the Ivies have received over their post-October 7 campus riots, Forbes and other media outlets are mentioning UVA as a “public Ivy” alternative. If we slash expenses and become truly competitive, we will benefit from this decision. If we don’t, UNC and the other “public Ivies” shown above will get top-drawer students who might otherwise attend UVA given the large cost differential. I spent four decades in corporate finance and would argue that the BOV needs to start forcing pragmatic business modeling philosophies on the very out-of-touch administrators who run UVA. You don’t beat the competition by pricing your product out of the market.

If expenses were slashed and savings applied to tuition reduction, we would see a huge increase in highly qualified out-of-state applicants. That’s just common sense, and frankly, the right thing to do. Massive expense reductions must be a high priority for the new BOV in the September Board meeting.

Rest assured that The Jefferson Council will continue to highlight these expense realities to the Board. We will not relent until hundreds of millions of dollars are slashed from the University’s bloated overhead expenses and applied directly to tuition reductions, making UVA the most competitive elite state university in America.

If you share our values and concerns, please join us in this battle with your financial support — we are stronger together.

INVEST IN TJC

 

Guest Submission: Visions From Monticello

The Jefferson Council champions free speech and intellectual diversity at the University of Virginia. We welcome columns, op-eds, and letters addressing issues affecting the UVA community for publication on our guest forum. We are honored to feature “Visions From Monticello,” a poem written on Independence Day by Colonel John Fenzel, retired senior Army Special Forces officer, acclaimed author, CEO of The World War II Foundation, and friend of The Jefferson Council.

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In the shadow of Monticello, where dreams soar high,
I stand and gaze upon the land once new.
A land of promise, where hopes did amplify
The course of history, where freedom grew.
The Revolution, a struggle so profound,
On Lexington Green, the first shots rang.
Across Concord, the cries of war resound,
And the air with freedom’s fervor sang.
Bunker Hill, where valor met despair,
The crimson fields of Saratoga’s fight.
Valley Forge, where frostbitten hearts laid bare
Their suffering beneath the winter’s blight.
In Philadelphia’s hallowed hall,
A declaration bold and fierce was penned.
The Founders’ dream, to break the tyrant’s thrall,
A vision of a nation to ascend.
Yet, from Monticello’s somber height, I ponder,
Would those great men, with vision clear and bright,
Find solace in this land they dared to sunder,
Or grief in what has come to be our plight?
Do echoes of their hopes still ring aloud,
Or has the clamor of our age subdued
The principles in which they once were proud,
To mere reflections of a time imbued?
Would Washington, with steadfast gaze, behold
A nation fractured, yet striving still?
Would Jefferson, with words of wisdom bold,
Find truth within our modern, grinding mill?
In Monticello’s hills, I trace the paths they tread,
From Yorktown’s siege to treaties signed in peace.
I feel the weight of every word they said,
And wonder if our journey’s course would please.
Here, where liberty once found its birth,
And echoes of the past still haunt our ways,
Do we uphold the sanctity of earth,
Or lose ourselves within the fleeting days?
Would Franklin, with his wit and boundless dreams,
See progress in our endless quest for more?
Would Adams, in his fight for justice, deem
Our actions just, our conscience to the core?
In contemplation, Monticello’s shadows fade,
And I, in quiet reverence, muse on,
The legacy our Founders’ hands have made,
And if their dreams, in us, yet linger on.
For in this land, where freedom’s torch still burns,
The quest for justice ever must remain,
To honor those whose vision now returns
To guide us through our triumphs and our pain.
In Monticello’s realm, where dreams and doubts collide,
I find within the past a guiding light,
And hope that through our journey’s winding tide,
We honor all who dared to stand and fight.

Colonel John Fenzel is a retired Army special forces officer and the CEO of The World War II Foundation.

The Jefferson Council Hails New Board Appointments at the University of Virginia

CHARLOTTESVILLEThe Jefferson Council (TJC), a nonprofit alumni association formed to preserve the legacy of Thomas Jefferson and the free exchange of competing ideas at the University of Virginia, welcomes the five new members appointed by Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors. We look forward to working with them to make UVA the premier public university in the country.

“We share Governor Youngkin’s goals of promoting free speech, intellectual diversity, and affordability at Virginia’s flagship university,” said TJC president Tom Neale. “Now that they occupy thirteen-of-seventeen Board seats, his appointees are finally in a position to advance his agenda.”

The new appointees — Daniel M. Brody, Marvin W. Gilliam Jr., David Okonkwo, David F. Webb, and Porter Wilkinson — bring great strengths to the board.

“These men and women are accomplished individuals in their business and professional fields, and we are confident they will make valuable additions to the UVA Board,” said TJC executive director Sam Richardson.

Notably, Marvin Gilliam has served previously on the Board of Visitors and currently serves on the College Board at UVA Wise. “University governance is very different from that of corporations and government. There is a steep learning curve for new board members,” Richardson said. “Gilliam will be able to contribute immediately.”

As an organization committed to those Jeffersonian principles which formed UVA 205 years ago, The Jefferson Council is prepared to serve as an independent source of information and analysis. We will soon be reaching out to all seventeen Board members with a packet of information on spending, tuition, free speech, and intellectual diversity issues that are important to Governor Youngkin.

The Jefferson Council is a nonprofit organization comprised of alumni and other UVA stakeholders committed to promoting a culture of civil dialogue, the free exchange of competing ideas, and intellectual diversity throughout the University; preserving the Jefferson Legacy; preserving the appearance of the Lawn as a UNESCO World Heritage site; and supporting and reinvigorating the Honor System.

An Open Letter to Governor Youngkin: Pick Fighters for the UVA Board

28 June 2024
Glenn Youngkin
Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia

Dear Governor Youngkin,

You are getting close to the June 30 deadline for announcing five new nominees to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors. As of July 1, your appointees will comprise a Board majority for the first time in your two-and-a-half years in office. To leave a lasting legacy, however, you cannot nominate business-as-usual candidates.

UVA’s rector, Robert Hardie, is a Northam-era holdover, and he works with President Ryan to set the agenda, frame the discussion, and control the flow of information of the Board. Both men support the status quo, and both will have the backing of administrators, faculty, and student leadership who are hostile to your vision for the University.

You need to nominate fighters willing to ask hard questions and shrug when their names are dragged through the mud. Don’t appoint passive candidates to avoid stirring up controversy. They will accomplish nothing.

You also need to set clear priorities. 

The Jefferson Council offers the following:

Address astronomical tuition cost and administrative bloat. The cost of attending UVA is pricing out the middle class, especially for out-of-state students. You have called upon all Virginia universities to cut costs and tame tuition. Cosmetic, one-time cuts won’t accomplish your goal. The Board members you appoint must do the hard work of digging deep into UVA’s cost structure. Step one: dismantle the vast administrative apparatus erected to pursue “social justice” and “racial equity,” loosely referred to as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). The Board of Visitors committed in 2020 to carrying out the recommendations of the Racial Equity Task Force, which called for spending between $700 million and $950 million to rectify historical wrongs. The Board must scrutinize that spending. 

But that’s just a start.

Reduce spending on feel-good initiatives. Does UVA really need more guidance and emotional-wellness counselors? Does being “Great and Good” necessitate building social-justice partnerships with the community? Why do the highest-paid professors teach the fewest courses? How aggressively does UVA reallocate resources from low-enrollment departments to high-enrollment departments? There are many areas to consider cutting costs, and The Jefferson Council is prepared to sit down with you and the Board of Visitors to identify the low-hanging fruit as well as long-term solutions.

Advance free speech and intellectual diversity. You have asked every Virginia university to devise a plan for advancing free speech and intellectual diversity. UVA’s website may boast a high free speech rating, but actions from administrators and faculty alike increasingly contradict that label and demand your attention. Faculty and staff are marching relentlessly to an ideological extreme, utilizing “DEI statements” to filter out candidates with different views. Departments have become self-perpetuating cliques of the like-minded. The Board needs to lay bare the intellectual monoculture that prevails at UVA and devise strategies to change it. The Jefferson Council would like to partner with you in this effort in various ways, including by providing diverse perspectives from among our membership and network of UVA alumni and donors.

Preserve Jefferson’s legacy. Thomas Jefferson was a man like few others produced by history. He was not a saint, but today at UVA, he is often portrayed as a slave-holding rapist. A Youngkin-appointed Board needs to preserve his legacy. There are many ways we are ready to work with you on this, but here are two quick and easy wins that can signal the new priorities: 

First, protect the dignity of the Lawn, part of a UNESCO world heritage site visited by tourists around the world, by forbidding student residents, in their terms of lease, from placing posters and flyers on their doors. No one’s free speech rights will be violated. Lawn residents have numerous other options to express their views.

Second, sever relations with the Student Guides club that provides student and historical tours. Student administrative-sanctioned events must have a welcoming script and guides willing to deliver it. However, these tours have degenerated into discourses on slavery, segregation, racism, and the persecution of indigenous peoples. Many students and parents have been turned off and never return. 

Your next Board of Visitors appointments assume their seats at a critical time for Mr. Jefferson’s university, and for your legacy. Nominate individuals who will have the grit to fight for the university, its history, its legacy, and its students. Nominate men and women who are capable of making the hard decisions to lead UVA back to a position of great character and excellence.

Respectfully,

The Jefferson Council
Executive Committee

Thomas Neale, President
Sam Richardson, Executive Director
Peter Bryan, Treasurer
Chip Vaughan, Secretary

TJC Mention: Welcome To The Silencing Of Dissenters

The Jefferson Council champions free speech and intellectual diversity at the University of Virginia. Below, find an excerpt of a timely piece by Brooklyn College’s Mitchell Langbert, originally published in Front Page Magazine. Langbert shares his findings on intellectual diversity (or the lack thereof) at universities across the US. At the request of TJC and our partners, he zoomed in on UVA.

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EXCERPT

I have done a series of research studies on the political imbalance in America’s universities. The higher-education institutions that most Americans believe have been established to encourage learning, curiosity, and thought now encourage the reverse. Ideological litmus tests via formalized DEI statements are the rule. Conservatives, libertarians, Christians, Republicans, and retired military personnel are not tolerated in many academic departments. If sunlight is the best disinfectant, the shade in the groves of academe is dense.

A few months ago, the National Association of Scholars on behalf of the Jefferson Council asked me to review the political affiliations of the faculty and staff at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. Research assistants at the NAS identified 2,384 usable federal-candidate-donation records from faculty and staff. The records covered six years or three Federal Elections Commission cycles, from 2017 to 2022.

We found that federal political donations from the faculty and staff at UVA go almost exclusively to one political party.

[. . .]

Grotesque imbalances have resulted not only in intolerance but also in complacency about the intolerance. University presidents congratulate themselves about the academic freedom they encourage while dissident professors and students are afraid to speak. The silencing of dissenters through ad hominem attacks has become normalized. Virtually every conservative and libertarian professor has by now either hidden their views, suffered an attack on his career, or been fired for ideological reasons.

To change an organizational culture is difficult if not impossible. Americans need to begin to consider whether reorganization and reform of established academic institutions, including one founded by Thomas Jefferson, may be necessary. As Jefferson wrote to William Stephens Smith, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.”

Mitchell Langbert is associate professor of business at Brooklyn College.

Read the full article in Front Page Magazine.

Taking A Bold Stand For Intellectual Diversity And Civil Dialogue At UVA

The primary mission of the Jefferson Council for the University of Virginia is to “Promote a culture of civil dialogue, the free exchange of competing ideas, and intellectual diversity throughout the University.” Since the advent of anti-Israel / anti-Jewish rhetoric and behaviors of questionable legality on Grounds, this goal has been brought into clear focus.

TJC first highlighted the experience of Jewish undergraduates at UVA in this space back in January. At that time, many students openly identifying as Jewish and in support of Israel against Hamas terrorists were publicly ostracized and threatened by pro-Hamas groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). While most Jewish UVA students took a quiet, “don’t make things worse” approach to the anti-Jewish rhetoric and refuse to speak publicly or provide their names when documenting abuses, one of those students, Matan Goldstein, a first year who is also an Israeli, decided to take a visible stand. Matan called-out the anti-Jewish sentiment fueled by false history and inaccurate (at best) portrayal of the facts surrounding the events on October 7 and the subsequent war in Gaza. In addition to waving an Israeli flag during an SJP rally, Matan has appeared on local radio and spoken with passion to local groups regarding his experiences on Grounds since October 7. As expected, in response to his stand for Israel and truth, Matan has endured obvious anti-Jewish discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.

On May 17, attorneys for Matan Goldstein, Brown and Gavalier, filed suit under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against the in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia. The defendants named include The Rector and Visitors of The University of Virginia, Rector Robert D. Hardie, President James E. Ryan, Faculty For Justice In Palestine UVA Chapter, and Students For Justice In Palestine at UVA. According to the filing, the suit is based on the defendant’s “individual and collective liability for gross misconduct and the impairment and deprivation of the Plaintiff’s right to live, study, learn, and thrive at a public university free of hate-based discrimination, abuse, harassment, and retaliation.” The complaint as filed can be accessed here.

It should be noted that UVA leadership has been given ample opportunity by the Jewish community and others to avoid this lawsuit, but no one in authority was interested in having the conversation.

Perhaps the most prescient note on how to realistically view our world in the complaint appears in the preface:

“We have come to know Man as he really is. After all, man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord’s Prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips.” — Rabbi Harold S. Kushner, as quoted in the preface to Viktor Frankl’s transcendent work, Man’s Search for Meaning.

Guest Column: Why Are You So Mad?

The Jefferson Council champions free speech and intellectual diversity at the University of Virginia. We welcome columns, op-eds, and letters addressing issues affecting the UVA community for publication on our guest forum, like the one submitted by Allan C. Stam, University Professor of Public Policy and Politics.

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University presidents across the country face intense criticism from both the left and the right, caught in a vortex of political and ideological discontent. The right’s most recent grievances flow from blatant presidential hypocrisy. The roots of this can be traced to the proliferation of trigger warnings, safe spaces, bias response teams, admonitions against micro-aggressions, and the peculiar notion that words, along with silence, are violence. These illiberal restraints on speech exist ostensibly to protect students from harm.

Presidential concern for student emotional safety did not extend to Jews, however. Following the Hamas attacks of October 7, 2023, illiberal restrictions on speech were hypocritically abandoned when anti-Semitic speech spread across universities. Today, at the University of Virginia, the same left-leaning administrators who announced a $10,000 reward and an FBI investigation to find the perpetrator who hung a noose on Homer’s bronze likeness now excuse antisemitic speech and calls for the elimination of Israel as free expression. One effect of this blatant and widespread hypocrisy is that half of the Ivy League Universities are now looking for new presidents.

University leaders face a different but equally intense kind of ire from the left. Over the past decade, and particularly since the summer of 2020 following George Floyd’s death, many universities transformed themselves into bastions of social justice engagement. Institutions like Columbia University, the University of Michigan, UC Berkeley, and the University of Virginia now market themselves as training grounds for progressive activists.

The opportunity and desirability of “bending the arc of history” and being both “Great and Good” are spotlighted in admissions advertising, signaling the universities’ alignment with progressive causes. University presidents now routinely assert that the mission of their institutions extends beyond research and teaching to encompass a central focus on social justice. This has led universities to assume roles traditionally filled by local government, such as subsidizing public housing, transportation, and food for the indigent within their communities.

These days, humanities and social science professors routinely indoctrinate students with increasingly progressive values. Many of these faculty view their role more as activism trainers rather than teacher-scholars. Progressive community engagement is praised by university leaders. University glossy publications valorize activism over bias-free teaching and research. But why is the illiberal left now turning against university presidents?

In the spring of 2024, these same presidents who have been advocates and salesmen for social justice called on the police to break up campus protests. Ironically, in some cases, the demonstrations took place within a stone’s throw of monuments highlighting previous students’ protests and successful activism. The blatant hypocrisy of a university president in one breath praising the student activists of 1968 and in the next breath calling on city and state police to crack down on the current generation of students has proven too much for the leftist faculty. The same university presidents who championed progressive causes are now cracking down on the very activists they previously recruited and praised. The widespread arrests and disciplinary actions, an apparent betrayal of the progressive cause, have ignited fury among universities’ liberal base.

University leaders have historically tried to appease the liberal left, first with affirmative action in the late 1970s, which courts and state referenda eventually curtailed, and later with speech codes in the 1980s and 1990s, which were similarly struck down. Today, the tools of choice for the left are ubiquitous and costly Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives. These programs encompass, among other things, identity-based discrimination, workshops on acceptable behavior, and compulsory training for students, administrators, and faculty.

Just as previous attempts at regulating speech and behavior have been legally challenged and often overturned, DEI policies are beginning to face significant judicial scrutiny. Diversity statements, commonly required in academic hiring and promotion processes, are a prime example of compelled speech, forcing individuals to adhere to a particular ideological stance. This form of ideological coercion is antithetical to academic freedom and free expression principles. As currently practiced, inclusion often equates to a new form of discrimination, excluding those who do not conform to the prevailing ideological orthodoxy. It is only a matter of time before these practices are legally challenged and dismantled.

The backlash against university presidents from both ends of the political spectrum underscores a fundamental crisis in higher education leadership. These leaders are struggling to balance competing demands: from the right, a call for the restoration of free speech and academic rigor, and from the left, an insistence on comprehensive local and national progressive social justice reform. The solution to this impasse is not to capitulate to either extreme but to restore a sense of balance and reason to university governance.

University presidents must reclaim their roles as impartial administrators rather than advocates of progressive causes, ensuring that institutions of higher learning return to their core teaching and research missions. This requires a commitment to upholding academic freedom, fostering diverse viewpoints, and resisting the imposition of ideological conformity. It is time to return the adults to the room and retake the center, steering universities back to a path that respects free expression and the pursuit of knowledge without succumbing to the pressures of ideological extremism.

Allan C. Stam is University Professor of Public Policy and Politics at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia.

The Jefferson Council Announces New Executive Director, Contributing Editor

CHARLOTTESVILLEThe Jefferson Council (TJC), a nonprofit alumni association formed to preserve the legacy of Thomas Jefferson and the free exchange of competing ideas at the University of Virginia, is pleased to announce exciting changes in executive leadership.

Sam Richardson joins TJC as executive director with over three decades of experience in nonprofit leadership and IT messaging development for Fortune 500 companies. He received his doctorate from UVA and remains in the Charlottesville community where he will partner with TJC’s local members to engage with the broader University community. 

Jim Bacon continues in a strong commitment to TJC’s mission, assuming a new role of contributing editor. Leaning into his experience as a top-drawer journalist, Jim will document and expose current events on Grounds so that UVA alumni, donors, students, and faculty are informed and equipped to take action.

“The Jefferson Council is so fortunate to build off the incredible momentum we’ve experienced under Jim Bacon’s leadership and expand our team to include Sam Richardson,” said TJC president Tom Neale. “Sam’s career is defined by a dedication to advancing civil dialogue and competing ideas while confirming long standing American values and cultural traditions. I look forward to partnering with him as we lead Mr. Jefferson’s University into a future of excellence and true intellectual diversity.”

“UVA is at a cultural crossroads,” said Sam Richardson, “and I am honored to be at the helm of an organization that is motivated to guide our beloved university through this moment with excellence and civility. Our members and partners are eager to lead, and I look forward to working alongside them to hold UVA administrators accountable and to champion the best ideas and traditions that make UVA exceptional.”

To learn more about The Jefferson Council, please visit https://thejeffersoncouncil.com/

UVA Grad Students Urge Withholding of Year-End Grades

From UCWVA Instagram post

From UCWVA Instagram post

by James A. Bacon

The United Campus Workers of Virginia (UCWVA) at the University of Virginia has launched a campaign urging faculty and graduate students to withhold grades until the Ryan administration capitulates to its demands of amnesty for people arrested during the May 4 crackdown on the pro-Palestinian “liberation zone.”

“UVA exec admin stood by while state police cracked down on a peaceful gathering,” says the UVA chapter. “If you disagree with the repression of campus protest, join your colleagues in this immediate action to demand amnesty!”

The Jefferson Council has not yet been able to determine to degree to which the grade-repression movement has gained traction. However, UCWVA claims on Instagram that Provost Ian Baucom “is sending scared emails.”

“Punishing students by withholding their grades to pressure the Ryan administration is reckless, irresponsible, and grounds for immediate dismissal,” said Tom Neale, president of the Jefferson Council.

Neale urged students, faculty, and parents to notify him at [email protected] if they know of any classes where semester grades are being withheld. Send him the names of professors and graduate students and the classes they teach. He will make sure the Administration and the Board of Visitors are made aware. Continue reading