Category Archives: Administration

The Hidden Costs of DEI

by James A. Bacon

According to a new report by the Virginia Association of Scholars, the University of Virginia in 2021 employed 77 people as part of the a vast and growing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) bureaucracy at a cost of nearly $7 million a year. Many questions arise from this revelation. What do all these people do? What are their goals? Are they improving the university climate? What is the effect of DEI on freedom of speech, inquiry and expression?

We will address these question in future posts. For now, we want to make it clear that the $7 million cost is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

The authors of the VAS study make it clear that they are counting only positions that are explicitly tied to DEI-related programs, and it counts only salaries. Not benefits. Not office overhead. Not outside consultants, speakers, or events. And perhaps most importantly, not the impact on faculty productivity.

The fixation on DEI suffuses every aspect of University life. Not only does the university administration have a DEI staff, not only do each of its 13 schools and colleges have DEI staffs, but the DEI ethic permeates down to the departmental level as reflected in planning sessions, training programs, departmental-level reading groups, the hiring of new employees, and the granting of pay raises, promotions, and tenure decision-making.

An extraordinary amount of activity at UVa is devoted to DEI, and that activity sucks faculty, students, and non-DEI staff into the vortex. Continue reading

If This Doesn’t Get You Admitted to UVa, What Will?

@schooloflimmy

did you get them right? #collegeapps #collegeadmissions

♬ original sound – Limmy 💛

The producer of The School of Limmy, a Korean-American neuroscience major at Duke University, posts short videos about colleges admissions on TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram. One of his schticks is reading the qualifications of student applicants and listing the colleges that accepted and rejected them.

The applicant described in the video above was valedictorian of his class, scored perfectly on the ACT exams and 155o on the SAT, took several AP and Honors courses, had a 4.7755 grade point average, was captain of the lacrosse team, wrestled, ran cross country, was a Boy Scout troop leader, was a youth council leader, served on student council, and belonged to a math club… which he founded.

The applicant was accepted to eight universities, including Princeton and Washington & Lee University (which he ended up attending), but was rejected from several others… including the University of Virginia.

This makes you wonder what UVa is looking for in a student applicant. Obviously, it’s more than SAT scores, the submission of which is now voluntary, and good grades. Continue reading

How UVa Responded to Grief

Pop up memorial. Photo credit: WTOP

by James A. Bacon

The shooting of five University of Virginia students Nov. 13 on a bus back from a field trip in Washington, D.C., was understandably traumatic for the young people who witnessed the horror, as it was for family and close friends of the victims, three of whom died.

Indeed, the event was a trauma for the entire UVa community, and the administration treated it as such. The University responded by launching into full therapeutic mode: canceling events and classes, giving students a pass/fail option in their courses, mobilizing counselors, and creating safe spaces.

“There is still profound sorrow and loss that we’re all feeling,” President Jim Ryan said Friday in briefing the Board of Visitors about the administration’s response to the shooting. The horror impacted far more than the homicide victims and those who witnessed the shootings, he said. The circle of those affected included medical professionals who responded to the shooting, football teammates, friends, roommates and students who sheltered in place during the search for the killer. “This had a large ripple.”

Ryan listed key actions the administration took. Classes were canceled for two days. Events were canceled or rescheduled. Gathering spaces were set up where students could commiserate. Walk-in counseling was made available along with therapy dogs to comfort those in grieving. A basketball game was canceled, as was the remainder of the football season.

Provost Ian Baucom explained that the administration was concerned that the impact might linger and affect students’ ability to function academically. He asked faculty to provide maximum flexibility to allow students to deal with their grief and get them through the exam season, which wound up last week. Continue reading

Miyares Names Iler as UVa’s University Counsel

Cliff Iler

by James A. Bacon

Attorney General Jason Miyares has selected Clifton M. Iler as the University Counsel for the University of Virginia. As the university’s lead attorney, he will supervise a team of nine other attorneys, including three for the health system.

The press releasing announcing the appointment stressed Iler’s experience in higher-education and healthcare law. He comes from the University of Kentucky, where he served as Deputy General Counsel for Faculty, Students, and Research. Like UVa, the University of Kentucky has a medical school and healthcare system.

“Cliff is a brilliant attorney with over a decade of experience in higher education and healthcare law. I am confident he will be an excellent addition to the University of Virginia and serve the students, faculty, staff, and Commonwealth well,” said Attorney General Miyares in the prepared statement.

Miyares caused a media kerfluffle when he sacked the previous university counsel, Timothy Heaphy, for vaguely worded reasons relating to the circumstances of his appointment and his legal reasoning. There followed a wave of speculation that Miyares had fingered Heaphy because he had taken a leave of absence to lead the congressional investigation into the Jan. 6 mob scene at the U.S. Capitol. Continue reading