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:
- 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.
- Mr. Jefferson: We will fight to protect the legacy of Mr. Jefferson as our Founder and as a Founding Father of America.
- The Lawn: We will fight to remove all signage from the Lawn doors and preserve the sanctity of the Academic Village.
- 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.
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
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
Your periodic review of topics deemed worthy of coverage by the administration’s house organ, UVA Today, by Ann Mclean.
Class of 2021: With a Passion for Equity in Education, Graduate Makes Her Mark
African American education school graduate praised for her equity work with the Youth Action Lab and the UVA Equity Center
Casteen Awards Go to Engineering, Nursing, UVA-Wise Community Leaders
Touts award winners for promoting Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives and social change on grounds. Continue reading
Your fortnightly review of topics deemed worthy of coverage by the administration’s house organ, UVA Today, by Ann Mclean.
What Do We Choose to Remember? Q&A With Memory Project Director Jalane Schmidt
This story features a “bird’s-eye view” painting by African-American artist Ross Browne of Richmond’s R.E. Lee Statue surrounded by BLM graffiti. It touted an upcoming April 14th virtual talk led by Jalane Schmidt, with Washington Post columnist Michele Norris, about how the German ban on any Nazi/Third Reich art can apply to the Confederate statue removal/debate.
On Words: ‘Bad’ Words and Why We Should Study Them
An extract from the “Words” article speaks for itself: Continue reading
(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 University of Virginia perpetuated the damaging stereotype of African- American society as an intellectual monoculture today with the release of speakers in its upcoming Racial Equity Speaker series. The three speakers represent a narrow range of black views on the issue of racism in America. Continue reading
by James A. Bacon
I have been critical of Virginia’s colleges and universities, especially the University of Virginia, for the intolerance of conservative political and cultural viewpoints. But there’s another side to the story, and I believe in presenting all the evidence, not just the facts that fit my narrative. By the standards of other elite U.S universities — admittedly an extraordinarily low bar — UVa and Virginia Tech are less intolerant of diverse viewpoints than most.
Indeed in the College Free Speech Rankings based on a survey of 20,000 college students at 55 top universities, the University of Virginia scored 6th and Virginia Tech scored 8th for freedom of speech and expression. Both fell far short of the University of Chicago, which sets the gold standard, but they far exceeded Ivy League institutions like Princeton, Harvard and Dartmouth.
Earlier this week, University of Virginia alumnus Joel Gardner wrote a letter to President Jim Ryan outlining his concerns about the decline of intellectual diversity at the university. Writing in response, Ryan defended the diversity of viewpoints found at UVa. He cites numerous instances which have not gotten play on this blog, and I present them in the interest of… viewpoint diversity. What follows is an excerpt from a longer letter. — JAB
University of Virginia President James E. Ryan
The problem you identify is not unique to UVA, and I also believe there are some very bright spots at UVA. As I mentioned on our Zoom call, UVA is a place that fosters debate and discussion across lines of difference, through our curriculum — including the new College curriculum; student groups that intentionally bring diverse groups together to discuss issues; a wide range of student political groups; faculty who work hard to encourage robust conversations; and faculty who are themselves diverse ideologically. This may be why UVA is ranked in the top ten by national organizations that assess universities based on their protection of free speech and viewpoint diversity.
Photo credit: Washington Post
by James A. Bacon
The University of Virginia’s insurgent alumni have made it very clear what they’re against. They don’t like profane signs on the Lawn that disrespect the University. They oppose contextualizing the Thomas Jefferson statue. They’re unhappy with the endless self-flagellation for the institution’s association with slavery and segregation, as if nothing has changed in the past 55 years. I’m one of them. I share the same concerns.
But what are we for? If we can’t articulate a positive agenda for Mr. Jefferson’s University in the 21st century, people will think us like those cranky old men with pants hiked up to their chests who shake their fists and yell, “Get off my lawn!” or at worst, a bunch of old, white, Southern racists who can’t accommodate themselves to the younger generation’s thirst for social justice.
Those of us who are unhappy with UVa need to start talking about what new direction we’d like to see it take. I have some preliminary thoughts.
First, UVa should strive to be the best public university in the country, not a Southern Ivy. Continue reading