by James A. Bacon
Michelle Vermillion was raised an old-fashioned liberal. She grew up thinking that people should be treated as individuals, judged, as Martin Luther King once dreamed, by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. She supports civil rights causes and endorses diversity in the workplace. Getting to know people of different backgrounds at work, she believes, is key for America to move beyond its racist past. When you get to know your coworkers as fellow humans, she says, you learn they want basically the same things you do.
But as a library staffer working at the University of Virginia Library, Vermillion felt increasingly increasingly ill at ease in the past few years. Rather than seeing a person’s race as an incidental part of his or her identity, the UVa Library administration began putting racial identity front and center. Town hall meetings and training programs made race a person’s defining characteristic.
“I’m not the one who changed,” Vermillion says. UVa changed. The traumatizing 2017 Unite the Right Rally in which white supremacists (almost all from out of town) clashed with counter-protestors, precipitated a bout of introspection about the role of slavery and segregation in the institution’s past. The Ryan administration doubled down on a commitment to recruit more Black students and faculty with its “Inclusive Excellence” program. The end result: library administrators today are fixated on race, and they are dedicated to imposing their ideological framework derived from Critical Race Theory upon library staff. Continue reading
UVa memorial to enslaved laborers
by Jock Yellott
“This year, members of the Class of 2025 are required to attend a historical tour and debrief discussion centered around the history of enslaved
laborers at the University.”
— Sydney Hertzog, Cavalier Daily, Sept. 22, 2021.
Why does this rankle? The University of Virginia, after all, has many mandates:
• Social Sciences – 6 credits from two different departments
• Humanities – 6 credits from two different categories
• Historical Studies – one 3 or more credit course
• Non-western Perspectives – one 3 or more credit course
• Natural Science and Mathematics – 12 credits from two different
Why shouldn’t 1st years also be forced to “learn about the University’s
history of white supremacy and enslavement that has been suppressed for
If any students objected, they were smart enough not to say so. To the contrary, according to the Cavalier Daily. Students “really enjoyed going on the tour because it has given them context of where they go to school.”
This is not Woke faculty indoctrination, or at least not directly. Says the Cavalier Daily: “This program was built purely by students.”
Why should it bother us? Continue reading
UVA President Jim Ryan (left) poses with members of the Young Americans for Freedom at the 9/11 commemoration ceremony.
by James A. Bacon
I’m beginning to have a smidgeon of sympathy for University of Virginia President Jim Ryan.
On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Ryan attended an event sponsored by the Virginia branch of the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) to commemorate the lives lost in the terrorist attacks. YAF is an avowedly conservative group, and the keynote speaker, retired Col. Dan Moy, is a UVa lecturer but also chairman of the Republican Party of Charlottesville. Nevertheless, the ceremony, which featured 2,977 miniature flags in the grounds, one for each American live lost — was not overtly partisan. Unless you happen to think that remembering lives lost to terrorism is itself partisan.
Ryan tweeted his appreciation to YAF. “Many thanks to YAF @ UVA for organizing this morning’s moving event commemorating the lives lost on September 11th,” he wrote.
The tweet immediately generated blowback. As the Cavalier Daily student newspaper reports, “students and other social media users” critiqued Ryan’s choice to thank YAF. On Instagram, his post generated 52 comments, most condemning the recognition of YAF. On Twitter, Ryan’s post received mostly negative 27 replies. Continue reading
by James C. Sherlock
In case anyone thinks the left ever rests, the University of Virginia ed school has struck another blow to educate children as social warriors through its ”Educating for Democracy” project.
“Democracy is not a spectator sport; it requires our participation, and this participation must be oriented toward justice. To create a more just democracy, citizens must be able to critically assess systems of inequity and work collaboratively to redress inequity and create lasting change. Dialogue is central to the process and can be transformative. Frequent and effective dialogue can engender equity and inclusion for everyone.”
“We believe that K-12 students across the country have the power to embody these principles and shape America into the just democracy we all desire and deserve.”
So, since “we all desire” America to be shaped into a “just democracy” from it’s current, presumptively pitiful status, the Educating for Democracy project offers teachers free online lesson plans designed to create social justice warriors.
by James A. Bacon
Rich Anderson, Virginia GOP chairman, is unhappy with the partisan bias of University of Virginia political-science icon Larry Sabato, whose tweets have turned bitingly anti-Trump. Anderson contends that eight of Sabato’s tweets from the past year appear to violate the university’s mission statement and faculty code of ethics.
“A reasonable taxpaying citizen can readily conclude that Dr. Sabato is demonstrating the rankest form of bitter partisanship,” Anderson wrote in a letter to University of Virginia President Jim Ryan. “In order to have faith in our institutions, it is essential that Virginians hold accountable those public employees and officials who violate institutional values, codes of conduct, and other guidelines of professional behavior.”
Anderson is entitled to his opinions, of course, as is Sabato. The question is whether the answer to Sabato’s bias is suppression of his viewpoint. Continue reading
Note: This column is republished from The Washington Times.
by James A. Bacon
A committee appointed by University of Virginia President Jim Ryan issued a statement this May outlining the university‘s policy on free speech. As befitting the university founded by Thomas Jefferson, a champion of individual liberties, the committee stated its unequivocal “commitment to free expression and free inquiry.”
The statement of abstract ideals was reassuring. The trick, as Mr. Ryan himself acknowledged, will be applying those principles in real-world situations. And that likely will be easier said than done. Mr. Ryan will have to challenge the university‘s culture of left-wing intolerance and expand the range of permissible viewpoints on such ideologically charged issues relating to social justice.
Faculty members addressing the committee recounted undergoing mandatory “training” sessions in which they were pressured to regurgitate officially sanctioned platitudes. Others spoke of reining in words that might be construed as micro-aggressions. Kenneth Elzinga, a popular economics professor who has taught more students than any other in the history of UVa, described students “who tell us they are afraid to express their views in the classroom.” Continue reading
by James A. Bacon
There was an old joke back during the Cold War. An American diplomat was talking to a Russian diplomat. The American diplomat praised the superiority of the American way of life: “In our country, we are free to criticize President Reagan.” To which the Russian diplomat replied, “In our country, we are also free to criticize President Reagan.”
That old saw came to mind when I read The College Fix‘s re-cap of a controversy over a University of Virginia webinar in which the panelists expressed boundless contempt for white evangelical Christians. Here’s what one panelist had to say: “Because they are being selfish and because they don’t care, their racism, their sexism, their homophobia, their lack of belief in science, lack of belief and common sense may end up killing us all.”
Jim Sherlock wrote about the panelists’ hate speech in Bacon’s Rebellion, and then posted UVa President Jim Ryan’s written response, in which he said, ““I assure you we’re taking this matter seriously and looking into it.” Continue reading
Hitler, animal lover, with his dog Blondi.
by James A. Bacon
If you read the recent post, “The Fascists Next Door,” you would see that serious people at the University of Virginia — people who get paid actual salaries, not people who store their worldly belongings in stolen grocery carts — peddle the notion that middle-class Americans are fascists. Not all middle-class Americans, perhaps. Not the ones who think like them. Just those who wave the flag on the 4th of July, believe in the sanctity of the traditional family structure, and/or vote for Republicans. Apparently, such people are rooted in the mythic white-people past that gives rise to racism, sexism, and homophobia — in other words, fascism.
The Brainiacs who espouse such views about fascism, a doctrine that elevates the ideal of the all-powerful state, ignore the part where most middle Americans yearn to curtail the powers of the state. They also overlook the fact the fathers and grandfathers of these middle Americans, in all their toxic masculinity, waded ashore on D-Day into a hail of Nazi bullets on their way to, you know, overthrowing Adolph Hitler. Waving rainbow flags would not have chased the Nazis out of France. Indeed, if America had been counting on the snowflakes who melt from contact with college-campus “microaggressions,” we’d all be speaking German now. Continue reading
Displaying dangerous fascistic tendencies… Photo credit: DailySIgnal
by Ann Mclean
Want more evidence that the University of Virginia has become an impermeable thought bubble where people can say the craziest things without fear of contradiction? Consider this: Two University of Virginia professors —Manuela Achilles and Kyrill Kunakhovich — taught a history course this spring that portrays American conservatives as fascists. They weren’t being hyperbolic. They really meant it.
In their analysis, the wellspring of fascism is not worship of the all-powerful, totalitarian state — which conservatives totally reject — but the traditional American virtues of family and patriotism.
I first learned of this class from a young friend of mine. Here is her description:
Recently, I enrolled in a fascism class thinking it would be a great way to weed through the constant accusations that politicians make about who is fascist and who is not. The class started out great. We studied Hitler and Mussolini and other fascisms in Europe, then moved to Asia to look at Japanism, but the more the course progressed, the more I was confused about what fascism actually is. My professors chose to leave fascism undefined and allow each student to come to their own conclusion. That seems pretty reasonable, right? I thought so, too. Continue reading
Risa Goluboff, dean of the University of Virginia Law School
by Ann McLean
Earlier this week UVA Today touted the addition of 17 high-profile professors — packed with former U.S. Supreme Court clerks, Rhodes Scholars, and even a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship genius grant recipient — to the University of Virginia Law School.
“Our new and incoming faculty are either already academic superstars or superstars in the making,” said Dean Risa Goluboff. They are “highly influential voices in their fields whose scholarship will have an impact at UVA Law, both inside and outside of the classroom, and well beyond it.”
The law school’s run of prestigious hires, who include nine women and seven “people of color,” have sparked envious praise on Twitter, gushes the article, written by Eric Williamson, associate director of communications for the law school. “I feel like they must be amassing this incredibly all star faculty for a reason,” one woman is quoted as tweeting. “A new Marvel series? Avengers: Endgame 2?”
The article omitted one salient fact of interest to the broader UVa community — there is no intellectual diversity in the group. Every new hire tilts to the left ideologically. There’s not a conservative among them. Continue reading