From our indefatigable filer of Freedom of Information Act requests, Walter Smith, we get the following description of a course, “Trump, Tea Party Women, and the Rebirth of a White Christian Nation,” offered by the University of Virginia departments of Politics and Religious Studies. The course description and required texts speak for themselves — no commentary needed. On a positive note, Professor Larycia Hawkins does demand adherence to the Honor Code and penalizes students for late papers! — JAB
Depts of Politics and Religious Studies
The idea that women’s main role in the republic is birthing citizens has experienced a renaissance. This course explores the politics of evangelical Tea Party women, including their construction of authentic citizens as white and Christian; explains the cultural logics that secured Trump’s election; and analyzes the effects of this version of reproductive politics for public policies in the Trump era ranging from immigration to welfare. Continue reading
by James A. Bacon
In June 2022 a University of Virginia alumnus took his college-bound daughter to visit Mr. Jefferson’s university. UVa was one of the young woman’s two top choices, and she looked forward to a tour of the Lawn and the Grounds. But disillusion set in quickly. At the orientation, a senior assistant dean welcomed prospective students with a four- to five-minute discourse on how UVa’s land had been stolen from the Monacan Indians and how the University was making amends for this historical wrong. And that was just the warm-up act.
Toward the end of an otherwise engaging tour of the Academical Village, a student guide launched into a “lengthy diatribe” recounting injustices ranging from the building of UVa on the backs of oppressed slaves to the infamous 2017 Unite the Right rally. The young woman was not impressed. If the recitation of left-wing grievances defined the zeitgeist of UVa today, this was not the place for her. She dropped UVa from her list of preferred colleges.
Sadly, the young woman’s experience was not an isolated one. Indeed, denigrating themes are woven through many, if not most, tours. Arguing the need to “tell the whole truth” about Jefferson and UVa, as they put it, student guides frequently cast the University of Virginia in an exceedingly negative light. Continue reading
by James A. Bacon
The University of Virginia Student Council has called for the immediate resignation of alumnus Bert Ellis from the Virginia Board of Visitors, and chastises Governor Glenn Youngkin’s decision to appoint him as “rewarding behavior that endangers students.”
Ellis stands in a long line of violent racist oppressors, says the proclamation. “From the bondage and abuse experienced by enslaved people, to the violent occupation by Nazis and KKK members, to Bert Ellis — the Lawn is no stranger to racist violence under the guise of ‘Jeffersonian ideals’ in order to maintain power for the white elite.”
No, Ellis hasn’t marched in neo-Nazi rallies. He hasn’t burned any crosses. He hasn’t even used the N-word. His primary offense was a professed intention — never acted upon — to use a small razor blade to cut the infamous “Fuck UVA” sign from the door of a Lawn resident. “Whether or not Ellis used his blade, whether or not Ellis threatened the student directly,” the Council statement declared, “his conduct is reprehensible.” Continue reading
The Editorial Board of The Cavalier Daily has taken a dishonorable, unenlightened, and untenable position. The March 17th op-ed stating that students at The University are incapable of listening to a speaker and that speech threatens their very “lives” reveals a childish and churlish attitude that is in opposition to the values of The University, the values of civil society, and the values of America. Jonathon Haidt correctly noted that this generation has minds that have been “coddled” so much that they lack understanding of basic principles and are guided by many “untruths.” This article has the hallmarks of all of those untruths, starting with the headline. Continue reading
Letter to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors from Walter Smith.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I expect you will ignore me, as usual, but, for purposes of establishing a record when the time for your contextualization comes, I must document your many failures and refusal to do your fiduciary duties, because I believe, if you had any honor, you would resign.
You have the distinct honor of being in charge of one of the world’s premier public universities, with an historic legacy few other schools could match: a UNESCO World Heritage site designed by Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, third President, author of the Religious Freedom statute, and perhaps history’s greatest proponent of free speech. The University of Virginia was Jefferson’s dream, established as a public university to pursue truth wherever it may lead.
Supposedly, you have been trained in your duties as Visitors. I sincerely doubt it. I have reviewed the Board Manual and the Board Basics booklet. The Board Manual’s first two duties list (1) the preservation of the ideals and traditions of the University and particularly encouragement of the maintenance of the Honor System by the student body and (2) the establishment of general education policy. As the recently released Alumni Association survey showed, support for the Honor System has dropped precipitously over the last 20 years, and the “single sanction” was overwhelmingly defeated in a March vote. Continue reading
Nancy Miller is a University of Virginia alumna, class of 1975.
I recently became aware of your organization, and I wanted to send a letter of thanks to the Jefferson Council for covering events in the University Library (“How Not to Create a Diverse, Welcoming Workplace”, September 27, 2021; and “No Woke-ism to See Here, Move Along Now”, March 9, 2022). I am a retired professional librarian and archivist (with 16 years of experience as an archivist in Philadelphia, including ten years at the University of Pennsylvania Archives from 2004-2014). I am also an alumna of the University of Virginia (BA 1975), and I have a keen interest in ensuring the future success of the Library. Continue reading
by James A. Bacon
As Woke-ism deniers ramp up their obfuscations of the implementation of Woke social-justice ideology in Virginia’s schools and colleges, the evidence keeps pouring in. Yesterday, a source forwarded to me the following communication by Elyse Girard (She/They) at the University of Virginia regarding the hiring of a new Dean for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility at the University of library.
Let’s set aside the fact that the library has managed up to now to vigorously pursue its vision of diversity and equity without the necessity of adding an associate dean to its payroll. (See “How Not to Create a Diverse, Welcoming Workplace.) This job application openly advertises ideological criteria for the job. Applicants must have “a sophisticated understanding of anti-racism, intersectionality, and social justice.” Continue reading
Open letter from Bert Ellis, president of The Jefferson Council, to members of the University of Virginia community.
Last week will go down as one of the worst weeks in the history of UVA.
The Honor Code is Effectively Dead
By a margin of over 4 to 1, UVA students voted in a referendum to permanently change the Honor System to eliminate expulsion as the sanction for an honor offense in favor of a two-semester leave of absence… the equivalent of a time out.
A 3rd year law student (who’s next stop on his path to save the world is to study global affairs at Beijing’s Tsinghau University) led this effort. In his view, the Honor System is inherently racist because more people of color or more international students are found guilty of honor offenses than their exact percentage of the UVA student population.
He argued, “we can no longer support a sanction that is historically allowed and could prospectively allow the most severe outcome to fall disproportionately on some communities more than others.” Continue reading
Governor Youngkin at a Jan. 27 press conference. Image credit: Associated Press
by James A. Bacon
Glenn Youngkin didn’t have much to say about “cancel culture” in Virginia’s colleges and universities when he was on the campaign trail, aiming his fire instead at radical social-justice policies in K-12 schools. But at a speech delivered at the University of Virginia law school Friday, he criticized intolerance in higher education and made the case for intellectual diversity on college campuses.
Vladimir Putin is a tyrant, Youngkin said in an address to The Federalist Society, but the greatest threat to American democracy does not come from abroad. Said he:
The greatest threat to our democracy comes from a growing tendency to loathe rather than listen. It comes from a desire to bully and not persuade. Such a culture of contempt, this cancel culture, is toxic to our democracy, and unless the schools that exist to teach our young people take responsibility for being a solution, our democracy will indeed be in danger.
Source: “2018 UVA Diversity and Inclusion Climate Survey”
by James A. Bacon
What does it tell you about the freedom of speech and expression at the University of Virginia when in 2018 one-fifth of the university community (students, faculty and staff) described itself as various degrees of conservative and three-fifths identified as various degrees of liberal — a three-to-one ratio — but two years later donations to Democratic PACs and candidates outnumbered those of conservatives by a 27-to-one ratio?
UVa liberals were nine times more likely to donate to Democrats than UVa conservatives were to Republicans. Does that describe the world you know?
What explains the discrepancy? Here’s a working hypothesis: people who described their political beliefs in a university-conducted poll, “The 2018 UVA Diversity and Inclusion Climate Survey,” retained their anonymity. They feared no retaliation. By contrast, anyone contemplating giving money to GOP PACs or political candidates are by law reported to the Federal Election Commission, and their contributions are public record. Such donors would have to weigh the possibility that they would be declared enemies of leftist academic orthodoxy and be set upon by the Twitter Outrage Mob. Continue reading