Category Archives: Leftist orthodoxy

No Woke-ism to See Here, Move Along Now: UVa Update

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

A Disastrous Week for UVa

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

Youngkin Decries Higher-Ed Cancel Culture

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.

Continue reading

Who’s “Marginalized” at UVa? Political Conservatives, That’s Who.

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

Is It Even Possible to Get More Lopsided Than This?

by James A. Bacon

Two years ago, University of Virginia President Jim Ryan issued remarks outlining his vision for making UVa an institution that is both “great” and “good.” In his view, a critical strategy for achieving that goal was recruiting and retaining the “best people,” whether students faculty, or staff.

“To do this we must – absolutely must – be a community that is diverse, inclusive, and equitable,” he said. “Diverse because talent exists all around the globe and within every demographic, and because the very best ideas emerge from the consideration of diverse viewpoints and perspectives.”

UVa had ceased being an institution that valued politically “diverse viewpoints and perspectives” years before Ryan came on board. But while he has made modest progress in boosting the demographic diversity of the institution during his first four years in office, he has done nothing to help expand the range and diversity of thought.

To the contrary, Ryan’s signature initiatives will assuredly squeeze out whatever remnants of viewpoint diversity might remain. On matters of social justice — the most consuming controversies of our day — UVa is fast approaching the intellectual diversity of 15th-century Spain under Grand Inquisitor Tomas de Torquemada. Call it “Inquisition Lite” — heretics aren’t burned at the stake. Continue reading

No CRT to See Here. Move Along Now.

Click to view more legible image.

The University of Virginia paid $32,500 to Critical Race Theory popularizer Ibram Kendi to discuss “racial equity” for an hour. The university contracted with Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau, according to an agreement obtained by The Daily Wire through the Freedom of Information Act.

The virtual event took place April 21 last year, and 876 people attended.

“The University of Virginia welcomes speakers from a broad array of perspectives to our Grounds every academic year and we often do pay speakers fees or other compensation,” UVA spokesperson Brian Coy told The Daily Wire. “Offering our community access to a diverse set of speakers and points of view is an important part of our academic mission.”

Oh, really? Continue reading

UVa at the Intersection

Credit: UVA Today

by James C. Sherlock

UVA has forged yet another academic/political merger and named it, with characteristic modesty, the Karsh (major donors) “Institute of Democracy”.

To those who say the university has more “institutes” and “centers” than bricks, I say give this one a chance until a closer look.

The executive director is Ms. Melody Barnes. Ms. Barnes’ biography and CV reveal her to have an impressive education and to be well left of center politically. Like nearly every member of the UVa faculty.

Not that there is anything wrong with that.

But let’s leave her to it. There is more to assess. Continue reading

The Memory (Hole) Project

by Walter Smith

“And when memory failed and written records were falsified—when that happened, the claim of the Party to have improved the conditions of human life had got to be accepted, because there did not exist, and never again could exist, any standard against which it could be tested.” — George Orwell, “1984”

Charlottesville City Council recently voted to give the city’s Robert E. Lee statue to The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. The “Jefferson Center” (a deceptive name for a school that hates Jefferson) proposes to melt the statue and remold it into a new piece of public art that “expresses the city’s values of inclusivity and racial justice. … Our hope … is to create something that transforms what was once toxic in our public spaces into something beautiful and more reflective of our entire community’s social values.”

According to WINA News Radio, The Memory Project of the Democracy Initiative of the University of Virginia and other persons and entities, including the George Soros Open Society Foundations are listed as the first sponsor of this initiative. Continue reading

UVa to Fund Woke Community Activism

It’s not enough for the University of Virginia to become an incubator of wokeness and let its ideas seep into the broader community. Now it is proactively exporting its leftist ideology. The latest initiative is the Equity Cohort, a shared project of the Virginia Institute of Government (VIG) and the School of Data Science.

“The core of local government is public service, of course, but there’s also the question of service for what?” said Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Siri Russell. “The fact of the matter is, I’ve never lived in an equitable community. I’ve never been able to see it. It’s almost like a thing that you’re aspiring to. This dream where your race, your ethnicity, your age, your gender, your income does not define your outcomes.”

And what does Russell propose? WVIR News says this: “She wants to see more governments creating and staffing equity offices, as well as implementing more equitable policies.” Continue reading

How Not to Create a Diverse, Welcoming Workplace

Michelle Vermillion

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