Category Archives: Press releases

Jefferson Council Joins Amicus Brief In Virginia Tech Free Speech Case

Washington, D.C. (September 19, 2023) – The Alumni Free Speech Alliance (AFSA) and alumni groups from nine colleges and universities, including the Jefferson Council, submitted a brief amicus curiae to the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday [ ] urging the court to hear a case brought by Speech First over the issue of bias reporting practices and procedures at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Charles Davis, the President of AFSA explained that “the use of bias reporting systems has become pervasive across American college and university campuses and these systems create a climate of fear and intimidation that causes many students to self-censor and discourages constitutionally protected speech. These bias reporting systems have no place at a university whose defining purpose as a place of learning and human fulfillment can only be achieved through a steadfast commitment to free speech.”

AFSA is an alliance of alumni groups from 22 colleges and universities with more than 50,000 alumni, faculty and student supporters. AFSA and its related groups seek to support free speech, academic freedom and viewpoint diversity at American colleges and universities. Continue reading

Jefferson Council Welcomes Four New UVa Board Members

CHARLOTTESVILLE (June 29, 2023)—The Jefferson Council applauds Governor Glenn Youngkin’s appointment of four fresh faces to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors. With Youngkin appointees now numbering eight on the 17-person board, we look forward to changes at UVa that reflect the Governor’s priorities and address the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on racial preferences in admissions.

The four individuals include:

  • Paul C. Harris of Richmond, Executive Vice President, Chief Sustainability and Compliance Officer, Huntington Ingalls Industries
  • Paul B. Manning of Charlottesville, Chairman and CEO, PBM Capital Group
  • John L. Nau, III of Houston, Texas, Chairman and CEO of Silver Eagle Beverages
  • Rachel Sheridan of McLean, Partner, Kirkland & Ellis

The Governor offered no comment on the logic behind his selections, and we are not privy to his thinking. Manning and Nau are both generous benefactors to UVa as well as major donors to Republican candidates and PACs. Harris and Sheridan bring welcome diversity to the Board.

Presumably, the appointees share the Governor’s philosophy of reframing “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion” as “Diversity, Opportunity & Inclusion” in state government, and are comfortable with the statement by his chief diversity officer Martin D. Brown, who declared DEI to be “dead” at the Virginia Military Institute. In a ruling that appears to be consistent with the Governor’s vision, the U.S. Supreme Court has just declared that higher-ed institutions may not use race as a criterion in admitting students. Continue reading

Bacon Appointed Executive Director of The Jefferson Council

CHARLOTTESVILLE—The Jefferson Council, an alumni association devoted to upholding the Jeffersonian legacy at the University of Virginia, has appointed James A. Bacon Jr. as executive director.

“The hiring of a full-time director manager is a milestone in the evolution of the Jefferson Council from an all-volunteer group to a professionally staffed organization,” said President Bert Ellis. “The appointment will position the Council to ramp up its activities in support of the longstanding Jeffersonian traditions of civility, honor, free speech and the open exchange of ideas.”

Bacon is the perfect individual to manage the day-to-day operations of the Council, Ellis said. “As a university alumnus, a life-long Virginia journalist, including 16 years as editor and publisher of Virginia Business magazine and then founder of the Bacon’s Rebellion public policy blog, Bacon has a depth of knowledge of UVa’s challenges that few can match.”

Founded two years ago, the Jefferson Council is one of the first alumni associations in the United States to organize in response to the rise of ideological intolerance and suppression of free speech on college campuses. It is one of five founding members of the Alumni Free Speech Alliance, and a leader in the alumni rebellion sweeping the United States. Continue reading