Category Archives: Race, Equity and Diversity

UVa Rules Out a “Pattern” of Hate Crimes

by James A. Bacon

University of Virginia executive leadership has issued a remarkable statement that lends insight into the fraught state of race relations at Virginia’s flagship university. Three recent incidents have taken place on the grounds since the new academic year began that have “caused some to speculate that they are linked or part of a larger pattern of racially motived crimes,” said J.J. Wagner Davis, chief operating officer, and Tim Longo, chief of university police.

One incident involved a White man hanging a noose around the neck of the Greek poet Homer, an act of ambiguous meaning that President Jim Ryan promptly branded as a hate crime. The Davis-Longo statement made it clear, however, that two other matters — a report of someone throwing rocks through the window of the Office of African-American Affairs, and the discovery of a flag bearing a strange symbol lying on the grass near the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers — have been determined not to be hate crimes.

“President Ryan has asked us to provide this community with an update and to make as clear as we can: These incidents are not linked, and two of the three were not racially motivated at all,” the statement read.

The series of incidents has roiled the UVa community. As the statement notes, Ryan and other senior University officials have “spoken with many students, faculty and alumni” about efforts to get to the bottom of the events. Continue reading

A Humble Proposal

by James A. Bacon

Like employers around the country, the University of Virginia is experiencing major staff shortages. The problem is serious enough that it warranted a discussion during last week’s Board of Visitors meeting.

President Jim Ryan attributed the workforce challenges mainly to “the Great Resignation,” or the increasing willingness of employees during the wind-down of the COVID-19 epidemic to quit their jobs in search of better prospects elsewhere.

Looking ahead, UVa will pay greater attention to hiring, recruitment and retention, Ryan told the Board. He also made some useful suggestions. The university will review open positions to see if the listed educational credentials are truly necessary to perform the job. The university will increase its commitment to training so employees can rise within the organization — better to encourage people to move from one part of UVa to another than lose them altogether. An even more promising idea came from a Board member that if a position remains open for months and the place doesn’t fall apart, maybe it’s not really needed.

There’s one more thing, I humbly suggest, that UVa can do to expand the pool of potential applicants — eliminate mandatory diversity statements in job applications and employee reviews. Continue reading

“Our Life Is Always Threatened”

Insult to dead White man inspires outcries against racism by campus radicals. Photo credit: Daily Progress

by James A. Bacon

Last week an unidentified White man draped a noose from the statue of Homer at the University of Virginia. Without any evidence of the perpetrator’s motive, University Police and President Jim Ryan promptly proclaimed the incident a hate crime. Yesterday, a group of 60 or so students gathered near the statue of the ancient Greek poet to protest racism and White supremacy, and The Daily Progress, Charlottesville’s newspaper, was there!

In the resulting 19-paragraph story, the newspaper gave full voice to the protesters’ rhetoric without a single dissenting view.

“For Black men and Black women here on this campus and in this country, our life is always threatened. There’s always a noose around our neck,” said one Black UVa student organizer. “This is nothing new for us. I was hurting, especially when it first happened.”  Continue reading

Presumed Racist Until Proven Innocent

by James A. Bacon

Around 11:15 p.m. last Wednesday, a White male dressed in dark clothing climbed the statue of the blind poet Homer on the grounds of the University of Virginia and hung a noose around its neck.

The next day University President Jim Ryan declared the incident to be a “hate crime” and vowed to track down the perpetrator. Ryan said he wanted to assure every member of the UVa community that he was “working to keep you safe and to make the University of Virginia a place where everyone is welcome” regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or political ideology.

“A noose is a recognizable and well-known symbol of violence, most closely associated with the racially motivated lynchings of African Americans,” Ryan said in a prepared statement. “The combination of those factors led University public safety officials to determine that this incident met the criteria of a hate crime and that a community alert was required.”

Proclaiming the incident to be a hate crime seems premature. Given the facts available, I would not call it unreasonable to suspect that noose might have been meant to intimidate African-Americans — let’s call it a working hypothesis — but one must ask, if someone is trying to send a racist message, why hang the noose around the neck of an ancient Greek poet? Why not hang the noose from a tree branch? Or vandalize the shrine to UVa’s slave laborers? Continue reading

UVa’s Invasive, Ubiquitous DEI Program, Its President and the New Board of Visitors

UVa President James Ryan Courtesy of the University

by James C. Sherlock

As a public service and a primer for new UVa Board of Visitors members, I will offer here a brief summary of the extent and costs in dollars, time, distraction and suppression of debate by the University’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program.

Put briefly, they are everywhere, overseeing everything at the University.

On that subject, Victor David Hanson has written:

“At a time of impending recession, runaway inflation, and climbing interest rates, universities are charging students thousands of dollars in increased tuition and fees to subsidize an unproductive diversity, equity, and inclusion industry. And like all good commissariats, the DEI apparatchiks produce no research, do no teaching, and bully and repress those who do.”

“Their chief legacy is the millions of opportunistic mediocrities emerging from the shadows to mouth wokester shibboleths about climate change, diversity, equity, and inclusion, identity politics, and transgenderism, while damning the customs, traditions, history, and values of a prior society that alone is responsible for their very affluence and leisure.”

A harsh critique, certainly. Perhaps that does not apply to the DEI program at the University of Virginia.

It is up to the Board of Visitors to examine whether Mr. Hanson’s description accurately describes that program and, if so, make changes. Continue reading

What Role Will “Equity” Play in UVa’s Pay Raises This Year?

by James A. Bacon

The College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Virginia will be using “equity” as a criteria in allocating pay raises in the coming year, according to a memo distributed by Interim Dean David L. Hill.

Hill has divided the 5% pool of funds available for pay raises into three portions. One portion, accounting for 20% of the 5%, will go to “standard promotion raises,” in which “equity” is one criteria among several. The second portion, accounting for 40%, makes no reference to equity, but a third portion, also accounting for 40%, allows department chairs and directors to “address additional merit and equity considerations in their departments and programs.”

The memo does not define what Hill means by “equity.” But the pay raises will be handed out in a context in which College employees are required to submit “diversity statements” in their annual reviews describing their commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in teaching, research and service.

When Bacon’s Rebellion asked if pay raises would be tied to race, ethnicity, sex, or sexual orientation, John Carfagno, the College’s director of communications, denied that they would. Responded Carfagno:

The communication you reference outlines efforts by the Dean’s Office to evaluate potential pay inequities between faculty members who have similar roles, academic backgrounds, performance, and scholarly activities. These can arise due to many factors, including the timing and mode of one person’s hiring relative to another. These decisions are made independent of the traits you referenced in your email to Dean Hill.

Continue reading

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

UVa Needs a Follow-Up Campus Climate Survey

by James A. Bacon

In 2018, during the last months of the Teresa Sullivan presidency, the University of Virginia conducted an extensive survey — polling some 6,000 students, faculty and staff — to provide guidance for ongoing “institutional transformation.” In a key question, respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement that they felt “comfortable” with the “climate for diversity and inclusiveness.”

The mean score was a 4.0, which corresponded to an answer of “somewhat agree.” There was significant variation in the responses, however. Respondents identifying as Asian or Asian American felt the most comfortable at UVa. African-Americans felt the least comfortable, giving a mean score of 3.27, meaning that a majority disagreed with the statement with various degrees of intensity.

What do we make of that finding? Does the unhappy response of African-Americans support the view that UVa still suffered from systemic racism in 2018? Alternatively, does it reflect the fact that African-Americans were primed by the academic sub-culture to be acutely sensitive to what they perceived as slights, insults and injustices? Continue reading

Gardner Discusses the DE&I Takeover at UVa

Jefferson Council board member Joel Gardner participated yesterday in a panel discussion about the proliferation and growth of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) offices in universities across the country. The discussion, sponsored by the National Association of Scholars, also features John Sailer, a NAS research associate, and Scott Yenor, a Boise State University faculty member.

For those not familiar with what’s happening at UVa, Gardner provides a succinct overview. Even if you are, his remarks are well worth watching.

— JAB

Year-End UVa Update from Bert Ellis

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of my fellow Wahoos:

I am extremely pleased with the results of the Virginia elections. Governor Youngkin and Lt. Governor Winsome Sears and Attorney Gen Jason Miyares are all very interested in re-focusing UVA and other colleges and K-12 schools in Virginia on educating students and not brainwashing them with the Woke/CRT/DEI mantras that have overtaken UVA and almost all other colleges and K-12 schools in Virginia and across our country.

The most immediate opportunities for the Governor are his selections for the Board of Visitors. Over the next four years, he can totally replace the Board with his nominees. There are 19 total members of the Board of Visitors, 17 of whom serve 2-year terms and one faculty rep and one student rep each serving 1-year terms.

The Board of Visitors hires/fires the President and manages the overall strategy of the University and the University Health System. This current Board are all appointees of either former Governor McAuliffe or outgoing (thank heaven) Governor Northam and are responsible for letting the University make the outrageous changes that have been made over the tenures of Presidents Sullivan and Ryan. Continue reading