Category Archives: Race, Equity and Diversity

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

Diversity Statements Snuff Out Academic Freedom

by Allan Stam

Why should you care about faculty review policies at the University of Virginia and other public Virginia universities? You should care because they affect which faculty are likely to stay at a university and which faculty are likely to move on. In other words, they affect who will teach your children and grandchildren. 

You should want universities to keep professors who conduct state-of-the-art research and excel at teaching their scholarly discipline. But that’s not what you’re going to get with the new guidelines issued by the UVa College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. (See the previous post.)

Pay raises and the annual reviews that affect them are powerful administrative tools that universities use to incentivize faculty efforts. Given that there are only so many hours in a day, faculty allocate their time towards areas that their employers reward and away from those that they do not. Continue reading

Enforcing the New Diversity Dogma

by James A. Bacon

This month University of Virginia departments embark upon a four- to five-month “peer review” of faculty members. The stakes are high. Scores from the review will affect merit raises and prospects for promotion.

New this year: Twenty percent of the scores will be awarded on the basis of the faculty member’s contributions to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI).

In theory, the “guidance” issued by the dean’s office of the College of Arts & Sciences allow individual departments some latitude in how they conduct their peer reviews. But the language, though bland and formulaic, is clear: professors who fail to enlist in social-justice activism will have a less-than-promising future at UVa.

Evaluations of each faculty member’s “performance” will be shared with other faculty members. There is no uniform standard for weighting the scores, but if departmental reports don’t specify otherwise, the “default” mode is 40% teaching, 40% research, and 20% DEI. 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

This Is It! Act Now to Save the Honor Code, or It Dies

Letter from Bert Ellis, president of The Jefferson Council to All Friends of the University of Virginia.

I am writing this letter as Bert Ellis, a passionate Double Hoo (College ‘75, Darden ‘79) and as a Founder and President of The Jefferson Council. Our University is under attack from multiple sources and at multiple levels. The entire academic and community experience that so many of us shared at UVA is
totally at risk. Our Administration has totally politicized the entire university to the detriment of all that we hold dear.

We at the Jefferson Council have been fighting on behalf of all of us to preserve/promote four major tenets:

1) Open Dialogue throughout the University.

2) Preservation of the Jefferson legacy.

3) Preservation of the architectural sanctity of the Lawn.

4) Preservation and rejuvenation of the Honor System.

We have indeed made some progress on points 1 and 3: The University adopted a set of principles of open dialogue which we think are quite reasonable and the Ryan administration adopted a set of rules limiting signage on the Lawn doors. Mr. Jefferson’s statue – which was in jeopardy — remains in front of the Rotunda, yet to be contextualized. The Honor System still exists but is now under very serious attack such that this could be its very final year at UVA. Continue reading

UVa’s Ideological Litmus Test — “Diversity Statements”

by James A. Bacon

In the fall convocation ceremonies at the University of Virginia this week, President Jim Ryan said many things that once upon a time would have been considered unremarkable. The purpose of a UVa education, he said, is to pursue the truth. The search for truth is unending, and progress toward the truth is predicated upon free speech and open inquiry. UVa is a place for honest and respectful conversations between those who disagree, Ryan said. UVa is a place where civil dialogues can take place.

An alumnus in the audience, Bert Ellis, was reassured by Ryan’s words. Ellis is president of The Jefferson Council, a group dedicated to upholding the Jeffersonian legacy at UVa that has catalogued the suppression of free speech and expression and the drift toward intellectual conformity, and he was primed to be skeptical.

“All in all, I liked his remarks,” says Ellis. “I was pleasantly surprised by his references to and respect for Mr. Jefferson and his legacy and with his very strong support for open dialogue and for the Honor System. I hope his actions over the upcoming school year will be as strong as his words.”

Continue reading

Hmmm… Implementing DE&I Might Be Trickier Than It Sounds

Here follows the transcript of an entirely fictional videoconference between University of Virginia President Jim Ryan and his Executive Cabinet. The author is not intending to be satirical. He is illuminating the issues that any honest effort to implement a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion agenda will encounter. — JAB

 by Jon Jewett

President Ryan: I have called this meeting to address the most important problem facing the University today — systemic racism. It is imperative that we make significant progress towards a solution during the 2021-22 academic year. In view of their critical roles in determining how we as a university address this problem, I have asked Greg Roberts, Dean of Admissions, Ian Baucom, Dean of Arts and Sciences. Risa Goluboff, Dean of the Law School, and David Wilkes, Dean of the School of Medicine, to join us.

I trust that by now you have all read Ibram X. Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist. If not, you should. Make that “must.’ Kendi’s basic message can be summed up as “No More Excuses.” We all know that all races are equal. Yet there are huge disparities between whites and blacks in this country, and in this University. Supposedly we have been working to eliminate those disparities at least since the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, but they have barely changed over the last 50 years. What we have been doing has simply not worked, and it is time to recognize that reality. Kevin McDonald, Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Partnerships, will first explain what our goals must be if we are to have an anti-racist university, and then I will call on others to explain how we will achieve those goals. Kevin? Continue reading