Category Archives: Speakers, Panels and Events

The Pence Speech

Students Need to Hear Divergent Opinions

It is hard to imagine taking a position more antithetical to Thomas Jefferson’s, and all of our Founding Fathers’ insistence on freedom of expression and freedom of association than that which has been put forward by the Cavalier Daily. Frankly, it is astounding that the University’s student newspaper is in favor of banning free speech and free association. Even if you don’t agree with me, I have the right to speak!

I note that Mike Pence is speaking at no charge to the university, while the U paid Ibram X. Kendi $32,500 to speak for an hour. There was no outcry as to his POV or shutting him down. But, then, he is part of the ill-named “liberal” orthodoxy. 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

How to Live Free

Mia Love

by James A. Bacon

When Mia Love spoke at the University of Virginia last night, she could have told insider stories about her two terms as the only Black female Republican elected to Congress. She could have dished juicy details about what it was like as the sole GOP member of the Congressional Black Caucus, or the frustrating conversations with President Trump about recruiting Haitian immigrants into the Republican Party, or the $450,000 she had to raise and hand over to GOP party leaders to secure preferred committee assignments. She could have talked public policy about issues she cares about such as abortion or the nation’s profligate fiscal and monetary policies.

But she didn’t. Since losing a razor-thin re-election bid in 2018, she has been residing happily with her husband and three children in Salt Lake City. Although she appears as a talking head on CNN, she is writing a book and her thoughts have turned to a more inspirational direction.

Drawing heavily from personal experience, Love used the speech to explore how to live a life of freedom, integrity and purpose. Continue reading

A Final Indoctrination for Final Exercises

Melody Barnes served as Director of White House Domestic Policy Council under President Obama.

by Walter Smith

Next weekend is Finals (graduation in University of Virginia speak). The Class of 2021 class arrived at the University just after the traumatizing Unite the Right rally, lived through the backlash against Donald Trump, suffered through the suppression of unpopular conservative views, was afflicted with the Engagements requirements of the new curriculum, and missed about a third of the normal four-year college experience thanks to COVID-19 hysteria. As if the climate of the last four years was not poisonous enough, the administration squeezed in one one final indoctrination experience. I speak of assigning Melody Barnes to be a featured speaker.

Ms. Barnes co-chairs the Democracy Initiative at UVa’s Miller Center. Besides working for years for Senator Kennedy, she served eight years under President Obama. If you check out the news feed attached to her CV linked above, you will find more than enough evidence to conclude she is a rabid partisan – just the right person to lead the Democracy Initiative! Continue reading

UVa Lifetime Virtue Signaling

by Walter Smith

“Lifetime learning” sounds pretty innocuous, right? Maybe even charitable and aspirational?

To be fair, the University of Virginia lifetime-learning program does offer some courses that provide an opportunity to learn something.  The two offerings by Professor Ragosta on Patrick Henry look interesting.

But there is a difference between “learning” and “indoctrination. And the “Governor’s Summit on Equitable Collaboration,” hosted by UVa’s lifetime learning program, is shaping up to be an embarrassment for an institution of higher learning whose purported goals are to be “good and great.”

The toolkit for “transforming community spaces” sounds more like the manual for a Red Guard reeducation camp than a lifetime learning experience. Continue reading

“This Is the cost of ignoring white supremacy”

The University of Virginia’s Miller Center kicked off 2021 with a virtual discussion entitled, “Race Relations and Criminal Justice in the New Year.”

Kevin Gaines, African American and African Studies professor, was joined by Paul Butler, Georgetown University law professor and legal analyst on MSNBC, to discuss the aftermath of the Capitol insurrection and criminal justice reform, reports the Cavalier Daily.

The speakers used the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol building by right-wing extremists as a jumping off point to discuss systemic racism. Continue reading

Darkness Descends upon Mr. Jefferson’s University

by James A. Bacon

In the previous post I gave a chronological account of how a classroom joke delivered by Associate Professor Jeffrey Leopold in University of Virginia business class exploded into a full-fledged racial controversy. The post was a straightforward, just-the-facts-ma’am narrative of what happened. I made every effort to give all sides of the story and to keep my opinions out of it. With this post, I’ll say what I think.

In the scale of injustice, the Leopold incident is trivial. A professor who knocks down a salary about twice the income of the average American household suffered personal embarrassment and was relieved from solo teaching of his class. He will go back to work. His life will return to normal. He did not die with a policeman’s knee pressing down on his neck.

But the story of how the drama unfolded tells volumes about the nature of race relations at the University of Virginia and, by extension, other elite institutions of higher education. The story illustrates the ever-morphing definition of what constitutes “racism,” the narrowing scope of what is permissible to say out loud, and how those who disagree with the cultural Marxist critique of America as a irredeemably racist nation are condemned and silenced as racists. Continue reading

A Challenge to the University of Virginia Ed School on the Teaching of K-12 Black Children

Dr. Bettina Love

by James C. Sherlock

I provided an extensive review in this space of the latest book by Dr. Bettina Love, an assistant professor in the education school of the University of Georgia. She advocates separate but equally funded schools for black children and a radically revised curriculum unique to black children.

Readers can see in that review the details of her analysis of the problems in the education of black children in American schools and her incomplete but radical prescriptions for fixing the problems she assesses.

The University of Virginia, my alma mater, brought this woman to my attention by paying Ms. Love to keynote a symposium, not for University faculty or students, but sponsored by the Education School for working K-12 teachers in Virginia. Continue reading

Fraternities as Bastions Against the Cultural Totalitarians

The University of Virginia’s fraternity row. Photo credit: Daily Mail

by James A. Bacon

Back when I attended the University of Virginia many moons ago, I was a GDI — an acronym for a God-Damned Independent. During the fall rush my first year I attended two fraternity parties on Rugby Road and found nothing entertaining about hanging out with people whose sole purpose seemed to be getting sloshed. Those two experiences were all I needed to needed to convince me that I would never join a fraternity. 

As much personal disdain as I had for the Greek system, it never occurred to me to want to abolish it. It never occurred to me to insist upon imposing my values upon others. My philosophy has always been to live and let live. If the frat boys wanted to spend their colleges years in a drunken stupor, that was their choice and nobody’s business but their own (and their parents).

But we live in a different time now. We live in an era in which cultural totalitarians presume to tell everyone else how to live. And the cultural totalitarians are taking aim at fraternities and sororities as evil institutions that reinforce class stratification, elitism, discrimination and cultural appropriation, and, thus, must be abolished. I now find myself in the anomalous position of defending them. Continue reading