Category Archives: Speakers, Panels and Events

Miyares, Manchin to Speak at UVA

The Jefferson Council is pleased to partner with the Center for Politics to bring these two prominent politicians to the University of Virginia.

Sabato’s Crystal Ball — 25th Anniversary Edition

The Center for Politics at the University of Virginia is holding a gala April 5th and 6th to celebrate Larry Sabato’s 50th year with UVA. The Jefferson Council is pleased to be a sponsor. A limited number of free tickets is available to the public to attend Sabato’s Crystal Ball 25th Anniversary Edition, ‘The Road Ahead,” from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. April 6th. To inquire about tickets contact Glenn Crossman at [email protected]. See you there!

Canceled NY Times Editor to Speak at UVA

James Bennet, former editorial page editor of The New York Times, was famously canceled for daring to publish right-of-center op-eds in the Gray Lady. Our friends at the Blue Ridge Center are bringing him to UVA to recount how his feud liberated him to think about things differently.

We’ll be there. You should be too!

The Use and Misuse of a UVA Lecture Series

by James A. Bacon

The “fixation” of modern-day Israelis on the Holocaust has become a “vast and ugly fig leaf” hiding oppression of Palestinians and giving Israelis license to brush aside moral qualms about their response to the October 7 terror attacks, Brown University historian Omer Bartov told an audience of 60 or so people Tuesday at the University of Virginia.

In vowing to “never again” let Jews fall prey to genocidal extermination, Israelis indulge in “self-victimization,” “self pity,” and “self righteousness,” said Bartov, an Israeli-born Jew who has built his academic career around the study of the Holocaust and genocide. “It’s not a condition conducive to understanding, toleration, and reconciliation.”

The lecture, entitled, “The Never Again Syndrome: Uses and Misuses of Holocaust Memory in Contemporary Global Politics,” was one in a series of events billed by UVA leadership as broadening understanding of the Middle East conflict. The lecture series is an outgrowth of the tension between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli groups at UVA. Jewish students have complained of a hostile environment that leaves them afraid to speak out or even openly identify as Jews. In a parallel initiative, the Ryan administration created a religious diversity task force to understand how Jewish and Muslim students, faculty and staff “experience life on Grounds.” Continue reading

From Zoomers to Boomers

Unraveling Political Perspectives Across Generations

Join the Center for Politics for an engaging dialogue delving into the diverse perspectives and ideologies of Gen Z and Baby Boomers, represented by three members of each generation. The rules: (1) Participants agree to listen with an empathetic ear, (2) Respond without becoming defensive, and (3) Strive to try to understand each other. Paul Begala, political commentator and former Clinton adviser, will moderate.

Jefferson Council Executive Director Jim Bacon will share his curmudgeonly perspective as a Boomer with a Gen Z son and two Millennial daughters.

Time: 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., March 19
Location: Nau Auditorium, Room 101
Register here

Healing By Highlighting Racism, Trauma and White Supremacy

February is Black History Month, and to celebrate, UVA Health has organized  activities around the theme, “Racial Healing: The Heart of Racial Equity.”

Racial healing activities include:

  • Kultivate Connection. An emotional wellness break and space facilitating racial healing through a connection with colleagues, shared experiences, and cultivation of authenticity and kinship.
  • DEI Book of the Month Discussion. “The Racial Healing Handbook: Practical Activities to Help You Challenge Privilege, Confront Systemic Racism, and Engage in Collective Healing.”
  • Guest speaker: Jodie Geddes, co-author of “The Little Book of Racial Healing: Coming to the Table for Truthtelling, Liberation, and Transformation.”
  • Guest speaker: Dr. Michael McCreary, president of the New Brunswick Theological Seminary, on “Trauma and Race: a Path to Wellbeing.” The topic covers “trauma-informed counseling for racially traumatized African (Black), Latino/a/x, Asian, and Native (Indigenous) Americans (ALANAs).”
  • Guest speaker. “My Story, My Voice,” featuring Gene Cash, executive director of the Counseling Alliance of Virginia, on racial awareness and sensitivity.

To do his bit to bring about racial healing, Mr. Cash addressed the topic of White Supremacy. In the clip atop this post, he asks participants if they can name the tenets of White Supremacy. He draws mostly blanks, although one lady hesitantly suggests that “perfectionism” is such a tenet. Cash agrees, describing perfectionism as a tool for White control, rule, and the disregarding of “Black and Brown spaces, transactions and interactions.” He goes on to discuss the horrors of slavery and lynching.


TJC’s 3rd Annual Meeting Will Explore UVA Governance

by James A. Bacon

The University of Virginia, like most public higher-ed institutions, is run by its president and senior executives. The Board of Visitors functions as a rubber stamp, approving whatever the administration puts before them. There is nothing unusual in the higher-ed world about the lopsided balance of power between UVA’s president and its board, but it is indisputably the case and must be recognized for what it is.

Where UVA differs from Ivy League universities and other elite private institutions is that its governing board is appointed by Virginia’s governor. That means UVA’s board is not a cozy, self-perpetuating clique. Governors can shake up the university power structure by appointing board members willing to challenge the status quo.

Virginia’s flagship university is nearing a pivot point. With the nomination of five new members (to be confirmed later by the General Assembly), Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s appointees, now a minority, will comprise a 13-to-4 majority of the Board effective July 1, 2014. The stakes couldn’t be higher. The impending new majority coincides with a dramatic shift in sentiment toward higher education. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling has restricted the use of race in admissions, and dissident alumni have ousted the presidents of Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania. UVA, too, is heading for a reckoning.

In a first-ever event of its kind, the Jefferson Council will devote its 3rd annual meeting April 9 to the theme of governance at UVA. An impressive line-up of speakers will examine the political and legal forces reshaping higher ed, explore how university governing boards can drive change, and critique the governance system at UVA.

Register here to attend this event. Continue reading

How Higher Ed Destroyed Its Brand

Jonathan Haidt, prolific author, social psychologist, and business school professor at New York University, gave a phenomenal speech at the University of Virginia last night, describing how higher-ed in the United States has destroyed its best-in-the-world global brand and what might be done to restore it.

The Jefferson Council was pleased to have hosted the event in partnership with UVA’s College Republicans, Center for Politics, and Heterodox Academy.

Morals, Coddling, Mental Illness, and Wokeness

Jonathan Haidt

by James A. Bacon

Jonathan Haidt is one of the most important public intellectuals in America today. If you’re not familiar with his work, you need to be. You’ll get a chance to hear him when he comes to the University of Virginia February 8 as a guest of The Jefferson Council.

The social psychologist (and former UVA professor) gained national attention in 2012 with the publication of his book, “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion,” which asks the question, why can’t we all get along? In America, liberals and conservatives hew to different sides of six fundamental moral realms such as Fairness/Cheating and Liberty/Oppression, he argues. Differing moral sentiments translate into different worldviews, which inform different political positions. Moral intuitions are the primary driver, and reason follows mainly as a means to justify those intuitions. Though an old-fashioned liberal who has confessed to having never voted for a Republican for president, Haidt eschewed demonizing those who think differently. Liberals and conservatives alike, he said, are prone to group thinking, rationalizing their intuitions, and confirmation bias (seeking data that confirms their worldviews while ignoring data that doesn’t). 

Jonathan Haidt
February 8, 2024, 6:30 p.m.
Nau Hall Auditorium
Register here

Continue reading

Jefferson Council Report on Disruptions to the Shrier Event

The Jefferson Council distributed the following statement and attached report to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors this morning.

Dear Board of Visitors members,

On Oct. 11, 2023, journalist Abigail Shrier engaged in a Q&A session at the University of Virginia discussing the transgender movement in the United States. Offended by her views, transgender militants and their allies sabotaged attendance of the event, abrogated an agreement with university authorities restricting where to hold their protest, crowded the entrance to the venue at Minor Hall, berated attendees entering the event, and harassed attendees leaving the event.

In a communication to the Board in response to a letter from Jefferson Council President Tom Neale, the administration responded that some of the behavior was “disappointing,” but noted that there were “no arrests or injuries, and no property damage.” The administration found no grounds for follow-up action.

We vigorously take issue with the administration’s spin. We believe that protesters should be held to a higher standard than not causing injury or property damage. Continue reading