Category Archives: Speakers, Panels and Events

Heather Mac Donald Takes No Prisoners

Heather Mac Donald gave a fiery and impassioned speech last night at Alumni Hall in defense of meritocracy, color-blind university admissions, a humanistic education and Western Civilization. She had some sharp words for the administration’s race obsession at the University of Virginia as well. View the speech above.

Thanks again to our partners, the Burke Society and the Common Sense Society.

Watch Heather Mac Donald Live

Here is the livestream link for the Heather Mac Donald speech at 7:00 p.m. tonight.

Hamilton Wins UVa Oratory Contest

The Jefferson Council extends its congratulations to Peter Lee Hamilton, winner of the 2023 University of Virginia Oratory Contest. Competing against six other speakers on the topic, “What is the greatest strength of our American democracy,” Hamilton, a descendant of North Korean refugees and Irish immigrants, said American democracy’s strength lies in the values and grit of the American people.

Hamilton’s presentation begins at the 25:33 mark. If you want to be inspired, watch the entire event. 

Race, Disparities, and Reality

Heather Mac Donald

by James A. Bacon

Statistical disparities between Whites, Blacks, Hispanics and Asians are at the root of the debate about race in America today. Other than a few powerless voices on the fringe of society, no one questions that racism is evil. With no one admitting to being racist, leftists have redefined racism. One strain of thought asserts that many White Americans are unconsciously biased, which affects their behavior in subtle yet malign ways. Another strand insists that America’s institutions are racist, which means that racism supposedly abounds even in the absence of discernible bias. The evidence for such propositions supposedly can be found in the wide differences between Whites and Blacks in income, education, health and other metrics of wellbeing. The existence of such disparities is proffered as proof of systemic bias and/or ineradicable flaws in our institutions.

The effect of this line of thinking is pernicious in so many ways. Perhaps the most devastating to American society and to allegedly marginalized minorities themselves is the corrosive impact it has on standards of merit and excellence.

Heather Mac Donald, a Manhattan Institute fellow, is perhaps best known for her takedown of racialist thinking on crime. But she has written extensively about the perils of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion as well. And in her most recent book, “When Race Trumps Merit: How the Pursuit of Equity Sacrifices Excellence, Destroys Beauty, and Threatens Lives,” she explores how a monomaniacal focus on statistical disparities corrupts science, the arts, and public policy.

In an event co-sponsored by The Jefferson Council, Mac Donald will address the University of Virginia community 7:00 p.m. Nov. 9 in Charlottesville on the topic, “DEI and the Death of Merit.” You can register here. Continue reading

From Our Free-Speech Friends at MIT…

Join the Livestream Link at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time today.

Updates on the Pro-Palestinian Protests

Pro-Palestinian protesters. Image credit: The Jefferson Independent.

More coverage of last week’s pro-Hamas demonstration at the University of Virginia comes from The Jefferson Independent and The Cavalier Daily. The Independent’s Peter McHugh provides a vivid  description of events, such as dueling flags — Israel’s versus Palestinian — on the steps of the Rotunda. Crying, “This is our space!” the pro-Palestinian demonstrators scuffled with the Jewish students in an unsuccessful bid to remove their banner.

McHugh also takes note of a communication from the Provost’s office to faculty members that stated, “While the university is aware that a number of student organizations are planning a walkout at 12:30 tomorrow, we are not canceling classes and expect that instruction will continue as scheduled.”

At least one professor, Mack Gregg of the English department, ended class at 12:30 and urged students to attend the walkout demonstration, two students told McHugh. The Independent tried to contact Gregg for a response but got no reply. Continue reading

Coming November 9…

Heather Mac Donald, a member of the Manhattan Institute, is author of “The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture.”

Register here.

A New Form of Antisemitism Surfaces in Charlottesville

Anna Kriebel, a third-year student in the University of Virginia’s Political Philosophy, Policy and Law program, has had a column published in National Review. She describes the dehumanizing, anti-Israeli rhetoric of the pro-Palestinian students at UVa, and contrasts it with the timid defense of Israel by Jewish students unwilling to sign their names to a column in the Cavalier Daily newspaper. We can replicate the first few paragraphs here, but you’ll have to visit the National Review website to read the whole thing. — JAB

The dehumanizing rhetoric of a student group at the University of Virginia flies in the face of the school’s Jeffersonian principles.

Six years after Unite the Right, an insidious new brand of antisemitism has taken hold in Charlottesville, home to the University of Virginia. Shortly after Hamas launched its brutal attack on Israel, the group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at UVA released a statement declaring its unequivocal support for resistance “by whatever means they deem necessary.” In essence, it justified the slaughter of Israeli civilians.

I sympathize with those experiencing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and don’t pretend to condone every military decision made by Israel, the United States, or any other country, for that matter. However, I am deeply unsettled by the antisemitic implications of many of my peers’ statements, as well as their attempts to stifle free discourse. Read the whole thing.

Abigail Shrier Speaks on Grounds, Sparks Protest and Controversy Among Students

Another excellent article from our friends at The Jefferson Independent….

by Christine Schueckler

HATE HAS NO HOME AT UVA. The words have been plastered all over UVA Grounds for the past week, stretching from the first-year dorms to lampposts on the Corner and covering every pillar of Minor Hall. A series of brightly colored posters, beginning boldly with “HEY ABIGAIL,” protest The Jefferson Council’s invitation of Abigail Shrier, an award-winning journalist, to speak at UVA about her book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters on Wednesday, October 11 at 7 P.M. The talk was co-sponsored by other conservative groups affiliated with the university, the UVA chapter of Young Americans for Freedom and the Common Sense Society, which only added fuel to the flames.

Dozens of students have posted the link to register for the event on their social media accounts, encouraging students to reserve tickets without attending the event in hopes of leaving Shrier with an empty room. The Editorial Board of the Cavalier Daily has similarly released an opinion article asserting that “certain types of speech simply should not be tolerated here on Grounds,” encouraging students to exercise their own right to free speech by protesting Shrier’s presence on Grounds. Per the picture above, the communal blackboard in Bryan Hall has also been branded with a scaldingly sarcastic advertisement for the talk (image blurred due to profane language), complete with air quotations and little hearts. (It may be interesting to note that JUSTICE FOR PALESTINE is scrawled right next to this announcement in massive, angry letters.)  Continue reading.

A Conversation on Israel with Victoria Coates

Our friends at the Open Discourse Coalition at Bucknell University invite Jefferson Council members and friends to a zoom session featuring Victoria Coates, a former national security advisor to Donald Trump.

Students and attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions about the terrorist attacks against Israelis and the implications on foreign policy and national security. Dr. Coates’ expertise is informed by her time as Deputy National Security Advisor for the Middle East and North Africa, overseeing the Maximum Pressure Campaign against Iran and initiating the negotiations for the Abraham Accords.

Register here.