Faculty Senate Votes for Review of Encampment Shutdown

UVA President Jim Ryan under questioning.

by James A. Bacon

The University of Virginia Faculty Senate voted Friday to call for an “independent and external” review of the use of police force to shut down the pro-Palestinian “liberation zone” near the University Chapel a week previously.

In a second vote, the Faculty Senate rejected a resolution denouncing the Virginia State Police’s “vastly asymmetric displays of force” in arresting 27 students, employees, and others.

The votes capped a two-hour session during which President Jim Ryan and Provost Ian Baucom expressed regret for the pain resulting from the arrests while also defending the decision to shut down the tent encampment.

“I know this is still very raw,” said Ryan. “I talked to people who were there. And it was horrible to see. And frightening. And traumatic. And I also know, we have lost some trust, and some of you feel a sense of betrayal.”

Provost Ian Baucom expressed regret at the “pain” felt by students and the community.

Baucom was even more apologetic. Referring to his role advising Ryan in the command post, “I think I lived that moment in my head and maybe not enough with my heart.” He alluded over and over to the “pain” felt by the people at the encampment and in the community. “There are many things I replay in my head,” he said. “I’m sorry.”

Under questioning from a faculty member, Ryan did defend his actions. The people in the encampment repeatedly refused to enter into dialogue with the administration, funneling their demands through faculty members, he said. He believed that his presence at the scene would “amp things up rather than damp things down.”

But the main job of defending the dismantling of the encampment fell to University Police Chief Tim Longo. While the top brass huddled in a “command post,” he was the University’s man on the spot. He succeeded for several days in persuading protesters to take down the tents, which violated university policy and were the main point of contention. He was there Friday night, when the encampment, though peaceful at that time, was growing in numbers, the tents were back up, and social media appeals were calling for more people and supplies. And he was there again Saturday morning when he gave the order to take the tents down.

“People showed up whom I know didn’t belong here.” Longo said. “They’re not students here. They’re not members of this faculty. And my law enforcement sources on the ground said these were people who would make the temperature go up. And I was afraid. … I was afraid because the tone was changing.”

The Senate did not have much time for fact finding, however. The professors had resolutions before them, and they devoted most of their time to debating and wordsmithing them.

The initial version of the first resolution, approved by the Senate’s executive committee, called for an external review of the events of May 4 but contained language that some faculty members said presupposed the administration’s culpability.

The draft condemned “the use of asymmetrical force against members of our community.” It also stated that police actions “violated our shared university space, harmed both bodies and spirits, and undermined the values of union and trust in shared governance.” The draft also demanded that “University policies be changed or enacted to prohibit the use of force against peaceful protest.”

Those and other passages of the original draft were removed.

Discussion also centered on the meaning of “external” review. Who would conduct that review? The administration? The Board of Visitors? The Governor’s Office? Some faculty members found none of those alternatives palatable, but that language stayed in.

The resolution calling for an independent and external review passed. No vote count was released.

Next the Faculty Senate took up a resolution that explicitly denounced the police action. It read:

We, the members of the Faculty Senate, denounce the events of May 4, 2024, when the University of Virginia senior administration deployed armed Virginia State Police in full body armor to remove a small, unarmed group of peaceful protesters that largely consisted of members of the University community on our Grounds, thereby risking the most unimaginable catastrophe, and this police force, using pepper spray and vastly asymmetric displays of force, aggressively arrested 27 individuals including students and current/former employees.

Some faculty members spoke against the measure. The main objection was that the resolution would conflict with the previous resolution calling for an inquiry into the incident. The Senate would be acting on the basis of incomplete information, such as what undercover intelligence the police had received, one professor said. Many protesters were not affiliated with the University, observed another. The time to consider denouncing the administration, said a third, would be when the Senate had the full picture.

The motion was defeated. No vote count was released.

2.3 3 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

11 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Dennis Hughes
Dennis Hughes
4 days ago

I would need forgiveness if I expressed my opinion on the blubbering from Ryan and Baucom.
Absolutely repulsive!

Wahoo 76
Wahoo 76
4 days ago

They must apologize more! They are nowhere near the required level of contrition.

Last edited 4 days ago by Wahoo 76
Cris Traywick
Cris Traywick
4 days ago

Renews the “Snowflake” moniker.

Double Hoo
Double Hoo
4 days ago

Ryan and Baucom need testosterone injections.

Wahoo 76
Wahoo 76
4 days ago
Reply to  Double Hoo

They really do.

Clarity77
Clarity77
4 days ago
Reply to  Double Hoo

The article photos depicting the expressions on their faces, speak louder than words and confirm your diagnosis. Their obvious fear is thereby telegraphed to the leftist faculty and SJP Hamas protesters who smell blood.

90% of human communication is nonverbal. And you would never ever see such under similar circumstances on the faces of those presidents that preceded Ryan whether Casteen, Hereford, Shannon and certainly not Alderman or Jefferson.

Wahoo74
Wahoo74
4 days ago
Reply to  Clarity77

Very well said. Great analogies. You nailed it.

walter smith
walter smith
4 days ago

This is a self inflicted wound, and has been brewing for a while. I don’t know Helen Dragas, but it seems she had some idea that UVA was straying from an educational mission. That’s my guess. This led to the attempted removal of Teresa Sullivan.
The faculty revolted and the BOV blinked. That was a mistake. It made the faculty think it had a role in the oversight of UVA and they largely took academic freedom to mean they could do whatever they wanted, without staying in their lane and sticking to teaching.
Teresa Sullivan got to continue for a while, and this new Mission Statement reflects the abandonment of purely educational goals –
“The University of Virginia is a public institution of higher learning guided by a founding vision of discovery, innovation, and development of the full potential of talented students from all walks of life. It serves the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the world by developing responsible citizen leaders and professionals; advancing, preserving, and disseminating knowledge; and providing world-class patient care. We are defined by: • Our enduring commitment to a vibrant and unique residential learning environment marked by the free and collegial exchange of ideas; • Our unwavering support of a collaborative, diverse community bound together by distinctive foundational values of honor, integrity, trust, and respect; • Our universal dedication to excellence and affordable access.”

Compared to the prior “mission” statements, this was a significant re-write.

Then, thinking they were finally replacing Sullivan with someone less radical, they brought in Jim Ryan who was every bit as politically left of center, AND better at implementing it. But he appears so normal! He clerked for Rehnquist!

Oops.

Unfortunately for Ryan and Baucom, this is what they have cultivated.

Unfortunately for those who love UVA, great damage has been done. The Mission needs to go back to education and out of virtue signaling. The BOV has to re-establish proper control, and the faculty needs to get back in its proper lane of academic freedom – meaning stick to education and stay out of politics. The 95/5 ration of political contributions in a 50/50 country happened over decades and has been accelerated with the DEI statements and policies and other totalitarian control mechanisms.

It will take 20 years to fix the rot. First thing, go back to SATs. Second, go back to an earlier, more serious, educational mission statement. Third, Kalven principles and a REAL commitment to free speech with a goal of being recognized as #1 in the US and the world. Fourth, fix the University Guides or abolish them and tell the truth about Jefferson and UVA – no more moral relativism degradation of a giant in world history, much less no more lies (UVA refuses to allow an honest airing of the Scholars’ Commission findings that the Hemings rumors were almost certainly not true). Fifth, review of all Deans and the Administration for alignment with a return to academic, educational excellence.

Clarity77
Clarity77
4 days ago
Reply to  walter smith

Well said, along with all the foregoing posted comments on this article. Thanks for relating that current UVA mission statement. Funny how whenever the word “diversity” shows up my gut immediately reacts with a distinct pukey feeling that completely negates all the curated lofty words.

Clarity77
Clarity77
4 days ago

UVA I believe used to be ranked better than UNC but now UNC is ranked better. I wonder why? Could it be that they actually have better leadership with more common sense?

https://www.wunc.org/education/2024-05-13/dei-unc-chapel-hill-trustees-vote-redirect-funding-police

Clarity77
Clarity77
4 days ago

If University Police Chief Tim Longo is looking for advice on how to better do his job I would refer him to my local police chief in Lee County, Florida recently rated the safest county in all of Florida. Why can’t UVA be the safest campus in the whole nation or at least in state of Virginia?
Check it out: https://www.foxnews.com/media/gangster-florida-sheriff-politically-incorrect-demand-democrats-fleeing-liberal-cities-go-back