by James A. Bacon
So… how did the University of Virginia respond to the revelation of Bert Ellis’ text messages in The Washington Post? Here’s the statement the university provided the Post.
These text messages demonstrate a disappointing disregard for the hard work of UVA faculty and staff, as well as the University’s core values of civil discourse and honor. It is important to note that the messages were sent before these members attended their first Board meeting, and that they have since had many opportunities to witness firsthand the many ways this institution, and its employees, contribute to the Commonwealth of Virginia, our nation, and our world.
In a private communication made public only through the Freedom of Information Act, Ellis referred to vice provost Louis P. Nelson, specialist in the built environments of the early modern Atlantic world with a special interest in the impact of racism on architecture, as a “numnut” (a variant of numbnut) and symptomatic of UVa’s bloated bureaucracy.
Now, let’s enter our time machine to see how the UVa administration responded when the Student Council passed a resolution calling Ellis a white supremacist: “From the bondage and abuse experienced by enslaved people, to the violent occupation by Nazis and KKK members, to Bert Ellis — the Lawn is no stranger to racist violence under the guise of “Jeffersonian ideals’ in order to maintain power for the white elite.”
Chirp. Chirp. Silence.
The administration had nothing to say.
Calling someone a numbnut — bad.
Calling a board member a white supremacist — not worthy of comment.
Here at the Jefferson Council, we’ll give the Ryan administration an opportunity to rectify its oversight. Please provide a response to the Student Council’s resolution. We’ll be happy to publish the whole thing.
Let’s give the authors on the Student Council the opportunity to graduate and experience “Real Life” and then see if they end up calling bloated corporate or government bureaucrats what they really should be called. Do nothings who spend a career justifying their own position in a bureaucratic hierarchy. Bert is a successful entrepreneur who I imagine has experienced his own share of Corporate numnuts during his career. He’s a doer who doesn’t pull any punches, and I ‘m looking forward to what he can get done on the Board of Visitors and for the University. Numnuts…really?
Remember CeCi Cain, StudCo (Immature) President won’t talk to Bert…you know -inclusive!
And I wouldn’t want anyone to forget the completely reasonable, and mature, and reflecting so well on UVA from the former Editor in Chief of the CD…
Shall I post that Instagram pic?
But remember, Bert called me a name!
They aren’t used to someone resisting their smears. And once you realize they won’t work, man up and call ’em like you see ’em.
Jim Ryan and the FECKLESS BOV are presiding over a University in decline (and don’t give me the # of applications via CommonApp or the endowment money – the standards are declining and the “community” is being divided and true intellectual pursuit is stifled).
“sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”
The UVa response to the “numnuts” reference is laughable in its sanctimonious language. Its high-minded attempt falls quite flat.
Excellent job, Jim, pointing out the blatant hypocrisy of the Administration in their public response.
The Cavalier Daily labelled Bert as a racist when describing the 1975 William Shockley vs. Richard Goldsby debate, conveniently leaving out the fact it was a debate. The CD editors only referenced the racist Shockley. Eminent black professor Goldsby was brought in by Bert and his committee to eviscerate Shockley…which he did.
When asked to comment on this libelous omission, President Ryan’s response was “The Cavalier Daily is a student run publication and I cannot influence their editorial staffs.” Influence no, but is he precluded from commenting when a distinguished alumnus is falsely maligned?
Bert asked a senior UVA financial officer for a summary of fixed administrative costs, a request that in the “real world” private sector happens daily when responding to corporate board financial requests. He was brushed off due to more pressing priorities. This information should be at the tip of that financial offcer’s fingers…..if she were competent.
Numuts seems to me to be a polite term to use.
Bert comes the corporate world where company officers report to the Board members and cannot make significant decisions without their agreement. Strategies are established jointly between senior officers, the CEO, and the Board. It is evident that the UVA BOV has historically been a rubber stamp for whatever the President and his staff have wanted to do. Administrative expenses are insanely out of control. Tuitions have skyrocketed as a result. Parents bear the burden and just have to suck it up.
I will cite evidence of the disproportionate cost of attendance for a UVA education (for out of state students) compared to a handful of competitors:
1) UVA 4th year out-of-state: $75,788-77,728.
2) Harvard: $78,028
3) Princeton: $78,490
4) Texas @ Austin (out-of-state): $59,032
5) UNC (out-of-state): $52,633
6) Georgia (out-of-state): $46,986
You think we are still competitive with other top state universities when competing for non-UVA students who comprise 35% of our population? Does President Ryan still think he is at an Ivy League university when pricing our UVA degree?
As Youngkin appointees become an increasing majority, this upside down authority structure will be reversed. Bloated administration expenses must be slashed….with a vengeance. That’s what happens in the logical world of corporate America when your product is too expensive vs. your competitors.
I suggest that the Administration had best gird its loins for a rough ride in the very near future.
By defacto, any white person can be called a white supremicist. Hispanics can earn the title too. Just means you’re politically out of favor. Overused, it’s meaningless. Means you’re not woke! But also means you can’t be controlled by the elitists like Ryan. That’s why he’s silent. He supports it just like he did when the biological male blew the female top swimmer out of the water. Ryan quiet. Allows it.
It does appear as if the woke left has completely overrun UVA. I don’t see how the left will ever relinquish its choke hold on the University.
Would someone therefore explain to me why I should ever visit or give one dime to this woke indoctrination center?
Short term you’re correct. As of July 2024 Gov. Youngkin appointees will comprise the majority of the BOV. The changes implemented will be swift and significant.
Then open your wallet assuming the “new” BOV returns Mr. Jefferson’s University to moderation, civility, and true intellectual diversity. With leaders like Bert, I am confident they will.
I certainly hope that you are correct. However, if the woke-left democrats lose control of the University, it will be the first time that these tyrants have lost control of anything.
As is usual James Bacon does a great job of defining the problem. The progressives who have taken over the University and continue to impose the cancel culture will not go quietly. No one expects them to. But with men like Bert Ellis leading the charge …and the addition of 8 more board members put forth by our great Governor Youngkin…change is coming for the good of the University and the Commonwealth
Please continue to hold up the mirror. Hopefully some day UVA’s administration will benefit from Bert’s corrective lenses and be able to see reality in the looking glass.
This latest incident in regards to Ryan’s weakness and lack of integrity as president reminds of the recording done by the student perpetrator of the very public F–UVA sign on her door. In that recording Ryan if you recall was only focused on appeasement rather than promoting “civil discourse and honor” which he in this case has no problem in leveling the charge against Mr. Ellis even over a private(not public) communication.
As my late father, a high school principal, would often state, “a fish rots from the head down.” Rot is self evident at UVa and can only be eradicated by change at the BOV and administration level. In electing Governor Youngkin the people likewise noted and spoke. Mr. Ellis take heart and never doubt that as concerned UVA alumni we are many and we stand fully in support of you as to your work and that of the TJC.
👍👍We Jefferson Council founders appreciate your support.
Here is how you grow an Ellis:
daddy got money
go to prep school…Episcopal preferred
go to UVA
pledge UVA fraternity…anything on Mad Lane, DKE too
maybe get into E Banana…something elite like that
go to Darden
get set up in business
Doesn’t sound very inclusive there, Sport. Sounds a little hate-filled. Jealous? If your instructions were true (they aren’t), is that the only way for people to succeed?
Q: How does one grow a hate filled loser?
A: Ignore classical pursuit of knowledge and indoctrinate non-stop in identity politics. Blame all failures on an invisible system and not on anything to do with your own choices or efforts.
The amount of money the University will have to pay to buy out Ryan’s contract when they replace him (later this year, I hope) will be inconsequential to the savings that will accrue to UVA over time. And hopefully, it will begin the process of restoring our beloved University to the ideals and standards once present there.
As a UVA graduate now living in Florida, these comments sound so familiar and disheartening. The Florida governor has based his rise in GOP politics on being more anti-woke than anyone else–leaving the meaning of “woke” intentionally vague. He has gone after teachers who wish to introduce emotional learning and all efforts to help young people develop a healthy sense of themselves, become lifelong learners and support empathy for others not like themselves. He is most known for his “don’t say gay” law and his opposition to an honest study of the role of systemic racism in our history. The governor has forbidden the use of a new AP course in African American studies. Public schools are struggling to eliminate books from their libraries, and even math textbooks have been baned.
We all know that we are a very divided nation right now. It is so sad to see some UVA alumni enthralled by what to me seems like the far right edge of our body politic. When I was a UVA student in the late 1950s, there were no Black students and no women in the College of Arts and Sciences. Some of us were not proud of these exclusions. Nonetheless, As the first in my family to attend college, I graduated with a sense of having been enlightened. I am proud to be a graduate of UVA even as I am concerned about the future of the University.
Thank you for all the “misinformation” in your post.
Don’t Say Gay doesn’t say that.
The AP course in African American Studies has not been forbidden. Nor, as Andrea Mitchell lied about, does it prohibit slavery, Reconstruction and Jim Crow.
If you really want to have a debate, it is most useful not to lie.
And banned books…right… Let’s see – parents objecting to porn in Middle School is banning books, and To Kill a Mockingbird and Tom Sawyer is OK to take out, along with editing Roald Dahl books.
“He has gone after teachers who wish to introduce emotional learning and all efforts to help young people develop a healthy sense of themselves, become lifelong learners and support empathy for others not like themselves.“
Wow – that’s an interesting take…Maybe some people believe it is not the job of the teachers to “teach” “emotional learning”. Maybe those awful people, like me, want teachers to stick to the subject – how to think, not what to think. How to do math.
And the so-called education to “help young people have a healthy sense of themselves” is failing pretty badly. The youth have never been unhappier. I’ll inculcate values to my kids just fine without the “help” of people I think are wrong, dangerously wrong.
Seriously, your post reads like a DNC press release.
“Emotional learning” and encouraging children to have a “healthy sense of themselves” are part of the problem. They instill a narcissism that makes a person’s feelings rather than truth the ultimate test of what s/he will believe or accept. That isn’t the purpose or role of education which is – or ought to be – preparing students for being productive (as in, having meaningful, remunerative work), understanding the history and culture (as in being an informed citizen) and in not being threat to others -C. S. Lewis’ men with chests.
I attended the University as de jure segregation was being unwound: there were many parts of that process that were ugly. But, they were not as ugly as the current fragmentation of the “body politic”. The institutionalization of DIE and the “cancel” culture that is increasingly ingrained is frightening. It will take a herculean effort to behead the DIE Hydra.