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.