Jefferson Council Welcomes Four New UVa Board Members

CHARLOTTESVILLE (June 29, 2023)—The Jefferson Council applauds Governor Glenn Youngkin’s appointment of four fresh faces to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors. With Youngkin appointees now numbering eight on the 17-person board, we look forward to changes at UVa that reflect the Governor’s priorities and address the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on racial preferences in admissions.

The four individuals include:

  • Paul C. Harris of Richmond, Executive Vice President, Chief Sustainability and Compliance Officer, Huntington Ingalls Industries
  • Paul B. Manning of Charlottesville, Chairman and CEO, PBM Capital Group
  • John L. Nau, III of Houston, Texas, Chairman and CEO of Silver Eagle Beverages
  • Rachel Sheridan of McLean, Partner, Kirkland & Ellis

The Governor offered no comment on the logic behind his selections, and we are not privy to his thinking. Manning and Nau are both generous benefactors to UVa as well as major donors to Republican candidates and PACs. Harris and Sheridan bring welcome diversity to the Board.

Presumably, the appointees share the Governor’s philosophy of reframing “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion” as “Diversity, Opportunity & Inclusion” in state government, and are comfortable with the statement by his chief diversity officer Martin D. Brown, who declared DEI to be “dead” at the Virginia Military Institute. In a ruling that appears to be consistent with the Governor’s vision, the U.S. Supreme Court has just declared that higher-ed institutions may not use race as a criterion in admitting students.

“Today the Supreme Court ruled that Harvard and the University of North Carolina’s admissions policies violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. This in effect is the death knell for Affirmative Action,” said Jefferson Council President Tom Neale. “The Jefferson Council strongly supports diversity based on merit-based admissions for all. We are confident that the eight Youngkin appointees will start to return the University to its Jeffersonian principles of civil dialogue in a community marked by intellectual diversity.”

“The current Board of Visitors has already endorsed free speech and viewpoint diversity as core values of UVa, and we expect the new Board will broaden the discussion on how to re-define Diversity, Equity & Inclusion,” said Executive Director James A. Bacon. “We would like to see a shift away from the cultivation of grievances and differences, which we believe isolates and alienates minority students, to a celebration of opportunity and achievement.”

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Dustin Hecker
Dustin Hecker
10 months ago

I do not believe that the Supreme Court really outlawed the use of race in college admissions. Rather, they said it may be used as part of the review of how a specific individual has overcome hardships and the like. It just can’t be used to provide everyone who fits into a particular racial category with an advantage in the admissions process simply because they fit into that category. So no, race will continue to be an issue and maybe these schools will start actually doing the holistic, individual analyzes of applicants they claim they do.

John Buckley
John Buckley
10 months ago

Yes, it seems, on first glance, that Chief Justice Roberts explicitly provided a not-so-subtle roadmap on other routes to take that give Harvard and UNC, et al., an easy out for what they already want to do. Pity.

Walter smith
Walter smith
10 months ago

Unfortunately, Dusty’s analysis is correct and UVA will not change one thing.
For the most part UVA does not need to know the race of a student and can likely predict the race merely off of the school and zip code. Then add in extra-curriculars and it is a slam dunk.
I have heard that Asian students have quit listing things like Chess Club or violin, and that Jewish applicants have not listed involvement in activities that indicate they are Jewish.
All of the dropping of SATs was in preparation for this ruling because the SAT most clearly indicated the racial cheating.
so now UVA and many other, and soon all, schools use something called Landscape, from the College Board. Landscape used to be called the “Adversity Index,” but that name was too descriptive, so College Board revised it into two components and called it “Landscape.”
Landscape achieves its sleight of hand by comparing the applicant only against others from the same school. So a #1 in a horrible school will compare more favorably that a number 10 in an excellent school. “Neighborhood” is the other component of Landscape and it appears to give a higher score for living in a bad neighborhood. And using these clues, UVA then lilts the table to have Black applicants receive a 29% offer rate, while White students receive a 17% offer rate (this was for Class of 2026).
Last year, UVA Admissions was quite forthcoming until I think they were told to quit volunteering answers to me. They denied me two answers to questions they have to know. This year, Admissions has provided nothing and only gives me FOIA required docs which are almost non-existent. It makes me think they intentionally do not produce documents to avoid disclosure. Anyway, what I was provided last year showed the disparity with the SAT results for the students who did take the SAT. The mean Black score was roughly 100 points lower across all the other groups.
So, UVA will not change and will rely on someone breaking through on a disparate impact analysis, which is why UVA and all the other “elite” schools stopped using the SAT because it made the case too easy. Add to that that UVA will not willingly give over the admissions info, and you see how hard it would be for an individual to break through.
The only way to require UVA to comply with the 14th Amendment (wonder why the Honor System is on life support?) is for the BOV to step up, to require Admissions to be fully cooperative and to get their hands dirty to understand the intentional law breaking occurring to the great academic “god” of DEI, not to be confused with the “climate change” “god” or the “sustainability” “god.” But they are polytheists, so all good…

10 months ago

Lest there be any doubt as to what Walter and Dusty point out, the following official statement on the SCOTUS ruling from Ryan and Baucom, “We will of course continue to follow the law. We will also continue to do everything within our legal authority to recruit and admit a class of students who are diverse across every possible dimension and to make every student feel welcome and included here at UVA.” Meanwhile, the actual effect of UVA’s race based admissions policies has resulted in numerous cited polls of current and past students experiencing diminished cohesiveness and camaraderie. Anything but “inclusiveness.” Such are the effects of the actions of Marxist useful idiots lost in their woke DEI dogma.

Dustin Hecker
Dustin Hecker
10 months ago

To be clear, I am NOT saying UVA or any other school should focus only on SAT scores and not take into account an individual’s circumstances. Including, as appropriate, race. I think the Supreme Court signaled that’s okay. I think the Supreme Court got it right in saying race by itself cannot be the determinant. UVA and every other school will need to actually now implement what they claim they have been doing all along which is a holistic review focusing on the individual applicant and not on his or her membership in a particular racial or ethnic or religious or gender group.

walter smith
walter smith
10 months ago
Reply to  Dustin Hecker

And the reality is HOW can they possibly do a real holistic review of 56,000 applications?
I wish all racial statistic bean counting would end. I think it increases division, particularly as we have more and more inter-racial and cross cultural marriages. Tiger Woods called himself a Cablinasian. He was an unbelievable golfer (until he blew up). Let’s get back to a melting pot.
I think this is also a problem with the Common App – you get flooded with applications so you can then brag about your low acceptance rate, but, again, how do you holistically review 56,000 applications? How do you have any kind of a consistent standard?
You and I are in agreement as to what the opinion says.
I don’t think, however, that anything will change in UVA’s admissions practices as they were already built around this expected ruling with the “Landscape” tool used in Admissions.
The admission statistics reveal more that race is a huge factor – how huge? I think it is the factor, but proving it… So UVA will not change how it is operating without real BOV intervention.

Pres Ryan has already signaled no real change with this in UVA Today –
As we write, we are still evaluating the opinion to determine how it may affect our current admissions approach and what changes we may need to make as a result. We will of course continue to follow the law. We will also continue to do everything within our legal authority to recruit and admit a class of students who are diverse across every possible dimension and to make every student feel welcome and included here at UVA.  
Our commitment to diversity, in short, is not diminished, even if our ability to pursue that goal is constrained. Diversity, in all its forms, is critical to the educational experience, because students learn not just from their professors but from each other. Our goal is to prepare students to lead in a complex and dynamic world, and one of the ways we achieve that goal is to offer them as many opportunities as possible to exchange ideas and perspectives with people with different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. 

I interpret that as “although the Supreme Court said the 14th Amendment says what it says, UVA will still do what it can to get around that ruling.” The alumni and others who think the ruling ended racial preferences in admissions are (trigger warning!) “whistling Dixie.”