Letter: Why I Resigned from the Jefferson Scholars Program

Open letter from David Greenberg (Engineering ’66, Law ’69).

It is with deep regret that I must decline to participate in the interviews I have enjoyed and found inspiring for so long I can’t remember the number of years. I have nothing but the highest regard for everyone I have met and been associated with in the Jefferson Scholars program. I have been proud to be a part of the selection process of some of the most outstanding students entering my beloved University.

My experience on Grounds was transformational. I am forever thankful that I had the opportunity to earn two degrees from the University. My hope has always been that new students will have a similar experience to mine.

However, I have become profoundly concerned over the rise in antisemitism at the University and its impact on the safety and security of Jewish students on Grounds and in the University community.

Due to the recent unprecedented horrific massacre, rape, torture and kidnapping of civilians in Israel, including unarmed women, children, infants and the elderly, by the terrorist organization Hamas and the resulting glorification and celebration of such events on Grounds, I have become increasingly upset about the failure of the University’s administration to speak out with a full throated condemnation of the supporters of the atrocities committed by Hamas, namely the Students for Justice in Palestine. I am deeply disappointed in the lack of courage of the leadership of the University to condemn antisemitism on Grounds and in the University community. Not only have the statements issued by President Ryan lacked the strength of conviction and moral clarity expected of the President of Mr. Jefferson’s University at this time in our history, but also the silence about the demands for the University’s divestment from any companies affiliated with Israel and attacks on Israel’s right to exist is deafening. In addition, the University has not joined the broad coalition of more than 100 Universities United Against Terrorism.

The University’s failure to fully protect the safety and security of all Jewish students, faculty and staff at the University has made them fearful and put them at unjustifiable risk. Regrettably, for all of the reasons I have cited, I must decline to participate in the Jefferson Scholars’ interviewing of new students to join the University community at this time.

Respectfully,

David I. Greenberg

David Greenberg serves as chair of the Jefferson Council’s Honor Committee, however, he wrote this letter in his capacity as an individual alumnus.

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ConcernedUVAEmployee
ConcernedUVAEmployee
6 months ago

I hate to see this.

Again, I understand that the genie is out of the bottle, but I think the right move for the university is toward institutional neutrality and not joining movements like the one described above.

More importantly, I hate this because you are ceding influence. This is arguably one of the biggest mistakes that faculty made over the last few decades, ceding authority and influence of academic decision-making to the ever-growing Student Affairs complex at universities. Faculty did it for understandable reasons: perverse incentives, pressure to produce in other areas, and just being tired. However, it then led to faculty composition changing dramatically and leading us to where we are today. I hope you will reconsider participating in such an important endeavor because the more folks like you who do retreat, the more entrenched the problems become.

Jordan Ball
Jordan Ball
6 months ago

While I certainly understand why Mr. Greenberg would feel like resigning, I agree with the concerned employee that if people like Mr. Greenberg give up, matters will get worse. He will just be replaced by someone who will not stand up to the administration. Continuing to contribute his talents to the University but refusing to support it financially would be much more effective.

Legacy Grad 69'
Legacy Grad 69'
6 months ago

Mr. Greenberg’s letter brings such sadness and caps off the list of what has been lost at The University with the denigration of Mr. Jefferson, downgrading of traditions, rampant violation of decorum, CRT, Cancel Culture, extreme Leftism of faculty & administration, and tepid responses from President Ryan and others. I recall NO anti-semitism during my years at Virginia. Dean of Students B.F.D. Runk handled misbehavior from across his desk. We respected all our faculty at the A School. We were learning a profession absent Marxist Leftist social issues.

Wahoo 76
Wahoo 76
6 months ago

Absolutely!

lorna gladstone
lorna gladstone
6 months ago

I cannot agree more with the letters preceding mine. If you leave you will replaced with someone who will have no ethics whatsoever. Please hang in there and do not resign.

Wahoo 76
Wahoo 76
6 months ago

I did the same thing as Mr. Greenberg a few years ago, but for different reasons. I did not wish to be part of a process that would award Jefferson Scholarships to great students so they could be educated by woke faculty. I did not see my resignation as ceding any influence, as these students would receive a scholarship regardless of whether I was on the interviewing Committee, and my continued participation would have no effect whatsoever on any UVA faculty or administrators, despite my views. Perhaps Mr. Greenberg had the same rationale, although I certainly do not purport to speak for him.

ConcernedUVAEmployee
ConcernedUVAEmployee
6 months ago
Reply to  Wahoo 76

Missing the (part of) the boat here, Wahoo76. As an educator, I see your participation as vital not because it influences whether those students get the scholarship but rather because you influence the students.

Wahoo 76
Wahoo 76
6 months ago

I guess we just disagree on this issue. I don’t see how my interviewing students for a scholarship has any influence on them. Whether or not I participate, one or two of the students will probably receive scholarships and my only influence would be a very small input as to which student(s) are selected. Assuming the very best student(s) are selected (hopefully, always the case), I did not wish to be a part of a process which sent that great student to what is now a woke school. And my being on the selection committee would not have any effect whatsoever on the woke faculty educating this great student.

The Bootstrap Kid
The Bootstrap Kid
6 months ago

I initially thought that the woke people in control of the University were socialists or fascists. However, now they appear to be more like Nazis. Another reason why I don’t give money to the University.