Tag Archives: Bert Ellis

Lords of the Lie

by James A. Bacon

I never imagined it possible to exceed the vitriol heaped upon University of Virginia board member Bert Ellis over the past few months. I thought for sure that the nastiness would die down. I was naive. Yesterday the Democratic Party of Virginia labeled him a “eugenicist” — an advocate of the philosophy of sterilizing the genetically unfit. The philosophy was adopted by racists to purge the gene pool of Jews, Blacks, Roma and other groups deemed undesirable. In so doing, the attack groups Ellis with the worst racists of history.

The charge appears in a press release lambasting Governor Glenn Youngkin’s education policy, primarily in K-12 education. While most of the criticisms were tendentious and wrong-headed, at least they were directed toward Youngkin’s policies and actions. But in Ellis’ case, the Democratic Party of Virginia engaged in a vicious personal attack with zero factual foundation. Indeed, the DPV elevated previous libels of Ellis as a “white supremacist” to new heights of malice.

Here is what the press release says.

Appointment of a Eugenicist to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors Continue reading

The Bert Ellis Feeding Frenzy


by James A. Bacon

Virginia has now entered the feeding frenzy stage of the assault on Bert Ellis’ character. Abandoning all journalistic standards of impartiality and fair play, mainstream media outlets compete with another to publish anything they can find to compromise Ellis, a member of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors appointed by Governor Glenn Youngkin and narrowly confirmed by the General Assembly.

Following a Washington Post piece yesterday that highlighted such transgressions as referring in private correspondence to a UVa employee as a “numnut,” Virginia Public Media has joined the fray. Among the new affrights uncovered through the Freedom of Information Act is the scoop that Ellis also referred to UVa administrators as “schmucks”!

It is laughable that anyone would deem such language used in personal communications to be worth publishing — as if no one else in public service speaks this way in private. Ironically, the only thing remarkable about Ellis’ use of language is how restrained it is. It is less vitriolic, for example, than the language used by Jeff Thomas, the leftist author who filed the FOIA request and peddled his findings to the media. VPM reporter Ben Paviour quotes Thomas as accusing “these people” of “lashing out with these venomous personal attacks at innocent people.”

Venomous? Really? Ellis didn’t “lash out” or “attack” anyone — these were private communications. The victims never knew about them…  until Thomas uncovered them and persuaded Paviour to publicize them!

Such are the New Rules of woke journalism.

But there’s more. Paviour included one exchange in his piece that had no business appearing in any article. The fact that he chose to include it exposes the shoddiness of his journalism. Here is what he wrote: Continue reading

If It Weren’t For Double Standards, UVa Would Have…

Chirp. Chirp. Silence.

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.” Continue reading

“We’re like Patton. We Go forward. We Don’t Retreat.”

Image credit: Washington Post

by James A. Bacon

And the hit jobs just keep on coming!

After maligning Virginia Military Institute alumni dissident Matt Daniel two days ago, The Washington Post aims its guns today on Bert Ellis, a conservative alumnus and member of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors, with the publication of text messages obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. They were private communications. Like everyone else in the universe, Ellis expressed himself with candid language he would not have used in the public domain.

Make sure you’re sitting down. You might want to take a dose of anti-anxiety pills. Ellis actually called people “numnuts.”

He also had the temerity to express dissatisfaction with the Ryan administration’s obsessive focus on race, including its Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives.

In truth, there is remarkably little that is worthy of note in Ellis’ text messages. Yet the Post quotes Jeff Thomas, the leftist chronicler of Virginia politics who obtained the FOIA documents, as asserting that the documents “demonstrate Governor Youngkin’s Board appointees are ignorant reactionaries consumed by hatred and neo-Confederate fantasies.”

The text messages demonstrate no such thing. Ellis has never been consumed by the destruction Civil War statues or the assault on Southern heritage. Rather, he has lamented the trashing of Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers. There is nothing in the text messages to suggest the existence of “neo-Confederate fantasies” — nor, for that matter, the notion that he is “consumed by hatred”… unless you consider calling someone a “numnut” an indicator of unquenchable animus. Continue reading

Thank You, TJI, for Standing up for Bert

The state senate confirmation vote on Bert Ellis’ appointment to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors has been delayed again, this time until Monday. For the benefit of Jefferson Council members waiting on pins and needles for the outcome, we point you to an article in The Jefferson Independent, UVa’s alternative student newspaper.

In the article entitled, “Unfounded Attacks Should Not Tarnish Board of Visitors Appointment Processes,” Eric Willersdorf defends Bert’s reputation.

As I walk through Grounds or view the Instagram feeds of student organizations, I am awestruck by the amount of unfounded claims against Bert Ellis. The typical form-letter style statements that outline the horrors of the 2017 “Unite the Right Rally” in Charlotteville attempt to connect Ellis to the bands of white supremacists that took to the streets five years ago. Just last year, the same event was cited and used as ammunition against then-Gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin, effectively claiming his endorsement by Donald Trump proved his association to some sort of phantom racism. Ellis has now fallen victim to the same unimaginative criticisms.

Read the whole thing.

Mr. Ryan Goes to Richmond

Tweet from Jim Ryan's Twitter account.On the heels of announcing the creation of a new biotech institute with the help of $150 million in state funding, University of Virginia President Jim Ryan traveled to the Virginia state capitol the other day to discuss how “UVA and the Commonwealth can continue to collaborate.”

Numerous bills affecting Virginia’s public universities, and by extension UVa, have been up for debate — bills calling for more transparency into university expenditures on lobbyists and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion administrators, for example, or mandating that universities with large endowments apply a minimum of 15% of market gains to making tuition more affordable.

The Jefferson Council wondered what else Ryan might have spoken to lawmakers about. Here is what university spokesman Brian Coy told us: Continue reading

Cavalier Daily Reveals Real Motive for Vilifying Bert Ellis

by James A. Bacon

As a critical vote approaches in the Virginia state senate, The Cavalier Daily has doubled down on its denunciation of Bert Ellis, and in so doing has revealed its real motive for campaigning to block his appointment to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors: Ellis represents a threat to Business As Usual at UVa.

In a Jan. 28 column, the Editorial Board rehashed its absurdly one-sided portrayal of Ellis’ actions as a member of the University Union 50 years ago and the two-and-a-half-year-old thought crime of intending, but never following through, to use a razor blade to cut down the infamous “F— UVA” sign on the door of a Lawn resident. The editors have persisted in their cherry-picking of facts despite the publication of multiple articles providing the full context of these incidents. (To refresh yourself on the details click here.) 

The Cavalier Daily is not engaging in journalism. The editorial, like its previous articles and editorials libeling Ellis as a racist and homophobe, is a partisan polemic. Sadly, as the student newspaper’s charges have been amplified by the UVa Student Council and Faculty Senate and propagated through social media and the rumor mill, they have inspired Democratic Party opposition in the General Assembly to the confirmation of Ellis, who was nominated by Governor Glenn Youngkin last June.

Normally, Virginia’ governors’ nominations for state boards and commissions are lumped together in a single bill and approved en masse. This year, two of Youngkin’s nominations have been stripped out for separate confirmation: State Health Commissioner Colin M. Greene, who has expressed skepticism of “systemic racism” as a cause of racial differences in racial health outcomes, and Ellis.

Why has Ellis been singled out? Why the grotesque misrepresentations? Why have the CD’s allegations transmogrified into claims so outrageous that even the CD would not recognize them — for instance, that Ellis used a razor blade to assault the young woman who penned the F— UVA sign?

Militant leftists perceive Ellis as a threat to their stranglehold on UVa’s culture and power structures. Continue reading

UVa Student Council Peddles Its Character Assassination to the General Assembly

by James A. Bacon

The executive board of the University of Virginia student council has asked the Virginia General Assembly to reject Governor Glenn Youngkin’s appointment of Bert Ellis to the Board of Visitors.

The letter was addressed to Democratic Party leaders of the state senate. The Senate is comprised of 33Democrats and 18 Republicans, which gives Democrats the power to block the nomination if they follow a party-line vote. None have commented publicly yet on their intention.

The letter, which recycled charges made earlier this year by the UVa student council and faculty senate, described the Ellis appointment as “reckless, ill intentioned and threatening to the safety of the marginalized students at this University.” 

The Daily Progress repeated the allegations and linked to the letter without any offsetting comment from Ellis, the Youngkin administration, or the Jefferson Council, a UVa alumni organization of which Ellis is president. Ellis’ email is readily available: It is listed on the Jefferson Council website, as is that of the executive director (me).

The vendetta against Ellis amounts to character assassination. The portrayal of him is so one-sided as to make him unrecognizable. Ellis offered to give his side of the story to the Faculty Senate but the offer was declined. The Jefferson Council has published rebuttals, and letters have been written to the Cavalier Daily, but Ellis’ critics have acknowledged none of the exculpatory facts and testimony. They appear to be impervious to anything that might disturb their narrative. Continue reading

The Shockley-Goldsby Debate: The Rest of the Story

Image credit: 1975 Corks & Curls

by James A. Bacon

In August The Cavalier Daily ignited a furor over Bert Ellis, a conservative businessman whom Governor Glenn Youngkin appointed to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors. In a lengthy article, student newspaper detailed Ellis’ role, as a tri-committee chairman of the University Union, in bringing Nobel Prize winner William Shockley to the University for a debate about race and IQ.

Shockley’s views about Black intellectual inferiority have been broadly rejected by American society in the 47 years since Shockley went mano a mano with African-American biologist Richard Goldsby. But the event has been cited as the most damning of multiple reasons to demand Ellis’ resignation from the Board. As the UVa Student Council, the Democratic Party of Virginia and various media outlets have repeated the story, it has morphed into a narrative in which, to quote The Washington Post editorial board, Ellis “organized a campus talk” by a racist. No mention of a debate. No mention of Goldsby. No mention of the fact that Ellis was one of three student chairmen who ran the University Union.

Here’s what the narrative underplays or omits entirely: First, the University Union had reached out to local African-American groups in 1974 when planning the debate. Second, Ellis was one of three tri-chairmen who called the shots, although, as spokesman for the group, he was the only one quoted in The Cavalier Daily coverage of the controversy. Third, when the three tri-chairmen made the final decision, Ellis voted to cancel the debate. But he was in the minority, and he was overruled.

In sum, the portrayal of Ellis’ role in the controversy is so shorn of context that it amounts to character assassination. Here follows the full story. Continue reading

TJC Must Reads

The Impious Attack on Thomas Jefferson / The American Conservative

Some UVa students seem to agree with the “United the Right” marchers that Thomas Jefferson is significant only inasmuch as he supported white supremacy.

Inside Student Activists’ Cancel Campaign against a Youngkin Appointee to UVA Board /National Review

University of Virginia alumnus Bert Ellis, who was recently tapped by Governor Glenn Youngkin to sit on the university’s Board of Visitors, was touring his alma mater’s campus with his family in 2020 when…

The Terrifically Terrible Tours of the University Guide Service / The Jefferson Independent

It’s finally spring break! You’re a junior in high school, touring prospective colleges and one of them happens to be the great and wonderful University of Virginia situated in beautiful Charlottesville, Virginia… or so you thought….

Unfounded Attacks Should Not Tarnish Boards of Visitors Appointment Process / The Jefferson Independent

Despite the misguided attacks against his appointment, Bert Ellis deserves his position on the University of Virginia Board of Visitors. Ellis has a demonstrated history of successful business operation and gratitude for the University we call our own….