Tag Archives: Letters

What Do All Those DEI Employees Do?

A reader wrote this letter in response to our article highlighting Open the Books’ finding of 235 employees and interns in UVA’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion bureaucracy. The author asked to remain anonymous. — JAB 

Thanks for sharing this article. I am not surprised at the number of DEI positions at UVA. We have long known that there are more and more people employed at UVA or any university who do not teach, conduct research, garden, cook food, or attend to maintenance. A good chunk of the rise in college costs goes to the increase in the position that are loosely administrative. When I got to UVA in 1995 we had a dean, three or four associate deans and a few counselors in the School of Education. Today we still have a dean, 5 associate deans and at least 15 directors, some of whom do not hold faculty positions. Some of these new positions are related to fund raising development, grant administration and other outreach functions. In 1995 we had 75 to 100 full-time faculty and about 2,000 students. We still have the same number of faculty and students, but we built a new building to hold the administrators.

As I was reading the article and clicking on the links I kept wondering just what do these people do. I suspect they attend a lot of meetings and write a lot of reports, but do any of the students benefit? I did a quick check in 2009 about 8% of the student body was African American, in 2021 about 6%. Clearly these folks are not succeeding at making the place more diverse. The percentage of Hispanic students has ticked up by 2% and Asians by 7%. Continue reading

Letter: Not a Good Place for a Jewish Student

Dr James Ryan
University of Virginia

Dr Ryan,

My three sons, Cary, Brian and David, attended UVA in the 1980’s. Those years were wonderful for our family. We attended UVA sports events, made frequent visits to Charlottesville, and became active in different facets of the University such as the Virginia Athletics Foundation and the Center for Politics.

My wife and I have remained avid UVA supporters for close to 40 years, but, regrettably, we now feel uncomfortable continuing to be involved with the University because we are Jewish. It has deeply saddened us to read about UVA students being harassed and threatened because they are Jewish and do not feel safe at UVA. Continue reading

UVA Needs an Antisemitism Task Force, Not a Religious Diversity Task Force

We publish here a January 5 letter from 29 parents of Jewish students at the University of Virginia to Provost Ian Baucom followed by his response. — JAB

Dear Provost Baucom,

In light of the 337% increase in antisemitism in the United States since October 7, 2023, numerous universities have formed dedicated antisemitism task forces to reduce antisemitism on their campuses. For example, Harvard, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, Indiana University and University of Maryland have all established task forces or committees to combat antisemitism. NYU created a Center for the Study of Antisemitism. Those institutions join other universities that already had programs in place to address antisemitism.

Given those initiatives at other universities, and the rise of unaddressed antisemitic acts on Grounds, we were initially relieved to hear that UVA had likewise created a task force to address the current campus climate. We are disappointed to learn, however, that the focus of the task force is not aimed at addressing antisemitism but rather to “examine religious diversity and belonging.” The announcement of the initiative included a vague acknowledgement of Jewish hate on Grounds. It did not state that an objective of the initiative is rooting out antisemitism at UVA. Even worse, the entity states it will not have any recommendations until the end of the academic year. There is pervasive antisemitism on Grounds now; therefore, recommended actions are needed now. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Letters: Alum Divests UVa

Mark M. Luellen
VP for Advancement
University of Virginia
Office of Advancement

Dear Mr. Luellen,

Years ago, we formalized an estate plan which included UVA as the recipient of a significant portion of our assets, held in a revocable family trust. I was proud of my degree from UVA and loved the atmosphere where honor, true history, scholarship, world class research and excellent teaching were the priorities.

In recent months I have been concerned that these priorities were overtaken by an extreme emphasis on diversity and equity and a lesser regard for traditional values. Lately UVA’s abundant support for the murderous and uncivilized Hamas organization and the timid recognition of the slaughter of innocent Israelis has deeply saddened me. Continue reading

UVa Board Should Demand Transparency on Racial-Preference Initiatives

Last week Jefferson Council President Tom Neale sent the following letter to University of Virginia Rector Robert Hardie, members of the Board of Visitors, and selected UVa administrative officials. 

July 25, 2023

Dear Mr. Hardie:

I am the President of The Jefferson Council for the University of Virginia, and am writing you regarding what we believe to be an egregious contravention of academic governance by Provost Ian Baucom.

In a presentation to the Faculty Senate on October 11, 2022, Provost Baucom described between $20 and $40 million in initiatives to recruit graduate students and faculty from “under-represented” racial/ethnic groups. When describing these and other academic initiatives to the Board of Visitors in its March 2023 meeting, however, he never alluded to the scope of the programs, or the racial preferences embedded in them.

For most of the year, the U.S. Supreme Court was widely expected to issue a ruling restricting the use of race as a factor in college admissions. Mr. Baucom had been cognizant enough of the debatable legality of the programs to seek guidance from the University Counsel, yet he failed to mention these concerns – or the nature of the University Counsel’s guidance, if any — in his presentation to the Board. Continue reading

Hiring Guides Who Hate UVa… Not a Good Look

By introduction, I am a graduate of The College and Darden. I continue to believe the University is the most special place in the world, for all the reasons that I’m sure you and your friends & colleagues share.

My oldest son is a junior in high school, and is interested in UVa. We went to Charlottesville this past weekend and naturally, signed up for an Admissions Tour. I still remember my tour in the Fall of 1992, which was hugely important in conveying the “specialness” of UVA and what Mr. Jefferson created. I walked away this past Friday thinking “This was nothing like the tour I remembered, nor what I expected.” Some high (low) lights: Continue reading

How to Get Alumni to Stop Caring About UVa

Letter addressed to Executive Director James A. Bacon from an alumnus, Comm School Class of ’98, name withheld by request.

James, the UVA community is fortunate for people like yourself that speak up. For calling out madness when it is happening when so many just grumble and shake their heads.

My son just applied to UVA. With a 4.1 GPA in the toughest course load, 1550 SAT, and plenty of extracurricular activities he was not accepted.

My wife and I live out of state, but we both graduated from UVA.

I don’t think I’ve ever not donated to the school each year since I graduated or gone a week without wearing a piece of Virginia clothing.

I did ask my alumni donation representative for an explanation about the medical school student’s expulsion for questioning the administration a couple of years ago. Besides writing checks and attending games, that is all the school knew about me. Continue reading

A Letter to President Ryan on Jefferson’s Legacy

Lee Habeeb, Law School class of ’91, has given The Jefferson Council permission to republish his letter, first appearing in Newsweek, that we referenced in an earlier TJC post. — JAB

James Ryan
University of Virginia

Dear Jim,

I’m a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, where I spent two of my three years studying the Constitution, property rights, contract law and federalism with you in Charlottesville. We studied important things that our Founding Fathers thought about and debated in the 18th century and that we’re still debating today.

I’ve been reading with great worry about efforts by students and faculty alike to remove the statue of Thomas Jefferson that stands in front of the Rotunda and remove all positive references in official university communications about the man who founded our beloved university. To your credit, you defended Jefferson’s presence. “I do not believe the statue should be removed, nor would I ever approve such an effort,” you wrote in UVa Today not long ago. “As long as I am president, the University of Virginia will not walk away from Thomas Jefferson.” It was a clear statement, but you didn’t go far enough.

Jefferson, to put it plainly, was one of the greatest political visionaries in human history. No less a visionary than Reverend Martin Luther King—himself a flawed man worthy of honor—thought that was true. “Never before in the history of the world has a sociopolitical document expressed in such profound, eloquent and unequivocal language the dignity and the worth of human personality,” King declared on the Fourth of July in 1965 while speaking about the Declaration of Independence. “The American dream reminds us—and we should think about it anew on this Independence Day—that every man is an heir of the legacy of dignity and worth.”

We are all heirs of the work Jefferson and our founders did in the 18th century. But like any inheritance, it’s easy to squander. Continue reading

Letter to President Ryan and the Board of Visitors

August 29, 2022

Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia
President James E Ryan
The University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22904

Dear Members of the Board and President Ryan,

As you know, on August 11 the Editorial Board of the Cavalier Daily published an article entitled: To create “citizen leaders,” U.Va. must do more. The Editorial Board states: “There is a reason why Charlottesville’s local Klu (sic) Klux Klan Chapter hosted its inauguration ceremony at Jefferson’s Monticello tomb. There is a reason why white supremacists gathered with torches around Jefferson’s statue on the north side of the Rotunda. There is a reason why they felt comfortable marching through Grounds. Our physical environment — from statues to building names to Jefferson’s overwhelming presence — exalts people who held the same beliefs as the repugnant white supremacists in attendance at the “Unite the Right” rally. These buildings must be renamed and memorials removed.”

One of the four core pillars of The Jefferson Council is to “preserve the Jefferson Legacy.” This legacy has been under assault continuously since the events of August 2017, events which had absolutely nothing to do with the University, much less Thomas Jefferson. Student leaders on the Student Council and Cavalier Daily have relentlessly conflated the assault on the Lawn by out-of-town racists with the University and Mr. Jefferson. Now in the editorial above, they are clearly calling for the total eradication of Thomas Jefferson from the history of the University he founded. Continue reading