Tag Archives: Letters

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

UVa: Cemetery Not Woke Enough

To: Bert Ellis

My thanks to you for your valuable time and effort to save what we know and love about UVa. Here’s another example of Wahoo Wokeism gone wild. Please help Trula and me if and when you can.

Twenty years ago Trula and I paid for the creation of a self-guided tour brochure for the very historic UVa Cemetery which has been re-printed three times over the years. This self-guided tour brochure has been available to visitors from all-weather dispensers at each cemetery entrance. Today those dispensers are EMPTY. Why is that? Because the UVa Cemetery Committee ruled we could NO LONGER give them away because they do not tell the story of slaves buried OUTSIDE THE WALLS OF THE CEMETERY.

Because of our not telling the story of the burial of slaves outside of cemetery walls all over the world, we must stop educating students about the past accomplishments of those buried within the walls! This is flagrant wokeism and cancel culture which must be CRUSHED. Continue reading

In Defense of Jefferson… and Free Speech

The following letter was sent by The Jefferson Council to the UVA Alumni Association Board of Managers.

Dear Board Member and fellow Wahoo,

We are writing to make sure you are aware of the recent action taken by the Alumni Association to reject our proposed advertisement in the forthcoming issue of the Virginia Magazine. We believe this action is totally improper, is inconsistent with the spirit of our Alumni Association, is in violation of the recently adopted Statement of the Committee on Free Expression and Free Inquiry, and is legally in violation of our First Amendment rights.

As some background, if you are not acquainted with the Jefferson Council, we are a quickly growing group of UVA alumni, students and faculty who are dedicated to preserving the legacy of Thomas Jefferson, the integrity of the Lawn, the vibrancy of the Honor Code and insuring the existence of intellectual diversity on Grounds.

We had an introductory full page ad in the last edition of the Magazine: Continue reading

Hey, TJC, Fight the Jefferson-Paternity Lie!

The most blatant example of activity at UVA initiated by politically motivated faculty, especially in the history department and in the alumni magazine, is the lie that says Jefferson fathered Sally Heming’s children. After months of study, it is clear to me that this lie is bogus and is repeated purely to prove how slaves were mistreated. Promulgation of this lie has blackened Jefferson’s reputation and has led to calls to “cancel” his memory.

I have watched The Jefferson Council attack not very significant happenings at the University from people with the same kind of motivations while ignoring the biggest travesty of all. You seem to be pursuing capillaries while ignoring the hemorrhaging of the  main artery. Continue reading

Open Letter to Lily West

Double click on image to see legible version of the ad.

Letter from Jefferson Council board member Joel Gardner to Lily West, president of the University of Virginia Alumni Association, Richard Gard, editor of the alumni association magazine Virginia, Whitt Clement, rector of the Board of Visitors, and the university counsel:

As a Board member of the Jefferson Council and a member of the University’s Committee on Free Expression and Free Inquiry, I was astonished and appalled to learn of the Alumni Association’s decision to reject and cancel the Jefferson Council’s most recent submission for an ad in the next edition of the alumni magazine (found above). This decision to blatantly silence the Jefferson Council’s attempt to open a fair and open dialogue throughout the University community concerning the efforts to discredit and vilify our illustrious founder is particularly poignant on the eve of the celebration of Mr. Jefferson’s greatest triumph–our Declaration of Independence.

This striking affront to our freedom of expression is particularly meaningful to me, as I just returned from a three day trip to Philadelphia with my Canadian born and raised wife to visit the foundations of our great and unique republic–the existence of which is so much attributable to our founder Mr. Jefferson. Without his efforts, it is doubtful that our country would exist in the form that it does today–and I realize that there is a good chance I would not be here presently, my ancestors probably having been eliminated by the forces of the Tsar, Hitler or Stalin. Continue reading