The Daily Progress Recaps UVA Antisemitism Controversy

by James A. Bacon

The Daily Progress, Charlottesville’s daily newspaper, has published a balanced report about the controversy swirling around antisemitism at the University of Virginia. Followers of this blog will find most of the narrative familiar. What we find refreshing is reporter Emily Hemphill’s willingness to explore all sides of the issue without slanting the story — a throwback to the journalism of yore.

There are a couple of points worth noting. First, to reconstruct events, Hemphill made ample use of the video footage of the February-March Board of Visitors meeting archived by the Jefferson Council. State law requires UVA to livestream the meeting, but not to archive it. UVA has declined to provide that basic element of transparency and accountability. The Jefferson Council recently begun archiving that footage as a public service, and it is gratifying to see the media using it already.

Further, the Daily Progress pursues an angle to the ongoing antisemitism story that we have not fully reported: UVA officialdom’s thin-skinned response to a truck with LED billboards that displayed messages that Rector Robert Hardie was “unfit to lead UVa” and should “resign now.”

Reported the DP:

University spokeswoman Bethanie Glover told The Daily Progress in a prepared statement that the billboard’s message was “false and offensive” and that the school is working to uncover who hired the truck.

Hemphill found that Charlottesville police are ignoring the incident. “We are not investigating that because there’s nothing to investigate,” Charlottesville Police Chief Michael Kochis told the newspaper. “From what I can see, it’s somebody expressing their First Amendment rights. There’s no crime to investigate.”

UVA’s Glover, Hemphill continued, maintained that the university is looking into the matter, regardless of whether a crime occurred. “We certainly are interested in the question of who paid to display false information on the side of an anonymous truck and drive circles around Grounds, as anyone would be,” she said.

Joel Nied, a Virginia Beach attorney and father of a Jewish student at UVA, contrasted UVA’s determination to get to the bottom of the digital displays to what he describes as half-hearted efforts to investigate multiple incidents of antisemitism on the Grounds.

“It’s just a truck rolling around on a public space, isn’t that free speech?” he asked. “This is clearly a condemnation for something that’s happening on a public street. I don’t agree or disagree with what the truck said, but how come the university condemns this?”

For the record, the Jefferson Council did not hire the truck, nor do we know the identity of the person or persons who did.

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Walter smith
Walter smith
1 month ago

UVA owns all the sand on the beach and wonders who threw a handful of it at the Rector?
The horrors!
How does UVA spend the annual distributions from the $14 billion of affiliated foundations? We can’t know because UVA claims the foundations are independent. I think that is debatable for what would be an expensive legal argument, essentially equivalent to “piercing the corporate veil,” but make no mistake – the Ryan admin controls the foundations. And the foundations would be throwing off about $700 million EACH YEAR.
How much does UVA spend exporting DEI throughout Central Va? We aren’t allowed to see.
The hypocrisy and thin-skinnedness from the “unequivocal” supporters of free speech is pretty delicious.
Did UVA investigate the slime jobs on Bert Ellis? Who funded all that? UVA kept quiet there…I think because UVA (Ryan) wanted him defeated. All for free speech until somebody disagrees with Jim!
As to the article – not bad. Two criticisms – the characterization of “the razor” and “crossing state lines” and alleging Ellis threatened the student – that was the hyped up version to censure Bert Ellis as a danger to student safety. Totally bogus. And don’t forget, UVA had “ambassadors” protect the sign. Why not protect the truck? Asking for a friend…
Point 2 – the sign was not on a “dorm” room. It was on The Lawn – what was understood to be an honor and is a World Heritage site and is visited by people all over the world. The immature Ms. Asher has the right to express her opinions, just not that manner, there. It was rude. It was crude. It was undignified. It was disrespectful to all the visitors. It violated her lease terms. And, ironically, she was objecting to something that UVA handled correctly (it is possible for me to agree with some actions UVA takes).

Wahoo 76
Wahoo 76
1 month ago
Reply to  Walter smith

Spot on, Walter!

1 month ago
Reply to  Wahoo 76

Spot off, Walter, as usual!

walter smith
walter smith
1 month ago
Reply to  Student

Come on “Student” – you can do better than that! Try actual substantive argument to make your point.
I don’t think the other 24,999 “students” are learning how to do that either.
Indoctrination (UVA is good at that) vs education (UVA seems to be falling there)

1 month ago

When a university or any institution, including government, goes all in as to promoting social justice at the expense of truth it is inevitable that amongst the grievance groups so created there will come a time when there will be frictions amongst those groups. The powers that be are then faced with weighing which side to line up with as the options chosen will impact their ability to stay in power. Power which ultimately depends on money which is essential to keeping all the grievance groups under tight control inside “the big tent.”

An analogous and obvious example of this, of course, the current Democrat Party. UVA a microcosm of the very same. The chickens thus have now come home to roost on an insane model which cannot handle truth and resorts to dispensing with and avoiding truth in any way possible, including seeking to hide(a la Ryan and Hardie) from the public view, in a glaringly obvious attempt to avoid the truth.

UVA being an institution founded on truth, and which for past generations more consistently espoused a central intention as to pursuing truth, now finds itself caught in a predictble and obvious cognitive dissonance which results in equivocation and a breakdown as to employing decisive leadership. All coupled now with an intransigence hoping desperately that it will all blow over and be forgotten.

Except that now a red line that has been crossed by Ryan et al in terms of being silent in the face of an egregious loss of student personal safety in the face of which no loving parent can stand by silent. Whether Jewish or otherwise. Those other parents knowing full well if it is tolerated as to Jewish students it is only a matter of time as to their own.

This is an inflection point in UVA history and a seminal moment which demands action. Ryan and Full Stop Rector Hardie are now the face of failure as to UVA governance. The ball is now in the hands of Governor Youngkin as to the appointment of BOV members who will in contrast to Ryan and Hardie act decisively and who will follow through as to ensuring the personal safety of not just Jewish but all students.

A new leadership is mandatory which will steer the University back to a pursuit of truth and away from the obvious current failed experiment of social justice, DEI, queer theory(yes, many are unaware of its presence and no, it is not about gay), and, underlying it all, the Marxism which has served to infect the intellectual health of the UVA community as evidenced by all the student anxiety and depression rampant now on Grounds.

If anyone should doubt what I write then perhaps consider the ubiquitous use of strong psychoactive drugs which in a healthy intellectual environment should never be necessary. The only prescription needed is a return to the pursuit of Truth as Jefferson zeroed in on from his very first thought in envisioning our University.