What Would TJ Say… About Disruptions on the Grounds?

UVA student, circa 1853

by James A. Bacon

Pro-Palestinian demonstrations have morphed from rallies and teach-ins into a new form of protest — tent-city encampments. These disruptive gatherings are spreading to college campuses around the country; some have turned violent and resulted in widespread arrests.

In an interview with The Cavalier Daily after a peaceful “die in” protest a week ago, Josh Rosenberg, president of the UVA chapter of the Students for Justice in Palestine, said the group might amp up its tactics. Stated the CD: “Rosenberg said he hopes to engage in more visible forms of protest, including sitting in on administrative processes or even occupying space on Grounds for longer periods of time.”

We don’t know what Rosenberg means by sit-ins and occupations, but such tactics sound potentially disruptive, and they might well call for a firm response from the administration. President Jim Ryan could find himself forced to choose between appeasing vocal pro-Palestinian militants or alienating University alumni appalled by spreading antisemitism.

Perhaps Ryan could draw spine-stiffening inspiration from the University’s founder Thomas Jefferson, who dealt with student riots in 1825.

As much as one might deplore students’ behavior today, it was worse 200 years ago. Students were inclined to mayhem, many carried firearms, and they adjudicated perceived slights to their honor with duels. On October 24, 1825, student dissatisfaction with 5:30 a.m. lectures, long semesters, short vacations, restrictions on drinking, smoking and gambling, and the presence of European faculty erupted into a riot. Disorder degenerated into fist fights, the throwing of bricks and bottles of urine, and the thrashing of one professor with a cane.

The historical record makes note of student riots in Harvard as well, so UVA was hardly unique. But the misbehavior conflicted sorely with the 82-year-old Jefferson’s ideal of a university dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. He assembled a disciplinary committee that included not only himself but James Madison and James Monroe — most likely the only judiciary comprised of three former presidents. So distraught was Jefferson that when he tried to speak, he broke down in tears. Eventually, 14 students came forward to confess their misdeeds.

Jefferson knew that disruptive behavior could not be tolerated — and he didn’t allow it. Whatever the substance of the students’ grievances, their manner of seeking redress was wrong. Jefferson stood his ground.

In a time of campus turmoil today, UVA’s founder remains a worthy role model.

2.3 6 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

8 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
walter smith
walter smith
21 days ago

Jefferson’s tears were real.
This would be President Ryan…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTEXVT8P354

Clarity77
Clarity77
18 days ago

Jefferson himself was physically attacked in the early evening by students who mistook him in the dimming light for a faculty member. One can understand his sadness to the point of tears at being personally subjected to such behavior after he had worked so hard to establish opportunity and the prospect for a much better future for students and citizens of the fledgling nation in contrast to the circumstances surrounding the time and age when he was a student at W&M.

Contrasting those UVA students of that time to present day, the key difference was that unlike today there were not faculty teaching students to be disruptive in the name of social justice. It must be pointed out that the core origin of this current disgusting behavior is in the indoctrination by way of leftist Marxist faculty, which were nonexistent then but ubiquitous now on Grounds. And are further present day given free rein and encouraged by Ryan’s cabal.

If there were any such professors present back then Jefferson and the other founding fathers would have acted swiftly to remove such as they would act as adults to so ensure the safety of all students. They would do so without the need for a BOV to step in.

Today at UVA it is obvious we do not have adults in charge starting with Ryan and it therefore behooves the BOV to step in as adults, deal with this feckless administration and then remove all aspects of woke Marxist DEI, including faculty who so promote the carrying out of this despicable behavior in their classrooms.

The students, alumni and citizens of the Commonwealth are not being served well at all by the current Ryan administration nor by the faculty that bear fault and guilt for promoting this present day foolishness and lack of safety for students. Absolutely unacceptable!

Jim Kovalchick
Jim Kovalchick
18 days ago

So, instead of sitting on his hands waiting for confrontation, Ryan should make a clear statement that occupation style and other disruptive protests are not going to be acceptable now and in the future. He should make it very clear that the consequences will be severe with respect to status as a UVA student and in addition, violators will be prosecuted within the bounds of the law. First amendment rights do not cover what’s happening on campuses around the country, and they wouldn’t cover the same types of actions on the UVA grounds. By waiting and not saying anything now, Ryan is leaving it open to the rabble that it may be acceptable. He needs to realize that deterrence is better than letting it happen.

Walter smith
Walter smith
18 days ago
Reply to  Jim Kovalchick

By design.
If the Commonwealth’s Attorney just enforced the mask laws, Heather Heyer might be alive. UVA hides behind the current mask law violations by saying it talked with the Commonwealth’s Attorney and he would not enforce the mask law, so UVA will do nothing because he won’t. All of the conduct codes require compliance with all laws, but there is apparently an exception written in white ink on white paper that if you are being an “and good” citizen of the world (code for Neo-Marxist), you can break the mask laws, you can break the immigration laws, you can ignore the Supreme Court decision on race-based admissions policies…

Clarity77
Clarity77
18 days ago
Reply to  Jim Kovalchick

I met with Jerry Baliles and John Jeffries in Madison Hall on the very first day Ryan showed up for work in 2018. I expressed to both of them that what I had observed and heard at seminars around Grounds was not conducive to reason as Jefferson envisioned but rather to hate and emotion based thinking. I predicted that if they did not address this issue that students would once again come for them in Madison Hall just as the income inequality activists had done to John Casteen when they barricaded and held him hostage for over 2 days.
Their response. Crickets.

None of these leftist democrat presidents at either UVA or any of the other campuses has had the courage to enforce policies to ensure student safety let alone their own safety. Total cowards.

Which leads me to accept as fact what former Maryland Representative Donna Edwards, a democrat herself, stated as a member of the completely leftist panel Larry assembled for his 50th celebration which I attended in which she affirmed, “when it comes to democrats I have always maintained they are fear minded, half glass full bedwetters!”

They have all acted to create the very conditions they now find themselves in which is to gather under the “big democratic tent” all the grievance groups who predictably will end up sure enough at some point fighting each other. Insane useful Marxist idiots all who have at this point even pushed out of the tent any vestige of reason based liberal minded democrats that might save them from themselves. They are unable to reason but rather to spew hate, ultimately at each other as we are witnessing.

And so the chickens have come home to roost. When will the adults show up and step in? The institutions are vital to our nation’s future and the well being of its citizens as Jefferson and the Founding Fathers envisioned.

wahoowa
wahoowa
17 days ago

I think we should follow the example of the brave soldiers who were in Kent State on May 4, 1970 and end this once and for all.

Joseph Andrew Miller BA '70
Joseph Andrew Miller BA '70
15 days ago

I would suggest President Jim Ryan take a page out of former President Shannon’s playbook from the May Days of 1970. Joel B. Gardner’s book From Rebel Yell to Revolution pages 191-224. I was fortunate to be at graduation on the Lawn on the 7th of June 1970 after myself seeing and experiencing first hand the events set forth therein by fellow classmate Joel. J