What Criteria Are We Looking For in University Board Members?


by James A. Bacon

As Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin selects cabinet members and other key members of his administration, he has more pressing concerns to occupy his attention at this moment than replacing board members on Virginia’s public universities whose terms don’t expire until June 30. But as soon he has the opportunity to do so, he needs to give serious thought to the criteria he uses to select the new board members.

I argued recently that Youngkin should look for individuals willing to support academic freedom and oppose the excesses of the “social justice” movement in Virginia’s system of higher education. He needs pugnacious advocates willing to endure controversy, hostility and ostracism to change campus cultures that are evolving into intellectual monocultures harmful to free inquiry, free speech, and free expression.

Since posting that column, I have received feedback from a prominent board member of a Virginia university that I thought was worth sharing. He made the case Virginia has a system in place to take some of the politics out of the selection process. With the caveat that colleges and universities have become so politicized that appointing “non-political” board members itself has the political implication of maintaining the status quo, I think my correspondent has a point. Enthusiasm for reforming a decadent academic culture is not, in and of itself, sufficient to qualify someone for a board seat. Continue reading

New COVID Data Displays

Rates of infection per 100,000 (Jan. 17 through Nov. 20, 2021. Source: Virginia Department of Health

The Virginia Department of Health is now publishing a graph that compares the COVID-19 infection rate by vaccination status. The graph above, based on 2021 data, shows that unvaccinated people have confirmed COVID-19 infections at a rate 4.6 times that of fully vaccinated people and 2.2 times that of partially vaccinated people. Continue reading

Omigod, Omicron Is Coming!

by Kerry Dougherty

I’ve seen this movie before. And I’m not buying a ticket this time.

I’m talking about the latest remake in the theater of the absurd: “A New COVID Variant Is Coming! We’re All Going To Die!”

Fear hustlers managed to spook the stock markets on Friday with panic porn about a variant detected in South Africa among a handful of healthy people being tested for travel.

Naturally the nation’s biggest attention whore, Anthony Fauci, was on the Sunday shows hinting at the possibility that more lockdowns and mandates could be coming. (When he wasn’t weirdly dabbling in politics and bringing up January 6th, that is.)

If there’s one thing public health officials learned during the pandemic it’s that scaring the bejabbers out of the populace is the best way to prepare them to knuckle under and surrender their civil rights. Continue reading

Two Virginia Health Systems In Top Five Nationally for Cost Efficiency

by James C. Sherlock

Becker’s Hospital review reports:

“Lynchburg, Va.-based Centra Health is the most cost-efficient health system in the U.S., according to a ranking from the Lown Institute, a nonpartisan healthcare think tank.”

Also on the list of the top 20 is Inova Health of Falls Church at number 5.  No surprise there. Continue reading

To Get Respect, Show Respect

Khalah Sabbakhan, after her encounter with Richmond police. Photo credit: Daniel Sangjib Min, Richmond Times-Dispatch

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

There are frequent posts on this blog citing the low morale of police officers and officers quitting or retiring as a result. (For one example, see the post from earlier today.) However, for some reason, those posts often fail to report on the continued bad behavior of police.

Early last month, a 45-year old Black woman encountered two white police officers questioning a woman who appeared to be homeless near the Sauer Center in Richmond. (In order to keep the people involved in this incident straight in my narrative, I will refer to the woman being questioned as homeless, although it is not certain that was her status.) The subsequent actions were recorded by the Black woman involved and another eyewitness who started recording after she heard the first woman pleading for help. Continue reading

The Woke Are Coming for Your Doctor

by James C. Sherlock

I just finished reading a profoundly disturbing article by Robert Graboyes, a PhD. economist with deep personal and professional roots in Virginia.

“The Pall of Politics Descends Upon American Medicine”  is published in Discourse Magazine, a publication of  Mercatus Center at George Mason University.  It is subtitled: “A new guidance document for medical professionals emphasizes critical race theory and social justice at the expense of patient care.”

His subject is the 54-page Advancing Health Equity: A Guide to Language, Narrative and Concepts, or AHE, published in October by the American Medical Association and the American Association of Medical Colleges.

AHE is not benign, and is not posited as such.

It instead complements the other frontal assaults on the social fabric coming from the heights of the woke culture. Continue reading

Bacon Bits: Crime and Delusion Edition

Another drive-by, two more dead. Family, friends and community leaders gathered a week ago to remember 14-year-old Rah’quan Logan, who was murdered at a Richmond community store, in a drive-by shooting. Nine-year-old Abduel Bani-Ahmad, whose family owned the store, died in the same incident, in which occupants of an SUV drove past the store and let loose a hail of bullets. The boys’ deaths brought the number of slain in Richmond this year to 82, compared to 75 in 2020, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. JJ Minor, president of the Richmond branch of the NAACP urged fellow Richmonders and parents to take action. “I’m tired of marches, I’m tired of rallies, I’m tired of waiting on government,” he said. “We have to repair the village. We have to rebuild the village.”

Meanwhile, police morale continues to plummet. WTVR News tells of three-year Richmond police veteran Brenda Ruiz, who is calling it quits. She is one of 102 police officers who have either retired, quit or transferred this year, leaving the Richmond Police Department with a 600-person headcount, or 150 short. One issue can be solved easily, should City Council choose to make it a priority: raise police pay. The other problem is not so easy to fix — the lack of respect from local politicians. Amid last year’s social-justice protests and riots,” said Ruiz, “at least two of the City Council members made us look like the bad guys. … A lot of the time our command staff has their hands tied, and they can’t do much for us.” Continue reading

A Speech Notable for Its Banality, Vanity and Hypocrisy

by William L. Respess

“A hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation.”
Adlai Stevenson (1900-1965), former governor of Illinois and twice unsuccessful democratic candidate for president against Dwight Eisenhower.

I assume most persons aware of the turbulent year that the Virginia Military Institute just transited have also informed themselves of the content of Governor Northam’s speech delivered on the evening of November 15 just past. As an alumnus (class 0f 1961), I expected it likely to be as memorable as his now famous (perhaps “notorious is a better descriptor) letter of October 19, 2020, in which he and a cohort of other Virginia Democrat politicians flayed VMI, his alma mater, with the accusation of “our deep concern about the clear and appalling culture of ongoing structural racism” at the Institute. Burdened with that expectation, I thought reading it would propel me into a state of high dudgeon. It didn’t. Instead, I found the speech to be flaccid and unmemorable. Continue reading

White Supremacists Are Pathetic Broke Losers

Mathew Heimbach in front of the Charlottesville courthouse in 2017. Photo credit: AP

by James A. Bacon

The mainstream media portrays white supremacists as an ever-present danger to the republic, and heavy hitters from the New York Times to the Washington Post gave the trial of White nationalist leaders in Charlottesville daily coverage. At last an article has been published that portrays the racists as the broke, pathetic — dare I say “marginalized” — losers that they are.

The Associated Press says that the nine people who sued the organizers of the United the Right rally in 2017 might have won a $26 million judgment, but they aren’t likely to collect much. As the article states, “Most of the defendants claim they will never have the money needed to pay off the judgments against them.”

“I have no assets. I have no property. You can’t get blood from a stone,” said Matthew Heimbach, co-founder of the Traditionalist Worker Party. Heimbach is a single father to two young sons, works at a factory and lives paycheck to paycheck. The plaintiffs, he said, “just wasted $20 million to try and play Whac-a-Mole.” Continue reading

Does Jim Ryan Value Jefferson’s Legacy?

by Walter Smith

University of Virginia President Jim Ryan has stated that, as long as he holds office, the Thomas Jefferson statue in front of the Rotunda will remain in place. UVa’s founder, he says, will not be de-memorialized.

Talk is cheap. When given a golden opportunity to publicize Jefferson’s contribution to religious freedom — the 2019 publication of “Liberty in the Things of God: The Christian Origins of Religious Freedom” — Ryan took a pass. Neither he nor the administration’s propaganda organ, UVA Today (AKA UVA Pravda), have made mention of this important scholarship by Robert Louis Wilken, a UVa professor of the history of Christianity. Continue reading

A Mathematical Impossibility

Image credit: mathwithbaddrawings.com

by James A. Bacon

Someone needs to teach Washington Post reporters basic arithmetic. In an article published today, writers Nick Anderson and Susan Svrluga write how Virginia’s higher-ed institutions face a “racial reckoning.” That reckoning won’t end with the purge of memorials to men who were slaveowners and segregationists, or when memorials are erected to acknowledge the contributions of Americans of African descent. Scrutiny on matters of race, they say, extends to “the chronic underrepresentation of students and faculty of color.”

The WaPo approvingly quotes Michaela R. Hill, president of the Black Student Organization at the College of William & Mary, as saying more needs to be done to promote diversity at W&M. The Black share of enrollment there — about 7% — “does not reflect the state,” where the Black population is 19%. The Black population nationally is 12%.

Write the math-impaired journalists: Continue reading

When Schools Get Long-Haul COVID

School learning mode by state. Ranking of in-person leaning index, 2020/21 school year. Virginia highlighted in red. Source: Burbio’s School Opening Tracker.

by James A. Bacon

“Long haul” COVID is the term used to describe COVID symptoms that persist far beyond the normal four weeks of infection. It seems that Virginia schools are experiencing long-haul COVID, too: maladies that have arisen long after the impact of the original illness — the shutdown of in-person learning — has passed. Like long-haul COVID for people, long-haul COVID for schools often involves symptoms not seen previously.

School districts around the nation are canceling classes for what they call “mental health days” on the grounds that students and staff need breaks to handle the pressure of returning to school, reports the Wall Street Journal.  More than a third of the 8,692 school closures reported this year have occurred in three states: North Carolina, Virginia, and Missouri.

The Journal article specifically cites school systems in Suffolk, Chesapeake and Richmond. Teachers are experiencing burnout, and superintendents are giving them time off to recoup. In large part, the burnout is a consequence of the COVID-driven flight to distance learning in the 2020/21 school year. Virginia public schools had the 7th-lowest rate of in-person learning in the country, by one set of measures in the Burbio K-12 School Opening Tracker and 3rd lowest by another set. Continue reading

Who Decides What Ethnicity You Are?

Mattaponi Tribe member Raven Custalow addresses a gathering in which Tribe members were protesting exclusion from certain tribal matters. Photo credit: Richmond Times-Dispatch.

by James A. Bacon

Jasmine Anderson wants to enroll as a member of Virginia’s Pamunkey Indian Tribe. Her mother is a Pamunkey and Mattaponi, and her father a Chippewa, she says. But she’s been turned down three times, she claims, because her ancestors helped Black people in the 1860s. “It’s flat-out racism,” she claims, according to reports in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Anderson says her family has been excluded from the tribe since an ancestor built a school and church for Blacks following the Civil War. The RTD article traces the discrimination back to the Racial Integrity Act, Jim Crow-era legislation enacted in 1924 that prohibited Whites from intermarrying with Blacks or Native Americans, both of which were classified as “colored.” As if there weren’t enough trouble in the tribal paradise, Mattaponi chief Mark Custalow is being accused by his second cousin, Gloria Custalow, of barring women from voting and tribal leadership.

Both Pamunkey and Mattaponi restrict participation of women in voting, running for tribal leadership, or attending tribal meetings. Free and fair elections would end sex discrimination in tribal enrollment, contend tribal dissidents. (The tribal chiefs are not quoted in the article, so we don’t know their side of the controversy.)

What’s the big deal? Why has this become an issue now? Good Lord, there are only 200 or so members of the Pamunkey tribe and 300 enrolled members of the Mattaponi. Both tribes maintain small reservations on the Middle Peninsula north of the James River, but only a fraction of tribal members live on the reservations. Why is it not sufficient to “self-identify” as a Pamunkey or a Mattaponi and follow tribal traditions? Why the need to enroll? Continue reading

Allyn Walker and ODU to Part Ways

by Kerry Dougherty

It’s official.

Allyn Walker, the Old Dominion University assistant professor who wants to normalize perceptions about pedophilia is out at ODU. Or rather, Walker will be out at the conclusion of the spring semester, when the professor’s contract expires.

Walker was placed on administrative leave earlier this month when an interview of the professor’s bizarre attitude toward pedophiles went viral.

In the meantime, the professor who uses the pronouns “they/them” and prefers to call pedophiles “minor-attracted people” will remain on leave and continue to draw an ODU paycheck.

This delay may do little to staunch the national outrage over the repulsive positions this professor has taken towards perverts who are sexually aroused by children. Continue reading

Happy Thanksgiving from Bacon’s Rebellion

Photo credit: Today