Your Alumni Association Dollars at Work

by James A. Bacon

Above is an ad that The Jefferson Council submitted to run in the University of Virginia Alumni Society publication, Virginia. Before I tell you the fate that befell this ad, please take a moment to read it, and then ask yourself: is there anything political about it? Is there anything contentious about it? Is there anything inaccurate about it?

Sure, you might disagree with the thrust of the ad. Maybe you think, as many people at UVa do, that Jefferson deserves to be remembered in history as a slave-holding rapist. But, really, do you find anything objectionable about the facts, the quotes or the tenor of the presentation?

Now, you might think that the association representing the alumni of the university that Jefferson founded might be willing to publish a paid ad defending his reputation. And you would be wrong. Continue reading

The Stakes are High in Reform of Higher Education

by James C. Sherlock

I exposed in detail yesterday the ironclad control of the University of Virginia by the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) bureaucracy at that school.

Maoist-like insistence on radical progressive ideological purity is overseen there by the Red Guards of DEI in every school in the university. To claim otherwise is to insult them and their publicly expressed cause.

The Washington Post yesterday ran a relatively balanced article on Florida’s plans to remake its state institutions of higher education to restore academic freedom and viewpoint diversity. It is The Washington Post — it led with the positions of the left — but got around to the positions of conservatives more quickly than usual.

DeSantis has said he wants to prevent the state’s colleges and universities … from developing “intellectually repressive environments.”

For a fully developed intellectually repressive environment he should see the University of Virginia.

In Florida and nationally, the screams and rending of garments from the left have been as predictable as the sunrise. Continue reading

A Mean-Spirited Amendment

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

The 2021 General Assembly passed legislation that made students who fall into the “DACA” category (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), sometimes called the “Dreamers,” eligible for in-state tuition at Virginia institutions of higher education.

To be eligible for in-state tuition regardless of citizenship or immigration status, an applying student must have:

  1. Attended high school in Virginia for at least two years;
  2. Graduated from high school on or after July 1, 2008; and
  3. Filed Virginia income tax returns ( by the student or parents) for at least two years prior to the college application date.

Out of the funding provided for financial aid to students in higher education institutions in the budget bill it adopted, the General Assembly earmarked $5 million each year for DACA students.

Governor Youngkin submitted a budget amendment that “redirected” that funding to financial assistance for students attending Virginia’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Those institutions would be Virginia State in Petersburg and Norfolk State in Norfolk. Continue reading

A More Politically Diverse Board for VMI

by James A. Bacon

Governor Glenn Youngkin’s board-of-visitors appointments to the University of Virginia and the Virginia Community College System are bound to shake up the status quo, as Bacon’s Rebellion has documented in earlier posts today. His designation of four new members to the Virginia Military Institute Board of Visitors could generate controversy as well.

The outgoing VMI board is the one that presided when former Governor Ralph Northam evicted former Superintendent J.H. Binford Peay III, replaced him with the current Superintendent, Cedric Wins, stood silent (or expressed support) when The Washington Post and a Northam-appointed investigation maligned the military academy as systemically racist, and approved a series of measures to undo the alleged racism.

The big question is this: How hard will new board members fight to preserve what dissident alumni refer to as threats to core VMI institutions such as the Honor Code and the Rat Line? The answer to that question may hinge on whether the Wins administration is actually implementing policies hostile to free expression and bedrock values.

The appointees include: Continue reading

UVa’s Invasive, Ubiquitous DEI Program, Its President and the New Board of Visitors

UVa President James Ryan Courtesy of the University

by James C. Sherlock

As a public service and a primer for new UVa Board of Visitors members, I will offer here a brief summary of the extent and costs in dollars, time, distraction and suppression of debate by the University’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program.

Put briefly, they are everywhere, overseeing everything at the University.

On that subject, Victor David Hanson has written:

At a time of impending recession, runaway inflation, and climbing interest rates, universities are charging students thousands of dollars in increased tuition and fees to subsidize an unproductive diversity, equity, and inclusion industry. And like all good commissariats, the DEI apparatchiks produce no research, do no teaching, and bully and repress those who do.

Their chief legacy is the millions of opportunistic mediocrities emerging from the shadows to mouth wokester shibboleths about climate change, diversity, equity, and inclusion, identity politics, and transgenderism, while damning the customs, traditions, history, and values of a prior society that alone is responsible for their very affluence and leisure.

A harsh critique, certainly. Perhaps it does not apply to the DEI program at the University of Virginia.

It is up to the Board of Visitors to examine whether Mr. Hanson’s description accurately describes that program and, if so, to make changes.

I will offer here a brief and assuredly incomplete accounting of that DEI bureaucracy and its hold on UVa’s President to let readers get an idea of both its scope and its penetration of the University. Continue reading

The Pandemic Was an Educational Catastrophe. We Have to Come Together.

by Andrew Rotherham

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin asked me to serve on the Virginia Board of Education, and I accepted the honor. Public service and trying to leave things better than you found them is why I do this work. I think the governor and his team, which includes seasoned and proven education professionals like Aimee Guidera, Jillian Balow, and McKenzie Snow, can improve outcomes for students in our commonwealth — as ample evidence indicates we urgently need to do.

I’m grateful for the governor’s confidence in me to help lead positive policy changes, particularly around accountability and transparency. Our commonwealth is blessed with hardworking educators, caring parents, and enthusiastic students. At the same time, we allow substantial gaps in achievement between various groups of students and overall performance that is not what Virginians expect, or what students, parents, and educators deserve. Continue reading

Bringing New Ideas to Education

Grace Creasey, executive director of the Virginia Council for Private Education

by Chris Braunlich

One of the challenges in public education – in any bureaucracy, public or private — is the tendency to establish an “echo chamber” of ideas.

In public schools, this reinforces the loudest voices and makes it hard for creative educators or an informed citizenry to burst through with new ideas.

In recent years, the Virginia Board of Education typified that problem. With five of nine members having spent most, if not all, of their careers in the public education echo chamber – as teachers, principals, professors, or superintendents – it typified Terry McAuliffe’s offensive declaration in the 2021 campaign that parents shouldn’t have a voice in their child’s education.

Suparna Dutta, Educators for Glenn

But it wasn’t always that way. When I served on the Board of Education, only two appointees had spent their entire careers as public-school employees … and that assumes you include an engineering professor at a state university. Previous Boards also included a diverse group.

In an era of pandemic shutdowns and declining standards, the time has come for the Board to give new approaches a look. The appointment of five new members of the State Board of Education by Governor Glenn Youngkin starts a return in balance to previous compositions, and his appointees are a diverse group of thought leaders. Continue reading

Youngkin Breaks VCCS Stonewalling Over New Chancellor — Ivan Drago Style

by Shaun Kenney

After a months-long standoff between the Governor’s Office and the Virginia Community Colleges Board over the appointment of a new chancellor, Glenn Youngkin had to break the impasse in a tersely worded letter.

“Virginia has the opportunity to lead the nation, and we need a Chancellor that will take us there. As we start a new fiscal year on July 1st, I earnestly ask you to fully commit to this challenge and opportunity,” Youngkin wrote. “Transformation is hard work-this takes time, energy, focus, and commitment. If for any reason you feel like you cannot commit to this mission, I will accept your resignation by June 30 with gratitude for your service.”

Rather than resign, the VCCS chose to allow the Governor’s Office to appoint a non-voting member to the board.  From WRIC in Richmond: Continue reading

UVa Board Meetings Should Get a Lot More Interesting

Bert Ellis

by James A. Bacon

Governor Glenn Youngkin has announced his appointments to the boards of visitors of Virginia’s colleges and universities, at least one of which has the potential to be highly consequential — Bert Ellis, a serial entrepreneur and major donor, at the University of Virginia.

Ellis has been a prominent critic of UVa’s leftward drift under President Jim Ryan. He is president of The Jefferson Council, an alumni organization formed a year and a half ago to preserve free speech, promote intellectual diversity, protect the legacy of Thomas Jefferson, and preserve the dignity of the Jefferson-designed “academical village” centered on the Rotunda and Lawn. (Full disclosure: I am vice president-communications of The Jefferson Council.)

The current board has provided little pushback to Ryan’s policies. Rector Whitt Clement has worked behind the scenes to blunt the worst excesses, but he avoids confrontation. His personal style is to be a conciliator. He has achieved some success on free-speech issues, but has been powerless to halt more fundamental changes in university culture.

In an update to Jefferson Council members in December, Ellis noted approvingly that Governor Glenn Youngkin, Lt. Governor Winsome Sears and Attorney General Jason Miyares were are all interested in “re-focusing UVA and other colleges and K-12 schools in Virginia on educating students and not brainwashing them with the Woke/CRT/DEI mantras that have overtaken UVA and almost all other colleges and K-12 schools in Virginia and across our country.” Continue reading

Impact of Supremes’ Roe v. Wade Ruling Way Overstated

Photo credit: Netblogpro

by Ken Reid

Should Governor Glenn Youngkin succeed in getting the Virginia General Assembly to curb abortion in Virginia from 25 weeks of pregnancy (at present) to 15, some 97% of abortions will still be protected, according to 2019 stats from the  Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

In addition, in six of the eight states which had pre-Roe v. Wade abortion bans, which have now become law again, an overwhelming majority of abortions will continue because abortion drugs (like Mifeprex – generic, mifepristone) –- cannot be outlawed. The only state with a trigger law where only 39% of abortions would continue is Missouri, based on data from the CDC.

In two states, Ohio and Texas, which have enacted restrictions after six weeks of pregnancy, CDC data indicates abortion through Mifeprex could conceivably cover 62% and 80% of abortions in those states, respectively.

About 54% of all abortions in 2019 were by abortion drugs, not surgery. Not all 1st trimester abortions can be done via drug, but the numbers are increasing and I will explain shortly why the states can do little about it.

I covered the drug and device industry for the trade press for 35 years, so I have some expertise here. Since the Supreme Court overturn of Roe was leaked in early May, I have written several articles, including a letter in The Washington Post,  about how this decision is really a wash for both sides – but these facts have not entered the news cycle or TV punditry. You can read one of these articles here.

Here are my arguments: Continue reading

Virginia Strategic Imperatives: Train and Retain More Teachers and Nurses

A Major Opportunity

by James C. Sherlock

Governor Glenn Youngkin wants to make a lasting difference in Virginia. He wants to leave it better than he found it.

In the years I have been writing about healthcare and education in Virginia, there is a recurring theme in both fields: not enough practitioners; specifically, registered nurses and teachers.

I will not in this article try to dissect the specifics of each shortfall, other than to say each is growing and reaching crisis proportions simultaneously in both professions.

This is, rather, a plea to the Youngkin administration and the General Assembly to turn their focus to dealing with those shortfalls. If they do not, a lot of the things  they are doing will be lost in the carnage of the failures of the healthcare and education systems.

Without education, there is no economic future. Without competent healthcare, there will be no future at all for many.

In both cases, the approaches must raise incentives and reduce disincentives. Continue reading

African-Americans the Main Victims of Virginia Crime Wave


by James A. Bacon

The Virginia State Police has published its 2021 Crime in Virginia report, and the big news — that homicides and violent crime continued their two-year surge — seemed not to pique much interest in the mainstream media. To be sure, the television stations, where crime news is a staple, and the Virginia Mercury did give the report perfunctory notice, so give those outlets some credit. But the majors — The Washington Post, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Virginian-Pilot, and Virginia Public Media — ignored it altogether.

Here is the data released yesterday that Virginia’s organs of “social justice” propaganda have not deemed important enough for same-day coverage:

  • 562 homicides were reported in 2021, up from 528 the previous year, and 428 the year before that.
  • 17,993 violent crimes of all types were reported in 2021, up from 16,823 the previous year, and 15,713 the year before that.

Virginia, like the nation, is in the grip of a violent crime wave, even as changes in laws and law-enforcement policy have cut the number of drug-related arrests by half over two years. Remarkably, despite the media’s obsession with finding racial disparities in all walks of life, no outlet — not one — has taken note of the disparities in the race of the assault and homicide victims. Continue reading

Prosecutors Who Won’t Do Their Jobs

by Kerry Dougherty

Two local prosecutors just earned an A in both Fearmongering 101 and Grandstanding 101.

Ramon Fatehi of Norfolk and Stephanie Morales of Portsmouth used the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe V Wade to summon the press and draw attention to, well, themselves.

The duo pronounced themselves “horrified” that the highest court would allow states to pass their own abortion laws — let’s give them each an F in Federalism 101 — and used the court decision to declare that they would not prosecute abortion crimes if the General Assembly passes new laws.

“Prosecuting those cases is directly contrary to my responsibility to keep people here in Norfolk safe and alive and I simply will not — I won’t allow the Republicans’ extremist agenda to put blood on my hands,” Fatehi told The Virginian-Pilot. “I will not aid and abet their endangering of people who are pregnant and who seek to end their pregnancies.”

Love the way this woke prosector used the idiotic “people who are pregnant” descriptor when he could have said “women.” Guess he’s seeking the men-can-have-babies vote in the next election. And his mention of keeping Norfolkians “alive” is rich in irony, given the topic. Continue reading

Virginia Law, Abortion, Expectant Mothers and Medical Professionals

by James C. Sherlock

To clarify for those who misunderstand or knowingly misrepresent the statements of Republican leaders in the General Assembly concerning a new law on abortion, a woman aborting her unborn child is not proposed to be the subject of legal sanctions.

The targets in the mainstream Republican proposals being developed for a new abortion law will be the licenses of those performing the procedure.

Under current Virginia state law, abortion is legal in the first and second trimesters, or up to 26 weeks of pregnancy. It is allowed in the third trimester only if the woman’s life or mental or physical health is in danger.

Governor Youngkin told The Washington Post he would like the cutoff to be 15 or 20 weeks. He told the Post that he would support exceptions for rape, incest and when the mother’s life is in danger.

He has asked state senators Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico, and Steve Newman, R-Forest, and delegates Kathy Byron, R-Lynchburg, and Margaret Ransone, R-Kinsale, to craft the legislation.

Dr. Siobhan Dunnavant, MD is an Obstetrics & Gynecology Specialist in Richmond. Senator Newman, R-Lynchburg, said in an interview with WTOP radio:

The state licensing process is most likely the best way to go about enforcement.

Indeed, it is the only politically viable way. Continue reading

Can Dominion Be Made To Stand Behind Promises?

Perhaps the biggest weather risk to the performance of Dominion’s planned offshore wind project. In all the briefs about mitigating risk, the word hurricane appears once.

by Steve Haner

First published this morning by the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy. Second of two articles.

In promoting its proposed Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project, Dominion Energy Virginia has made many specific projections about its costs and performance. The State Corporation Commission is now being advised to convert one or more of them into binding promises, with financial consequences for the utility and its shareholders if the 176 turbines fail to meet expectations.

As noted in previous discussions, including part one yesterday, Dominion’s 2.6 million Virginia customers are fully exposed to any additional costs created if the construction schedule falters, if material costs explode, tax credits disappear, or if the amount of energy provided over the next 25-30 years fails to meet targets. As also previously reported, no other similar project on the U.S. East Coast is structured to put full risk on customers.

Virginia’s General Assembly created it that way. Many of the groups now offering advice on protecting consumers were supporting the bill at the time. But under the “better late than never” rule, their ideas now are worth exploring. The Commission had asked for this advice and got several responses in briefs filed June 24.

The most common suggestion is to create a performance guarantee built around what is called the capacity factor. Even the best power plants do not operate at full capacity 24/7/365. The actual power output divided by the full output potential produces a percentage “capacity factor.” In its application and in hearing testimony, Dominion stated its two-turbine CVOW demonstration project achieved a 47% capacity factor. For this much larger project and longer time period the company projected 42%. Continue reading