Category Archives: Education (higher ed)

Kasey Meredith Makes History at VMI

Kasey Meredith made national headlines yesterday when she became the first woman in the Virginia Military Institute’s 182-year history to serve as regimental commander of the Corps of Cadets. She will be responsible to the commandant of cadets for the training, discipline, health, welfare and morale of the corps.

“The great thing about VMI is it pushes you to do what you’re capable of,” Meredith said, according to the Roanoke Times. “I shot for every opportunity that I had. It’s amazing to see the way I’ve grown here.”

VMI is not for snowflakes. That makes it almost unique among all higher-ed institutions in the United States. Meredith, a Navy brat like myself, is planning a career in the U.S. Marine Corps. Thank goodness for VMI. We don’t need snowflakes in the military. We need warriors and leaders.

— JAB

The F*ck Quilt Lady Is W&L’s New College Dean

Chawne Kimber

by James A. Bacon

The University of Virginia had its “F*ck UVa” sign controversy. Brace yourself for Washington & Lee University’s “F*ck quilt” brouhaha.

About ten days ago, W&L announced a new dean of the college, Chawne Kimber, head of the math department and co-director of the STEM education at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania. She will oversee 21 departments and 13 interdisciplinary programs.

“We are fortunate that Chawne will be joining the W&L community to lead the College,” said Lena Hill, the current dean and soon-to-be provost, in a press release. In addition to her academic accomplishments in mathematics, STEM pedagogy, and promoting diversity, Kimber is an “accomplished visual artist.” Her work, presented in galleries and museums across the country and lauded in publications ranging from The Washington Post to Quilting Arts Magazine, uses quilting to explore social justice themes.

Yes, some people call this art.

One of Kimber’s artistic tropes is to “challenge boundaries” by quilting variations on the word f*ck and other profanities. As she says on her quilting blog, “completely cauchy,” “We express our potty-mouths in patchwork using the ultimate in four-letter words.”

It’s not entirely clear from the completely cauchy blog what the philosophical impetus is behind the ornamentation of profanity. Continue reading

Marx, White Moral Panic and a White Liberal’s Rosary

Derrick Bell, the father of Critical Race Theory

by James C. Sherlock

A couple of days ago Dick Sizemore-Hall published CRT and Virginia History here.

Dick is an excellent essayist. That one was the exception that proves the rule.

He indicated early in the more-than-1,500 word piece that he would discuss “the legitimacy of this antagonism regarding CRT.” I actually looked forward to hearing his point of view on that subject.

But he never got around to it.

He may actually have forgotten that was what he set out to do. Instead he recited the history of racism in Virginia from the perspective of a white man from Richmond.

He named me several times. Yet he ignored my well-documented position that CRT-driven educational policies threaten the futures of young black students. He wrote instead that people like me either ignore or deny the history of racism.

That was, of course, a classic straw man fallacy. This one has the singular disadvantages of being false and he has ample reason to know it. Continue reading

VDOE Regulation Officially Nonsensical

Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane

by James C. Sherlock

I am a reasonably experienced and educated man, but sometimes I need help.

I just read the Virginia regulation 8VAC20-23-190. Professional studies requirements for PreK-12, special education, secondary grades 6-12, and adult education endorsements.  

I know, you don’t have to say it.

But anyway, I read it. The full regulation directs how Virginia teacher candidates must be educated. It directs a formal syllabus of 18 or 21 semester hours. VDOE swears that VDOE and the Board of Education wrote it, not the University of Virginia education school, and I take them at their word.

When I was done, I had to go back to Part 5. Classroom and behavior management: 3 semester hours. A key element:

“This area shall address diverse approaches based upon culturally responsive behavioral, cognitive, affective, social and ecological theory and practice.”

Continue reading

The Accounting Fraud Behind the Bloated Student Loan Program

by James A. Bacon

America’s student loan program has turned into a half-trillion dollar government boondoggle, comparable in scope to the savings & loan scandal that rocked the United States in the 1980s and 1990s. Instead of enriching go-go businessmen who gambled hundreds of billions of dollars on real estate, the student loan fiasco has steered hundreds of billions into colleges and universities, subsidizing out-of-control spending and ever-escalating cost of attendance, even while shackling a generation of college kids with debt they can never repay.

Taxpayers could be on the hook for roughly a third of the $1.6 trillion student loan portfolio, according to an analysis performed by Jeff Courtney, a former JP Morgan executive, for former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. The Biden administration has blown off the analysis as biased by DeVos’ conservative political agenda, which all but guarantees that the loan program will not be reformed any time soon. Unfortunately, as a detailed account in the Wall Street Journal explains, the bad loans are metastasizing and the quality of the loan portfolio is deteriorating at an alarming rate.

If one buys into Courtney’s analysis, the student loan program will have a come-to-Jesus moment of clarity and truth-telling eventually. The current trajectory is not fiscally sustainable. If the system is reformed to operate on an actuarially sound basis, it could create a crisis for higher education in America — and Virginia institutions are no exception.

According to State Council of Higher Education for Virginia data, 62% of students graduated from Virginia institutions with four-year bachelor’s degrees in 2017-18 borrowed money. They owed more than $34,000 on average. That doesn’t include those who dropped out before graduating. Continue reading

GMU Cites “Diversity” to Justify Goals for Hiring Nonwhite Staff

GMU President Gregory Washington

by Hans Bader

The president of George Mason University wants to give minorities a big advantage in hiring until the faculty is as heavily minority as the school’s student body and the future, mostly non-white U.S. population. This is illegal, say lawyers and law professors. Indeed, GMU’s president, Gregory Washington, recognized that objection in an April 15 email to the university’s faculty, before saying it wouldn’t stop him from giving minorities a preference in hiring. Washington quoted a professor as saying:

I am concerned about what it really means to hire faculty and staff that ‘reflect the student population.’ The university’s job as an R1 institution is to hire the best faculty and administrators, period. The type of target hiring of minorities proposed through ARIE is both prejudicial and illegal. I would like to have this addressed.

In response, GMU’s president wrote, “If you have two candidates who are both ‘above the bar’ in terms of requirements for a position, but one adds to your diversity and the other does not, then why couldn’t that candidate be better, even if that candidate may not have better credentials than the other candidate? Study after study has proven that the most diverse organizations, which recognize the importance of maintaining a diverse and inclusive environment, are the best performing organizations.” Continue reading

Still Clueless After All These Years

by James A. Bacon

In his latest hit job on the Virginia Military Institute, the Washington Post’s Ian Shapira weaves into his account responses to questions submitted to Governor Ralph Northam in writing. Northam, who served as president of the Honor Court and graduated from the Institute in 1981, comes across as totally clueless.

“I don’t remember seeing racism aimed at Black cadets, but I’m sure it happened,” said Northam, without offering any specifics on how he’s sure. As a cadet, he focused mainly on surviving VMI’s academic and military-training challenges, he said. “I didn’t fully understand how subtle [racism] is. … I had the privilege of not having to see it, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there.”

If the racism was so subtle that Northam didn’t see it, that might be an indication that racism wasn’t as horrendous as he now believes — based largely on Shapira’s portrayal. Either he was clueless then, or he is clueless now. Continue reading

Some College Graduates Will Get Paid to Live in Southwest or Southside Virginia

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

The Tobacco Commission (Virginia Tobacco Region and Revitalization Commission) has come up with a program that does not involve pork-barrel grants.

Two of the problems afflicting the area served by the Commission, Southside and Southwest, are a shortage of people to fill certain jobs and a shortage of young adults putting down roots in the area. Its Talent Attraction Program is designed to address both problems. Under it, young graduates working in certain field can get up to $48,000 in student loans paid off.

The program is open to anyone graduating since 2019 with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Each participant must commit to living in the area for 24 months and working in one of the following areas:

  • Public School Teacher in Science, Math, Technology/Computer Science, or Career and Technical Education (Grades 6-12)
  • Public School Special Education Teacher (K-12)
  • Speech Language Pathologist
  • Physical Therapist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Industrial or Electrical Engineer
  • Information Security, Network, or Computer Systems Analyst

Continue reading

WaPo Reduces VMI to a Black-and-White Morality Tale

by James A. Bacon

The latest blockbuster finding in The Washington Post’s jihad against the Virginia Military Institute: African-American cadets experienced racism four decades ago.

According to interviews with 12 African Americans who attended VMI at the same time as Governor Ralph Northam around 1980, black cadets endured frequent racist insults. They were uncomfortable with the veneration of Confederate general Stonewall Jackson. Some believed blacks were disproportionately harassed in the Ratline, and some said they were discounted for leadership positions because of their race. Two insisted that the Honor Court expelled them for cheating they did not commit.

Some of the anecdotes make for distressing reading. There is value in reminding ourselves what the African-American pioneers of integration at VMI had to endure. My problem is not with the perspectives highlighted by the Post but the perspectives that were ignored because they don’t fit its narrative of persistent and ongoing systemic racism. The country has changed in the past 40 years, but the Post won’t admit it.

Reporter Ian Shapira draws a straight line between the racism of 40 years past and racism at the Institute today. He quotes Darren McDew, who graduated from VMI and became a four-star Air Force General. “I’ve been saddened by what I’ve read about VMI,” he said, “but I am not surprised. No organization is immune from these problems.” Continue reading

UVa in the Age of Covidiocy

by Walter Smith

In late February of 2020 my oldest son traveled to Kansas City to meet with a group of Californians. Upon his return, he felt beat. Attributing his fatigue to work and travel, he soon felt better and came to our house a number of times. Our youngest began to feel poorly. After a couple of days, she visited a “doc in a box” where Flu A and Flu B tests were negative and she was told stay home, rest, and take aspirin and liquids. She missed school Monday and started attending again Tuesday until her world, and everyone’s, turned topsy turvy on March 11, 2020.

In the morass of data collected by the CDC, my daughter’s case is probably classified as ILI – Influenza Like Illness. I am convinced she and my son had COVID and that my wife and I, who have never been affected by seasonal flus, “had” it asymptomatically.

Colored by my personal experience, I don’t put much stock in official COVID statistics. I have been unimpressed by the performance of the “experts” in their management of the epidemic from the federal government on down. The nation has succumbed to what I call Covidiocy, where epidemiology meets the madness of crowds. In particular, I have been disappointed with the response of my alma mater, the University of Virginia, which, as a center of medical science, could have been a voice of reason but was not. Continue reading

UVa’s Crying Game

UVa law school library — trauma site

by Jock Yell0tt

“When Dean Goluboff took the stage to respond, she immediately started crying and was largely incoherent to the audience for much of the first part of her response … ”

Risa Gobuloff, Esq., is Dean of the University of Virginia Law School.

Dean Gobuloff’s crying spate occurred at a Town Hall meeting on Thursday, April 19, 2018, called by the school’s Minority Rights Coalition to discuss the previous day’s emergency.[1]

The emergency was: a man sat in the law library reading up on the law.

Why were law students not warned about this by e-mail alerts?

One “crying, mad, frustrated” student felt “alienated.”

“Today is my 25th birthday,” said another.  “Yesterday my heart was in my stomach, tears streaming.” Continue reading

Racist Nurses Need Indoctrination, Too, UVa Agrees

Milania Harris and Zara Alisa

by Walter Smith

After the widely publicized killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police last year, University of Virginia nursing students Milania Harris and Zara Alisa founded Advocates for Medical Equality. Their mission was to confront bias, bigotry and racism in healthcare. They won a Martin Luther King, Jr., UVA Health System Award for their efforts, and even a got a big splash in UVA Today.

I admire anyone who carves out time from studies and other student pursuits for the goal of making the world a better place. But I do find it ironic that these two ladies won an award named after a man who wanted people to be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin — in this case by creating a program based on measuring outcomes by color of skin.

Moreover, I am not a little dismayed that the administration lauds, and its house organ UVA Today regularly gives a platform to, students, faculty and alumni who excoriate the United States, Virginia, and the university itself for racism while never — and I mean never — profiling members of the university community who might think differently. Continue reading

Centers of Learning… Or Indoctrination?

Three out of five (60%) college students belonging to fraternities and sororities across the country do not feel comfortable publicly disagreeing with a professor, according to a survey by RealClearEducation and Slingshot Strategies. Only two out of five (38%) said they felt comfortable doing so.

Two-third of students said they are hesitant to speak up online, half feel the need to self-censor, and a plurality said their college’s administration would be more likely to punish a speaker for making a statement than defend their right to express their views if a controversy over offensive speech were to occur on campus.

Nearly half (45%) felt pressure for their Greek organizations to be kicked off campus, although a slightly large percentage disagreed.

The survey broke out results for 11 Virginia universities whose students responded to the national survey, and gave letter grades to three for institutions where more than 10 students responded. Because the sample sizes for individual institutions are so small, they may not be representative of the full student population and should be used with great caution. Nevertheless, here they are: Continue reading

More Free-Expression Suppression at Virginia Tech

Kiersten Hening on the soccer field. Photo credit: Virginia Tech athletics

by James A. Bacon

In five years, the United States has gone from a country in which football quarterback Colin Kaepernick fought for the right to kneel during the national anthem into a country where Virginia Tech soccer player Kiersten Hening is fighting for the right to stand.

During their opening match in 2020, women of the Tech women’s soccer team bent the knee during the pregame reading of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s unity pledge, a show of support for the social justice movement and Black Lives Matter. Hening, a 21-year-old native of the Richmond area, and one other player remained standing. Hening says she “supports social justice and believes black lives matter” but “does not support the BLM organization.”

Chugger Adair. Photo credit: Free Lance-Star

During halftime, Coach Chugger Adair berated her for her stance. “He singled her out and verbally attacked her, pointing a finger directly in her face,”  according to a lawsuit Hening subsequently filed. “He denounced Hening for ‘bitching and moaning,’ for being selfish and individualistic, and for ‘doing her own thing,”

Continue reading

Detached, Clueless, Pedantic and Non-Responsive

UVa’s Beta bridge offers a “divergent viewpoint” concerning Young Americans for Freedom

by James C. Sherlock

A series of communications among Nickolaus Cabrera, a first year student at the University of Virginia, President James Ryan of the University and the University’s Rector, James Murray, has come into my possession. 

I have posted them here. I will offer here my assessment, but I urge each reader to access the documents and open the links therein to get a full view of the exchange.

Mr. Cabrera provided President Ryan well-documented evidence of severe personal harassment and threats he had received from members of the University community for his political views. 

  • The evidence included a video of a student council meeting in which any he was harassed directly and profanely for his opinions. 
  • He reports that he subsequently was blocked on Twitter by his Resident Advisor.  
  • He was subjected to a Student Judiciary Committee trial for appearing in a photo off grounds without a mask.  Seriously.  It was clearly the context of the photo that resulted in the SJC trial, not the fact that he was not wearing a mask.  
  • He reported that he gets a ride from members of the local Young Americans for Freedom club from his dorm to class to avoid confrontations. 
  • He provided screenshot evidence of extensive harassment. 
  • He named names and provided direct evidence of their links to his harassment.

One would think that President Ryan, offered this evidence, would have ordered an investigation by University Police leading to banning from the Grounds those found guilty of such harassment.  

Instead, Ryan’s anodyne, non-responsive email reflected his habit when he does not wish to engage.  His opening sentence:

“Thank you for reaching out, and I was sorry to read about your year.”

One could be forgiven for thinking Mr. Cabrera’s cat had died instead of the fact that he so reasonably feared for his personal safety that he was considering a transfer. Continue reading