By Steve Haner
The book was one the local librarian chose to display on the new acquisitions shelf, my curiosity was high, and by all accounts some leaders in Virginia’s educational establishment are taken with and listening to the author. So I read Ibram X. Kendi’s “How to Be an Antiracist.”
I will largely let the author, who graduated from Stonewall Jackson High School in Manassas, speak for himself below. It was possible the critics were exaggerating. His own words below indicate otherwise.
I recommend the book to anybody really interested in this ongoing debate. Is this being directly taught to K-12 school children? I doubt it, but maybe. Is it being taught to the next generation of teachers and is it at the heart of much of current in-service teacher training? Apparently. Continue reading
by James A. Bacon
Virginia is now in full-blown panic mode over the Delta variant and the rebound in confirmed COVID-19 cases. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has designated a majority of Virginia localities as “high COVID transmission areas,” and media are reporting outbreaks everywhere from child care centers to summer camps. Cities, universities and employers across the state are enacting mask and vaccination mandates. Governor Ralph Northam is “actively considering” a similar mandate for state employees.
Against this backdrop, a George Mason University law professor, Todd Zywicki, has filed a lawsuit challenging the university’s vaccine mandate. Zywicki contends that he would have gotten vaccinated had he not already contracted and recovered from COVID-19, reports The Washington Post. But his immunologist says he has a strong natural immunity to the virus, as confirmed by positive antibody tests, and he objects to being coerced.
“I would rather rely on the advice of my doctor,” Zywicki said, “than mid-level bureaucrats at Mason who are designing a one-size-fits-all solution.” Continue reading
Mark M. Luellen, vice president for advancement
by James A. Bacon
The upper echelons of the University of Virginia administration are keenly aware that many alumni are unhappy with the hostility toward viewpoints that don’t conform with the dominant leftist culture at the university. As Mark M. Luellen, vice president for advancement acknowledged in a recent dear-colleagues letter, “Many of us have engaged in conversations with constituents concerned about a perceived lack of ideological balance at the University.”
President Jim Ryan recognizes these concerns, Luellen continued, and he wants to ensure the university community that “diverse viewpoints and civil discourse are encouraged.” The letter went on to tout the Statement on Free Expression and Free Inquiry that was approved recently by the Board of Visitors.
As I have observed more than once, however, it’s one thing to propound abstract principles and quite another to put them into practice — especially when new faculty and staff hires are pushing the university’s ideological center of gravity ever further to the left.
Perhaps in expectation of continued skepticism, the President’s Office compiled a list of efforts, outlets and organizations promoting the civil exchange of ideas on the Grounds. Luellen thought it would helpful for the university community to see “the sheer volume of efforts in place to foster an environment where all ideological positions are discussed and evaluated openly.” Continue reading
Source: “Diversity University: DEI Bloat in the Academy”
by James A. Bacon
The University of Virginia and Virginia Tech have the second and fifth largest bureaucracies devoted to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion among 65 large public universities studied by the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Education Policy. UVa has 94 DEI personnel, while Tech has 83, according to Jay P. Greene and James D. Paul in their paper, “Diversity University: DEI Bloat in the Academy.”
In another way of looking at the data, the authors found that UVa has 6.5 DEI staff for every 100 tenured and tenure-track professors. Tech has 5.6 DEI personnel per 100 faculty — compared to 3.4 per 1,000 for the average university. The figures for UVa, Tech and other universities surveyed are conservative in the sense that they do not include positions such as admissions and facilities managers that include DEI as part of their missions.
Based on climate surveys at several universities, the authors found no relationship between the size of the DEI bureaucracies and student satisfaction with their college experience. Continue reading
by Steve Haner
I warned everybody to watch for extraneous issues buried in the new budget bill pending at the special session which starts tomorrow. Who knew that regulating the potential income of student athletes was a vital COVID emergency issue that couldn’t wait for the regular General Assembly meetings in January?
What follows should have been a stand-alone bill, but that would have opened the door to plenty of other issues. Clearly this is a response to the recent court decisions opening this door, and the new NCAA rules on the subject.
Herewith the provision, as it appears in Governor Ralph Northam’s introduced bill:
18.a. That no institution or an agent thereof; athletic association; athletic conference; or other organization with authority over intercollegiate athletics shall:
1. Provide a prospective or current student-athlete with compensation for the use of his or her name, image, or likeness;
2. Prohibit or prevent a student-athlete from earning compensation for the use of his or her name, image, or likeness, except as set forth in this subsection; Continue reading
by Joe Fitzgerald
More than 1 in 9 James Madison University students was infected with Covid-19 during the school year that ended in May. To date, the university has accepted little responsibility for those illnesses or for any associated spread in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.
President Alger and members of the Senior Leadership Team have been predominantly silent about any mistakes the university may have made and what it will do to correct them this year as students return in the midst of the more virulent Delta Variant spread.
The university’s stance a week after classes began last year was “cautious optimism,” according to an email from Alger a few days before in-person classes were canceled. A few weeks later a university spokesperson, not Alger or any senior administrator, told the media, “There’s nothing at blame here except for the virus.”
Silence from the university and from Alger has continued this summer. The university has said it will require students to be vaccinated, but in effect the policy amounts to asking students to tell the university if they aren’t going to be vaccinated. Faculty and staff are explicitly not required to be vaccinated. Continue reading
by James A. Bacon
Once upon a time in a galaxy far far way, it was considered a great honor among 4th-year University of Virginia students to be selected for residence on the Lawn — the architectural heart of the university designed by Thomas Jefferson and now designated a world heritage site. The accommodations were less than luxurious — most memorably, the 47 rooms were not equipped with their own bathrooms. There were offsetting advantages. The rooms had fireplaces, and the University provided a plentiful supply of wood. But living on the Lawn was mainly about status. It conferred recognition of a student’s accomplishments in his or her first three years.
Something is happening at UVa, and I don’t fully understand it. The prestige of a Lawn residency is declining. The trend was made visible last year when a 4th-year woman posted a prominent sign on her door emblazoned with the words “F— UVA” and in subsequent statements dismissing founder Thomas Jefferson as a slave-holder and a rapist. As evidenced by supporting signage on other doors, other Lawn residents shared her sentiments.
But the decline in prestige long precedes that particular expression of animus toward the university granting the honor, and it precedes even the reign of wokeness under current President Jim Ryan. As shown in the table above, submitted by UVa in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by UVa alumnus and Bacon’s Rebellion contributor Walter Smith, applications to live on the Lawn have fallen steadily and precipitously — 37% — over the past five years. Continue reading
by James A. Bacon
Under intense pressure from the Virginia State Board of Community Colleges, the board of the Patrick Henry Community College, named after the founding father, has changed its name to Patrick & Henry Community College. The new name reflects the college’s commitment to Patrick County and Henry County, two of the localities in its service territory… which happened to be named after Patrick Henry.
The issue: Although Henry was renowned as an orator who helped spark the American Revolution, served as Virginia’s first post-colonial governor, and championed individual liberties, he owned slaves.
The Northam administration policy has led to the renaming of other community colleges named after prominent early Virginians whose ownership of slaves or views toward race transgressed the new morality — Lord Fairfax Community College, John Tyler Community College, Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, and Thomas Nelson Community College.
Henry was the only one of the lot who was nationally known and revered. Continue reading
Here follows the transcript of an entirely fictional videoconference between University of Virginia President Jim Ryan and his Executive Cabinet. The author is not intending to be satirical. He is illuminating the issues that any honest effort to implement a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion agenda will encounter. — JAB
by Jon Jewett
President Ryan: I have called this meeting to address the most important problem facing the University today — systemic racism. It is imperative that we make significant progress towards a solution during the 2021-22 academic year. In view of their critical roles in determining how we as a university address this problem, I have asked Greg Roberts, Dean of Admissions, Ian Baucom, Dean of Arts and Sciences. Risa Goluboff, Dean of the Law School, and David Wilkes, Dean of the School of Medicine, to join us.
I trust that by now you have all read Ibram X. Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist. If not, you should. Make that “must.’ Kendi’s basic message can be summed up as “No More Excuses.” We all know that all races are equal. Yet there are huge disparities between whites and blacks in this country, and in this University. Supposedly we have been working to eliminate those disparities at least since the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, but they have barely changed over the last 50 years. What we have been doing has simply not worked, and it is time to recognize that reality. Kevin McDonald, Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Partnerships, will first explain what our goals must be if we are to have an anti-racist university, and then I will call on others to explain how we will achieve those goals. Kevin? Continue reading
by Carmen Villani
At the conclusion of sporting events, the Corps of Cadets, players, and alumni join as one in singing the VMI Doxology. It ends with – “God Bless our team and V-M-I!”
During its nearly 182-year history, the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) has aligned itself with Judeo-Christian values, emphasizing character and servant leadership.
God calls upon us to not be of this world, yet the VMI leadership is making changes to align VMI with the world. Driven by the mantra of “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” “Don’t do ordinary” is on the verge of becoming “We do ordinary.” Continue reading
by Dick Hall-Sizemore
There has been much opposition expressed on this blog regarding UVa, and, by extension, other higher education institutions, requiring students and staff to be vaccinated against COVID as a requirement for attending class in the fall. The policy has been said to be, among other things, unconstitutional.
Not surprisingly, a judge has spoken. Today, a federal district judge ruled in favor of Indiana University in a suit brought challenging that university’s vaccination mandate. The court said, “The Fourteenth Amendment permits Indiana University to pursue a reasonable and due process of vaccination in the legitimate interest of public health for its students, faculty and staff.”
Of course, this is only one judge and it is not unusual for judges in different parts of the country to rule differently on similar points of law. Also, a district court’s ruling is generally applicable only in that district, but the case is likely to have some precedential value elsewhere.
The challengers have vowed to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Charlottesville attorney Charles L. Weber Jr., represented University of Virginia student Morgan Bettinger in legal proceedings involving the University Judiciary Committee, which condemned her for words that allegedly constituted a “risk” to other students. This incident is a case study in how leftist, “anti-racist” students at UVa wield processes and procedures, with the complicity of the administration, to repress free speech and chastise those who offend them. I republish here a letter from Weber to UVa President Jim Ryan asking for redress. We’ll soon find out how sincere Ryan is in his commitment to free speech and expression. — JAB
Dear President Ryan,
I am writing to urge you to correct a grave injustice perpetrated by
the University of Virginia (the University) against a student during this
past academic year.
Morgan Bettinger was unfairly punished by the University
Judiciary Committee (UJC) for speaking words protected by the
Constitution. However, because UJC appeals are limited to process, not
substance, the Judicial Review Board (JRB) concluded that the UJC
decision whether erroneous or not was unreviewable. Continue reading
by Dick Hall-Sizemore
Some people commenting on my recent post regrading the G3 Program for community colleges challenged my characterization of it as being a free community college education for some people. They contended that it really was not free; the student may not have to pay tuition, but the money for the program came from taxpayers. Therefore, it was not free because taxpayers were paying for it. That is a valid argument.
But I am here to tell you that there really is a free state program for some Virginia residents, which I suspect not many people are aware of. If you are at least 60 years old and have lived in Virginia for at least one year, you can take up to three courses per semester in a Virginia institution of higher education and not have to pay any tuition or fees. (Sec. 23.1-639 et seq., Code of Virginia) Continue reading
Stay in step…. Or else.
TO: The President, the College Board, the Faculty, the Staff, and the Constituents of Northern Virginia Community College
FROM: Dr. A Schuhart (DACCE), Professor of English, NVCC-Annandale
RE: Letter of Dissent
After completing the required DEI training, it is clear to me that the claims of this training are a direct expression of Critical Race Theory (CRT). There is also absolutely no question that CRT is a scholarly claim, not an objective truth; therefore, it is a tentative, constructed truth about which individual Faculty may rightly and legally have professional disagreement, and whose construction and communication is governed by principles of academic discourse; and, that among these principles are:
- the individual scholar’s right to determine the truth of any scholarly claim independently,
- and, that truth is created through democratic consensus, and it cannot be imposed through process or force or law without invalidating the claim itself, nor can a scholar be required to enact such a truth against individual belief or conscience without infringing on that right of independent evaluation;
- and, that the majority opinion cannot impose its view upon the minority using institutional process or force or law, and that the principle of Academic Freedom specifically and intentionally protects minority opinion in every scholarly claim;
- and, that these rights are asserted not for the scholar alone, but also for the Citizens in our classes. Continue reading
by Walter Smith
The strangest thing happened the other day. I was asleep, but I swear it wasn’t a dream. I was in Charlottesville, wandering around the University of Virginia Law School! I walked into an auditorium where the law faculty was seated, with UVa President Jim Ryan and law school Dean Risa Goluboff in attendance. Before the professors could chase me out and file a No Trespass Warning, we were suddenly transported, Star Trek-like, to an amphitheater in Athens. Socrates stood before us.
The following discourse took place in Classical Greek, and everyone understood it. Socrates took the floor and began conducting a — you guessed it — Socratic dialogue.
“Is there any limit on a woman’s right to choose,” he asked.
No, nodded the professors in freaky unanimity, the woman’s right to control what happened to her own body was sacrosanct. Pressing on, the great philosopher asked, “what if the baby were due in a month? What if the baby’s head, shoulders and torso had emerged?” Heads bobbed up and down. Yes, it was still the woman’s right to choose.
It was astonishing how up to speed on current events the old man was. He then asked — I’m telling the truth! — “If a woman has the right to control her own body, could Athens require her to get a COVID shot?” Continue reading