Is It Even Possible to Get More Lopsided Than This?

by James A. Bacon

Two years ago, University of Virginia President Jim Ryan issued remarks outlining his vision for making UVa an institution that is both “great” and “good.” In his view, a critical strategy for achieving that goal was recruiting and retaining the “best people,” whether students faculty, or staff.

“To do this we must – absolutely must – be a community that is diverse, inclusive, and equitable,” he said. “Diverse because talent exists all around the globe and within every demographic, and because the very best ideas emerge from the consideration of diverse viewpoints and perspectives.”

UVa had ceased being an institution that valued politically “diverse viewpoints and perspectives” years before Ryan came on board. But while he has made modest progress in boosting the demographic diversity of the institution during his first four years in office, he has done nothing to help expand the range and diversity of thought.

To the contrary, Ryan’s signature initiatives will assuredly squeeze out whatever remnants of viewpoint diversity might remain. On matters of social justice — the most consuming controversies of our day — UVa is fast approaching the intellectual diversity of 15th-century Spain under Grand Inquisitor Tomas de Torquemada. Call it “Inquisition Lite” — heretics aren’t burned at the stake.

My collaborator Walter Smith compiled the data in the chart atop this post from Federal Election Commission (FEC) data. The chart compares the campaign contributions from faculty, staff and anyone else listing the University of Virginia as their employer for the presidential elections of 2012 (Obama/Romney), 2016 (Trump/Clinton), and 2020 (Biden/Trump). He classified donations to campaigns and PACs by partisan affiliation (omitting only a few that he could not identify). Note: the statistics reflect the number of donations, not donors;  some donors contributed multiple times.

By this measure, the partisan leaning of the UVa community is breathtaking: 28-to-one Democrats over Republicans in 2012, 58-to-one in 2016, and almost 27-to-one in 2020.

The lopsided nature of political contributions is a relatively recent phenomenon. Smith’s reckoning showed much more partisan balance in earlier elections. Also, in fairness to UVa, there is nothing unique about Mr. Jefferson’s University. Smith’s calculations showed comparably skewed ratios at Virginia Tech, James Madison University, and the College of William & Mary, all of which are buffeted by the same prevailing ideologies and trends as UVa. (The least lopsided of the institutions he examined was Washington & Lee University, where 15% or so of donations went to Republican candidates and PACs.)

There is roughly zero chance that the ratio of contributions at UVa will change. Under the banner of “diversity, equity & inclusion,” Ryan has implemented the so-called “Inclusive Excellence” framework in which job applicants and employees undergoing annual job reviews are required to write “diversity statements” describing their commitment to diversity, equity & inclusion. Furthermore, employees of many departments must undergo “training” sessions in which employees undergo self-analysis and self-criticism for their privilege and racism.

It is far from sufficient for a faculty member or employee to declare a vision of a color-blind society in which everyone is judged by the content of their character. Such a view, according to DEI orthodoxy, is now deemed racist, sexist, homophobic, etc., as the case may be, for individuals’ failure to acknowledge their own complicity in perpetuating systems of oppression and for their failure to embrace “anti-racism,” “anti-sexism,” etc. to overturn those systems.

Scholars and staffs who do not share the social-justice paradigm face the choice about lying about their views and mouthing DEI pieties or revealing their heresy and being punished accordingly. The academic culture at UVa, as it is at many universities, is so hostile to conservative values and thought that few conservatives would think of pursuing an academic career. The diversity-statement litmus test will assuredly filter out the few who are intrepid enough to try.

The Baby Boomer generation of faculty and staff enjoyed some intellectual diversity, but as that generation of tenure-protected scholars retires, the new generation that replaces it at UVa will be a monoculture as pure as Torquemada’s Catholic Church.

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20 responses to “Is It Even Possible to Get More Lopsided Than This?”

  1. walter smith Avatar
    walter smith

    Here is UVA’s non-discrimination language – available on its website –
    The University of Virginia (“UVA”) does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, military status (which includes active duty service members, reserve service members, and dependents), national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, pregnancy (including childbirth and related conditions), race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status, and family medical or genetic information, in its programs and activities as required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Governor’s Executive Order Number One (2018), and other applicable statutes and University policies.
    Unlike many other schools, UVA’s statement does include “political affiliation.”
    Is this not per se evidence of illegal discrimination?

    1. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner

      Now an entire faculty committee will be created to ferret out and punish the miscreants giving the wrong way…They’ll be shocked how many checks went to Republicans.

      1. walter smith Avatar
        walter smith

        That is already in progress with the forced DEI statement in the peer review process.
        6% contributions to evil Republicans! Process them outta here!

  2. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    Gosh, how McCarthyesque. You know, ya might get some dirt if you interview their kids.

  3. DJRippert Avatar

    The worm is turning against educrats like those at UVa. I read that the voters of SanFrancisco just recalled three progressive school board members for being too focused on racial justice to the exclusion of … you know … doing their actual jobs. SanFrancisco?

    Must be all those White Supremacists living the City of SanFrancisco.

    How long until there is a house cleaning at UVa?

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      somehow, I don’t think you’ll like how it ultimately turns out! 😉 not what you think!

  4. Eric the half a troll Avatar
    Eric the half a troll

    28-1 in 2012 to 27-1 in 2020? Seems pretty flat… what’s the big deal? Are you saying that there is something wrong with liberals donating to Democrats? You acknowledged that there is nothing new about liberals being drawn to academia. Another piece of JAB searching for victimhood.

    1. We’ve got to give credit where credit is due.

      ‘Eric the half-a-troll’ scores a point for statistical analysis.
      Or should that be a half-point?


      Seriously Mr. B, if the ratio is not increasing then you’re holding your own, right?

      1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
        Eric the half a troll

        I’ll take half points all day long… 😂🤣😂. One could argue thing got significantly better from JAB’s perspective between 2016 and 2020. I wonder what the numbers are between 2017 and 2021….??

  5. Having a difficult time understanding what is wrong with being anti-racist. I would rather be anti than pro. So is there really a middle ground here?

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      nope. not here…

    2. Intentional obtuseness is not your forte – perhaps you should leave it to the professionals.

      1. Granted some people can take it too far but really only a very few on the alt-right claim to be in favor of racism. It is not like someone is a quarter racist on their pappy’s side. Some of those grousing about CRT are at the same time espousing WRT. Why don’t you spell out your concerns?

        1. Matt Adams Avatar

          “VaNavVet WayneS • an hour ago
          Granted some people can take it too far but really only a very few on the alt-right claim to be in favor of racism. It is not like someone is a quarter racist on their pappy’s side. Some of those grousing about CRT are at the same time espousing WRT. Why don’t you spell out your concerns?”

          When you assign a political side to “racist” you don’t know what racists really are. Therefore you again proving Wayne’s point.

          1. The alt-right is not a political side. It is the place you find white supremacists, Qanon believers and the like mingling on the dark web. These groups have taken claim to the term alt-right. Many of them are non-political and care about WRT above all else. Hundreds of them marched in Charlottesville at the “unite the right” rally. Just this weekend white males greeted the Howard Univ. women’s lacrosse team with chants of “if its not white, its not right” along with the “N” word.

          2. Matt Adams Avatar


            It’s you assigning bigoted beliefs to a single side of a political spectrum IOT demonize your opponents. Despite your notions otherwise, extremist exist on both ends of the spectrum, and bigoted behavior is exhibited by both sides of the spectrum.

            White supremacists speak for white supremacists, they are bigots. Stop trying to plan guilt by association games, it’s intellectually dishonest.

  6. James McCarthy Avatar
    James McCarthy

    Two screedy monologues on the state or lack thereof of conservatism at UVA!! If only Pat Robertson were the head of all VA higher education!! Whatever became of the classic conservatism of WF Buckley theorizing racism like the dictatorship of the proletariat will wither away?

    1. Matt Adams Avatar

      “Whatever became of the classic conservatism of WF Buckley theorizing racism like the dictatorship of the proletariat will wither away”

      If you’re only going to review Buckley’s work based upon his early opinions, it is only right that Byrd be judged upon his affiliation and not his recant. Both are intellectually dishonest and only methods to score political points.

      1. James McCarthy Avatar
        James McCarthy

        Perfekt example of an attempt at political equivalency. That is intellectually dishonest with a score of zero in all sectors. Try answering the question.

        1. Matt Adams Avatar

          You didn’t pose a question, you make a politically tinged statement meant to be derogatory regarding a single side, without reflect upon the side in which you align.

          That’s called being intellectually dishonest, which is clearly a term you’re not acquainted with.

          “Intellectual dishonesty is a failure to apply standards of rational evaluation that one is aware of, usually in a self-serving fashion. If one judges others more critically than oneself, that is intellectually dishonest. “

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