President Ryan’s Ship Has Hit the Shoals

by James C. Sherlock

This is the Nov 16, 4:35 p.m. update to my highly controversial article on the failures of the University of Virginia to act against the alleged killer of three students before the crime.

I was too gentle with the leadership of the University, my alma mater, in that article. I wrote that the University had taken grossly inadequate and counterintuitive actions ahead of the shootings.

I gave them too much credit.

They took no action at all. Only claimed they did under the heat of questions.

According to a report in The Washington Post on the evening of Nov. 15, the statement that the University put out earlier that the Threat Assessment Team (TAT) had “escalated the case (of the shooter Mr. Jones) for disciplinary action” was not true. It blamed the oversight on an “inadvertent mixup.”

Seems they had meant to refer the case to the student-run judiciary committee. Which is used to assigning sanctions like the writing of essays.

It is Dr. Ryan’s ship.

He failed in his duty to lead. The members of the TAT failed in their statutory duties assigned under Virginia law after the Virginia Tech massacre.

He set the tone, assigned a DEI member to the TAT to oversee their actions, and they followed his path.

And a disturbed young man was free to kill those three other young men and grievously wound two others. Who were on a University bus. Returning from a play.

Victims as much of the culture wars and profound incompetence in the University leadership as they were of the shooter.

Seriously. The TAT “meant” to refer him to the judiciary committee.

  • Even the University spokesman “emphasized that student disciplinary proceedings must protect due process and can customarily take weeks or months.” (Actually, judiciary committee median and mean case processing times were each 93 days in the past year.)
  • The judiciary committee is authorized to investigate and adjudicate alleged violations of the University’s Standards of Conduct.
  • Its big cases in the past year have focused on fraternities serving food to guests during rush and violations of COVID policy.
  • The individual sanctions awarded in their cases in the past year included writing essays, attending required presentations, meeting with dean or advisor, community service and one academic suspension. But they awarded probation and suspension to the fraternities.

And this is the “disciplinary process” to which the TAT “neglected” to refer Mr. Jones. The University testified to a judge three years ago that the TAT had banned a student from the Grounds for four years for a verbal dispute with a faculty member about a political issue.

They knew about the shooter’s off-Grounds gun conviction, confrontations on Grounds, referral for allegedly carrying a gun, history of emotional instability in high school, and refusal to cooperate with the TAT’s investigation. And they referred him to the judiciary committee. Yesterday.

The University of Virginia is being run by fools so woke that they got three young men killed. Now this foolish and sloppy attempt at a coverup.

Resign, President Ryan.

It is the only way you can apologize and mean it.

Update Nov 17 at 7:15 AM.

Dr. Ryan, in a video message to the community, announced last evening that there will be an outside investigation into whether the University did enough to prevent this tragedy.  That is necessary, and will take many months.

We know what they did not do that it was their statutory responsibility to do.  And have an excellent idea of why they did not do it.  For the same reason they initially lied about it.

The iron grip of the DEI bureaucracy that Dr. Ryan has put in place at UVa killed those three terrific young men as surely as the shooter’s bullets.

The shooter would not never have been on that bus – or on the Grounds – if the TAT had done the job with which it is charged in Virginia law. That panel would have banned him from the Grounds in a minute, as they have done before and certainly should have in this case, if he had been White.  

Now three young, supremely gifted young Black men are dead. And another is unlikely ever to see the light of day except from a prison exercise yard.

Where is the equity in that?

As an alumnus, I have called for Ryan’s resignation. I expect the Board to fire him if he does not resign.

Update Nov 17 at 7:45 AM

The statement below tweeted by the owner of a Virginia gun shop indicates that if the University in its TAT investigation had done a simple background check on the shooter, it would have turned up his failed and then successful attempts to purchase firearms in the records of the Virginia State Police.

Update November 17 at 9:30 AM.

Virginia law requires:

“The governing board of each public institution of higher education shall establish a threat assessment team that includes members from law enforcement, mental health professionals, representatives of student affairs and human resources, and, if available, college or university counsel.”

It says nothing about DEI personnel.  That was an ad hoc assignment from University leadership.

It was not clear to me that the investigators would have the inclination to investigate and call out the DEI bureaucracy membership on the TAT as a contributing factor in the shooter’s case.

Or ask why DEI was even given a seat on that panel.

They will now.