Profanity Proliferates on the Lawn

by James A. Bacon

After a resident of the Lawn at the University of Virginia posted signage saying, “Fuck UVa,” outraged alumni raised a stink in a series of letters to UVa President Jim Ryan. For the time being, said Ryan, Lawn residents’ free speech is protected by the First Amendment, but the administration is working on a longer-term solution. In the meantime, at least one other Lawn resident has joined the first in using the same profanity to express his/her/their/zir/its antipathy to the university (in the sign seen at left).

Rob Schilling, a talk radio host at WINA radio in Charlottesville, photographed that sign, as well as several others displayed on Lawn doors, and displayed them on a videocast. (No direct link, but you can find the videocast on The Schilling Show blog.)

The author of these signs had the decency to use asterisks in urging passersby to “wear a f**king mask.”





The Lawn resident here refrained from the use of profanity, but made clear his animus to UVa, declaring that “UVa is a waste of time.” (If the university honored the student by awarding him with a prestigious residence on the Lawn and he feels only contempt in return, perhaps UVa is a waste of time! For sure, something is very, very wrong there.)


The Schilling Show is the only other media outlet in Virginia who is consistently following the UVa controversy. Rob makes his commentary and interviews (including this one with Bert Ellis, the alumnus who sparked the alumni revolt) available on his blog. Check it out.

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33 responses to “Profanity Proliferates on the Lawn

  1. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    I wonder what Larry Sabato thinks about all of this?

  2. We have a doped up president going off the rails and this is what really matters?

  3. I have to agree. I would also disagree with my alma maters, but never felt or saw the need as to how this behavior would really solve the problem that we settled together.

    What it does do is make me say I would never financially or in any other way support UVA.

  4. I laugh when I receive the emails from Tim Sands at VPI asking for money. His leadership has been an embarrassment in my opinion. It’s disgraceful, but a sign of our times, to watch people simultaneously disparage the institutions they’re a part of while still expecting the benefits of that institution. I’m sure these students, once graduated from UVA will expect solid paying careers based on the value that the degree imparts.

  5. I would love to be the interviewer of the students once they graduate and enter the real world. “So, explain to me your self loathing and/or your hatred for the institution you willing attended and paid money to for your education.”
    “How do I know you will do anything different here? Will you sell our proprietor information to our competitor?”

  6. I had a current member of SCHEV ask me to convey a message to Bacon. Please stop giving these people the attention, which is what they crave. Ah, I explained, no set of stories has matched this readership. ‘Tis a symbiosis.

    • The issue runs far deeper than the signs themselves. One must ask, how did these signs come to be? How did these students come to have such a deep loathing for the university? How is it that, despite literally decades of effort to make UVa a more welcoming place for African Americans and apologizing for the past, that race relations have gotten no better, indeed, have gotten worse? The signs are just the entry point to examining those questions.

      The traffic is relevant because it is an indicator that this is an issue that people care about. I’ve been writing about UVa for years and years to little effect. It’s not as if we make money off of clicks — we don’t make a penny. But the off-the-charts traffic tells us that the message is finally resonating.

      • Students didn’t do obnoxious things to irritate “the establishment” 20 years ago, 30 or 40? Maybe not at button-down Yuppie U, which is how I’ve always viewed Mr. Jefferson’s little academical village. The outrage crew is going to have to do more than just swap your links around to each other if they expect anybody to care. I take that bet on resonance. I haven’t discussed this with my Wahoo son but my guess is he isn’t getting worked up, and his opinion is more important than mine.

    • SCHEV has every reason to want the story to die. The more the public sees about what goes on within Higher Education, the less they will want to support it.

      We can either ignore the rot within our institutions, or do something about it. I would encourage the latter. Ignorance only works for limited time.

      • Actually, these kids shouting profanity on the doors of their Lawn rooms, have a strong case against UVa.

        In most cases, UVa. has abused these kids, taken gross advantage of these kids, marked them for life, after setting them up for failure plain for all to see in the public square.

        Meanwhile, UVa. at the expense of the Lawn kids, uses them to signal its own Virtue, claiming to be “Great and Good” University because it takes “disadvantaged” kids in, using a corrupt preference system to admit them into an institution for which most are unprepared, and for that reason mostly are doomed to fail. And everyone knows it, and hides it, to benefit the institution at the expense of the students, including also those who should have been admitted in their place but were rejected instead. So, no wonder these kids are so profoundly angry. They’ve had their future hijacked. No wonder they shout for all to hear: Fuck UVA.

        This is not an idle claim. Studies prove the harm UVa. and other elite universities do these kids day after day, year after year, the famous Yale Law School study more than a decade ago being the prime case in point. Yale hobbled the success of those disadvantaged law school students in that study. Yale shattered the confidence that they otherwise would have grown and multiplied had they not been forced into the major leagues far too early and so set up to fail from the start.

        And, of course, these cynical and corrupt practices by the elite universities, destroy the education of disadvantaged kids all the way down the line of rankings of selective institutions a well, because the kids who should be studying there are all taken into the elite institutions where most fail instead of thrive. Hence selective schools are forced to take in ever more unprepared disadvantaged kids who will fail too, as they are also in over their heads. So everyone loses except the virtue signalers like UVa.’s James Ryan, and his elite bandits.

        For more on this subject see my post at:

        • I don’t know if it applies to the specific students with the signs. but the problem you reference is real. It’s not new, however. Dinesh D’Souza documented this issue extensively decades ago.

          • Reed Fawell 3rd

            Yes, very true. Indeed, these facts have been well known for generations. Recall the time when kids were held back a grade because they were unprepared to absorb the learning required in the next grade, typically through lack of reading skills, and/or requisite achievement over content needed to process, understand, and learn from textbooks at the next grade level. This was and is a good and critically needed best practice. For, to be advanced to the next grade without this critical preparation, would stop these kids’ future learning in its tracks, often resulting in cumulative and sometimes irrevocable loss.

            This rule still applies today but it is ever more often violated with result that significant numbers of illiterates graduate from our public high schools. And many more public high school graduates stopped learning in 8th grade, and have regressed ever since. That is how broken public education is in America Today. As a result more and more and more kids are punished and abused by “progressive education” by reason of their skin color than ever before. This also pulls down the education level and experience for all kids in public school classrooms, irrespective of color. Public education is an ongoing and ever increasing tragedy in America, with fatally flawed social justice and equity policies adding new volatile fuel to the bonfires.

  7. Jim Bacon says “If the university honored the student by awarding him with a prestigious residence on the Lawn and he feels only contempt in return, perhaps UVa is a waste of time! For sure, something is very, very wrong there.”

    Yes, Jim is right.

    The real story here is the overwhelming evidence of poison that has been fed to UVa. students over the past decade. Driving it is an obvious corruption of UVa.’s culture, its curriculum and its instruction of students. As well as the pervasive failure of leaders at UVa, who obviously have not a clue as to how to fix the problem, but only make it worse year after year. How many scandals do we need at UVa. before we wake up to reality in front of our noses?

    The stench coming out of the University of Virginia is now overwhelming. It has poisoned the Grounds, the Lawn, the student body, and indeed the entire community of Charlottesville, a town now of gross dysfunction too.

    Meanwhile, UVa.’s leaders continue their wild spending spree on themselves at the cost and expense of taxpayers and students. The $14 million dollar remodeling of the president’s house, the $60 million dollar renovation of the Rotunda (including board room for Board of Visitors with underground designer cuisine kitchen), and conversion of the Alderman Library into a tech research incubator for private profit is only the tip of an iceberg.

    Plainly now for all to see, UVa. is not “good.” Nor is it”great,” as its president Ryan so shamelessly claims. UVa. is a public disgrace.

    Only a compete housecleaning of UVa. leaders will get UVa. back into the business of providing its students with the education they deserve at a decent cost instead of an indecent indoctrination of its students that does great unnecessary harm to their pocketbook and their future, while it enriches those who run UVa, and their various crony allies.

  8. None of you have much latitude to judge boorish behaviour, even less if you vote for him again. Remember when a cigar was just a smoke?

  9. The second door has a sign “I stand with the farm workers.” Is the University now allowing crops or chicken farming on the lawn?

    Cesar Chavez is most certainly not back from the dead and living on the lawn. Mr. Chavez was a good man who walked the walk.

    This kid never grew up. He/she is in virtue signaling wokeness from school. Go out and do something and get back to us from that Swiss non-profit you are hoping to impress. Pitiful.

    • Kinda neat that future USN ships will be getting their grocery (and ammo) resupply from this USNS ship:

      The student’s rude and crude behavior has as much to do with growing up on social media and perhaps watching The Simpsons, South Park and other crude humor as it does with the school’s virtue signaling curriculum. In my day it was Mad Magazine (as a kid) and Monty Python and George Carlin. The Seven Words You Cannot Say on the Lawn. She has embarrassed herself and the school, but beyond that it means little.

      The outrage that has followed I suspect indicates a disaffection that was already in place. The signs are just a catalyst. Jim, too, in his own way, is shouting F*** UVA. Ok, great, guys — so what next? What do you propose to do to turn the aircraft carrier that is the cultural decline of our age? Nancy Boy is dead on correct that Donald J. Trump is just as much a part of that as some fool undergrad on the UVA Lawn.

      • Here, Steve and I disagree profoundly. Human beings are the ultimate social animals. As a result, our human culture is the most important determinate in our lives. It is the key to our ultimate success or failure, short term, mid term and long term. Our culture, and how we react to it, determines our character, whether it be as a people, a society or as individuals.

        Our culture also shapes our institutions of all sorts and kinds, and how we think, perceive, feel, believe and act, including how we communicate and socialize, mate and bond, find meaning and success, and/or despair and failure. Our culture also determines how we create and destroy, win or lose. How we grow rich, or remain poor, whether and how we educate our children, or keep them in fear and ignorance.

        Simple put, our culture and how it evolves determines our future, it grand scheme along with its fine details, and how we evolve too. Thus our culture and how it evolves constantly restructures our habits and our emotions, our actions and reactions, our ability and/or our inability to cope, to adapt, to cooperate and survive within our constantly changing world, and among our ever changing fellow human beings.

        As mentioned earlier, a good cutting edge primer on this important subject is the newly published book The Weirdest People in the World by Joseph Henrich of Harvard University.

    • Cesar Chavez was indeed a good man. He worked tirelessly to improve pay and working conditions for farm workers. He also understood the principle of supply and demand. He therefore opposed illegal immigration.

      Aside from some part-time work picking apples, I was never a farm worker. I did, however, find that the best way to support myself and save for college by accepting the dirtiest and most miserable work that most others refused to do. It took me 6 long years to save enough money to go to college. When I finally arrived on campus I was older, wiser and very much appreciated the opportunity to be there. I was the first in my family to ever graduate from college and eventually went on to get a master’s degree while working full time – no government grants or student loans.

      As much as I support Higher Education, I honestly think we need to stop subsidizing it. Doing so is ruining Higher Education.

  10. The syrup is too thick to get a really good backslide going guys.

    “And in the 1960’s and 70’s, as Governor of the State of California, Reagan fought the efforts of migrant farm workers to win union contracts, vetoing the Agricultural Labor Relations Act, a bill granting farm workers collective bargaining rights. In one well-publicized episode, then-Governor Reagan appeared on television eating grapes in defiance of a union-sponsored boycott against miserable working conditions in California’s vineyards.”

  11. It’s the cumulative effect of the problems at UVa that tells the real story. From memory:

    UVA experienced a crisis over charges of widespread cheating. Professor of Physics Louis A. Bloomfield, teaching a course on “How Things Work,” applied his own software program-designed to detect plagiarism-to the students in his class, and brought honor committee charges of academic dishonesty against 122 students before the UVA honors committee (almost twice as many charges as had been filed against all UVA students during the prior two years)

    Yeardley Love murdered by her boyfriend, both UVa athletes.

    US Department of Education report finds UVA, “failed to respond in a prompt and equitable manner to many reports of sexual violence that were not filed as formal complaints”

    Morgan Harrington abducted, raped and murdered by Jesse Matthew.

    Hannah Graham abducted, raped and murdered by Jesse Matthew.

    Jesse Matthew was a patient technician at the UVA medical center when the coeds went missing.

    Jesse Matthews, a native of Charlottesville, received a scholarship to Liberty University but was expelled under allegations of rape.

    The false “Jackie” story in Rolling Stone and the subsequent shutdown of all Greek activities at UVa by Teresa Sullivan over a hoax article.

    The Dragas affair.

    The slush fund controversy.

    Internal UVa review finds, “a small number of cases” where “the prospect of a gift appears to have motivated the recruitment of student-athletes.”

    Any one of these things, any two of these things, any three of these things might be chalked up to horrible coincidence. But the constant drumbeat of issues, some truly horrific, at UVa makes on wonder whether there is any effective governance at all at UVa.

    • James Wyatt Whitehead V

      Every school might be able to generate a list of trouble like UVA. I know at VPI we had:
      1. Corrupt Frank Beamer who tolerated athletes that misbehaved. Once the highest salaried employee in the Commonwealth.
      2. Then there is Mike Vick and Marcus Vick. Throw in DeAnglo Hall for fun.
      3. We had a massacre.
      4. The school president warns his family before he warns the rest of the campus about Seung Cho.
      5. We had two students murder an 8th grader in the most bizarre story that included lunch at a Cookout.

      I have to say I am not as proud of the Hokies as I once was.

    • To my mind the biggest scandal at UVa. by far is the university’s willful destruction of the humanities, robbing students of their culture, history, legacy and intellectual inheritance, and their right to learn from it, and so stand up free, independent, aware and confident of their future on graduation, instead of being inculcated with a dead end grievance culture of division, derision, nihilism, entitlement, anger and shame.

  12. Baconator with extra cheese

    UVA should be demolished and the rubble left as a monument to the ultimate act of anti-racism. The endowment should be transferred to Virginia State who follows an actually mission to further the affairs of the BIPOC community.

  13. As appeared in UVa’s Cavalier Daily Opinion section, on October 13, 2020

    “AZHER: Moving beyond free speech — why I say F—k U.Va.
    Conversations about Lawn room posters must move beyond free speech, and towards actual equity and justice for marginalized communities

    By Hira Azher
    October 13, 2020

    I am an undergraduate student at the University of Virginia, and I was recently involved in several debates and controversy over a sign on my Lawn room door, which states “Fuck UVA. UVA Operating Costs – KKKops, Genocide, Slavery, Disability, Black and Brown Life.”

    I want to start off by explaining why I have been hesitant to speak thus far. To be very clear, it is not my job to justify my anger, and I have no obligation to rationalize my expression of that anger simply because it makes those complicit in mine and others’ oppression uncomfortable. As a Muslim woman of color at this University, I am constantly and painstakingly aware that this institution was not made for people like me, and everyday, the University continues to function and uphold white supremacist ideals that makes this very clear for marginalized students all across Grounds. I am aware that the University and the Lawn have always been, and will continue to function as, a space for whiteness in which I will never be fully welcomed. By writing this, I am also aware of how it will continue to endanger me as a student studying and living at the University. I do not write this to create a space for conversation with those that are offended by my expression of anger, including President Jim Ryan, because frankly that is a futile pursuit. I also do not write this as the spokesperson or the representative of these complicated issues. Rather, I write this to recontextualize my sign in a greater history and to push us to think beyond free speech.

    It is undeniable that white supremacy and settler-colonialism are foundational to the University of Virginia. The University was founded by a white supremacist rapist and enslaver on stolen Monacan and Manahoac land and built by enslaved laborers. The University continues to enforce these ideals through its current policing and surveillance, exploitation of students and their labor, harm to the Charlottesville community and constant violence towards Black and Brown lives.

    In my own experience, this violence was enacted upon me most recently through the University’s blatant disregard for my life, health and safety as I lived in a Lawn room that was not at all physically accessible to me. This resulted in weeks during which I was left without a stable home, and constant movement between different housing, that further complicated my injury and compromised my health. Even now, as I recover from surgery, I am forced to live outside of my room because the University still refuses to make this campus safe and accessible.

    I want to be clear that although the University’s disregard for my health was the most pressing concern I had at the time of this sign’s creation, the sign is not limited to this experience or to myself. Rather, this institution’s violence is prevalent from the very first day any Black person, Indigenous person or person of color enters Grounds. The violence within this institution reveals itself when a University Police Department officer waited outside of my door in the middle of the night, endangering me and my neighbors, simply because it had been reported that someone was “offended” by my sign. The violence within this institution reveals itself when Dean Allen Groves forwarded my contact information without my consent to University Police Department Chief, Timothy Longo, a man integral in the continued lack of justice in the murder of Freddie Gray by Baltimore police officers. The violence within this institution reveals itself when a white, male alumnus felt entitled to harass me at my door using a razor blade. The violence within this institution reveals itself when administrators attempt to tone-police and quiet the voice of angry and grieving marginalized students. The violence within this institution reveals itself when the University publicly condemns its students and offers them no protection time and time again. The violence within this institution reveals itself when its president states, “As long as I am president, the University of Virginia will not walk away from Thomas Jefferson.” It is clear that the violence of this institution is constant and all around us — it is this oppression on which we must focus our energy and effort.

    We need to move the conversation beyond the sign and beyond free speech. When I spoke with Jim Ryan prior to his statements, I set three strict boundaries — firstly, he could not simplify and minimize this to a conversation about free speech. Secondly, he could not publicly condemn my sign. Thirdly, he must acknowledge the truth and lived realities of the people who built and were exploited by this University currently and historically. With this knowledge, he chose not to follow any of these boundaries and disregarded my requests, protecting and prioritizing white supremacy over the lives of marginalized students again. It is also apparent that the University’s focus on free speech is intentional and calculated. The University, in the same fashion as white supremacists like Brit Hume, are using this shift of conversation as a tactic to delegitimize the sign and its critiques. Although we are rightfully upset by the threat of our messages being forcefully quieted, we must move the conversation beyond free speech.

    We cannot expect or rely on the University, a force of exploitation and violent oppression, to protect our voices. As the phrase goes, “we will always be too loud for a world not ready to hear us.” …” End Quote.

    For more of this opinion posted in Cavalier Daily see:

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