Tag Archives: James A. Bacon

In Their Own Words: Lanice Avery

Editor’s Note: To document the spread of “wokeness” — short-hand to describe the philosophy of intersectional oppression — The Jefferson Council has begun publishing profiles of University of Virginia faculty members in their own words. Not our words. Not our spin. Not our interpretation. Their words. — JAB 

Assistant Professor Lanice Avery has a joint appointment to the departments of Psychology and Women, Gender & Sexuality at the University of Virginia. Her research interests, she says on her university profile page, lie at “the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and media.” In her LinkedIn page, she describes herself as a “board-certified sexologist.” This semester she is teaching one course, on Black feminist theory.

In this post we highlight her work in her own words, both in writing and on video. (We have highlighted key phrases to show how her work conforms to the intersectional-oppression paradigm, commonly referred to as wokeness, that is increasingly prevalent at UVA.) From Avery’s university web profile:

She is interested in Black women’s intersectional identity development and how the negotiation of dominant gender ideologies and gendered racial stereotypes are associated with adverse psychological and sexual health outcomes…. Her work examines how exposure to gendered racism impacts Black women’s psycho-social development, and the contributing role of media (mainstream, digital, and social) use on Black women’s identity, self-esteem, victimization experiences, and mental health outcomes.

Continue reading

What Do We Make of the VCU-Qatar Connection?

A new report from the National Association of Scholars explores the entanglements between American universities and Qatar, a small state on the Persian Gulf known as the home of the Al Jazeera news network and a haven for Hamas leadership and other assorted radical Islamists. Qatar has emerged as a top foreign funder of American universities, investing more than $4 billion between 2001 and 2021. Virginia Commonwealth University, the first American university to establish an overseas campus in the country, has been one of the biggest beneficiaries, receiving more than $103 million.

University leaders say their Qatari campuses help spread Western values in the conservative Middle Eastern country, which is ruled by an authoritarian, semi-constitutional monarchy, according to the NAS paper. But one might ask the reverse: what influence, if any, does Qatari money exert on VCU? Continue reading

The Purge Comes for Edwin Alderman

by James A. Bacon

As President of the University of Virginia between 1904 and 1931, Edwin Anderson Alderman led Thomas Jefferson’s university into the 20th century. A self-proclaimed “progressive” of the Woodrow Wilson stamp, he advocated higher taxes to support public education, admitted the first women into UVA graduate programs, boosted enrollment and faculty hiring, established the university’s endowment, reformed governance and gave UVA its modern organizational structure. Most memorably to Wahoos of the current era, he built a state-of-the-art facility, named Alderman Library in his honor, to further the pursuit of knowledge.

Like many other “progressives” of the era, Alderman also promoted the science (now known to be a pseudo-science) of eugenics, and he held racist views that  have been roundly rejected in the 21st century.

A movement has burgeoned at UVA to remove Alderman’s name from the library. The Ryan administration was poised in December to ask for Board of Visitors approval to take that step by renaming the newly-renovated facility after former President Edgar Shannon. The administration withdrew the proposal after determining it did not have a majority vote. But Team Ryan could resurrect the name change at the February/March meeting of the Board, as suggested in the flier seen above. Continue reading

Boomergeddon Countdown: Ten Years… Nine…

by James A. Bacon

The last time the United States had a serious conversation about deficit spending and the accumulating national debt was in 2010 with the publication of the Simpson-Bowles study. (That’s about the same time I wrote Boomergeddon, predicting that the United States had 20 to 30 years before the fiscal wheels fell off the bus.) After the usual tut-tutting, and Republicans blaming Democrats, and Democrats blaming Republicans, nothing was done. Indeed, in the following era of artificially low interest rates that made deficit spending seem painless, Congress, successive presidents, and the media ignored the issue and deficits ballooned.

Now the national debt exceeds $34 trillion, the debt-to-GDP ratio exceeds 100%, the structural budget deficit is running between $1 trillion and $2 trillion annually, and it will be only a decade before the Social Security Trust fund runs out and sparks a fiscal/political crisis. Political polarization is even worse today than it was during the Obama presidency. Democrats and Republicans accuse one another of sabotaging democracy, and trust in our institutions has reached an all-time low. It’s as if the captain and the executive officer of the Titanic were fighting for control of the vessel, rolling on the deck trying to gouge each others’ eyes out, even as its prow dips below the icy waters.

Meanwhile, there is no cognizance in the political rhetoric here in Virginia of the fiscal perils to come. The Commonwealth is required by its state constitution to balance its budget, and the state has managed to retain its AAA bond rating, so we are not as wildly profligate as some other states. I suppose there will be some temporary comfort in the thought that we were not the first to plunge into ungovernable anarchy when the federal government fails. But that comfort likely won’t last long. Continue reading

Scott Surovell’s End Run Around Jason Miyares

Sen. Scott Surovell

by James A. Bacon

The battle for control of higher-ed institutions in Virginia is boiling over into the state legislature. Senator Scott Surovell, D-Mount Vernon, has submitted a bill, SB 506, that would allow Virginia’s public universities to hire their own legal counsel in place of lawyers answering to the Attorney General.

The bill would give governing boards of every institution authority over the hiring of “outside legal counsel, the oversight and management of any legal counsel, and the appointment of a general counsel to serve as the chief legal officer of the institution.”

Attorney General Jason Miyares

Public universities are classified as state agencies. Like other state agencies, their legal interests are represented by counsel that reports to the Office of Attorney General.

The underlying political conflict is who controls Virginia’s colleges and universities. The issue surfaced last year when former Bowdoin University President Clayton Rose addressed the University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors and suggested that board members owe their primary loyalty to the institution, not their personal agendas. He received pushback from two board members appointed by Governor Glenn Youngkin who argued that the duty of board members is to represent the interests of the Commonwealth of Virginia, not the institution itself. Continue reading

Looking More Like New Jersey Every Day

by James A. Bacon

I’ve frequently made the observation that Virginia has been leaking population through domestic migration. However, as recent data published by Old Dominion University’s Strome College of Business make clear, the loss of population through domestic migration is more than offset by net international migration. Between April 1, 2020, and June 30, 2022, Virginia lost nearly 30,000 people through domestic migration, but gained nearly 53,000 through international migration.

That data (shown in the table above) and more can be found in ODU’s 2023 State of the Commonwealth report on Virginia’s economy.

Perhaps the most interesting data tell us the states where people are coming from and the states where Virginians are going to. As can be seen in the tables below, people moving to Virginia in 2021 came mainly from the northeast — New Jersey is at the top of the list — and they’re moving mainly to southern states. Continue reading

The Most Woke Universities in Virginia

“Woke” as rendered by Bing Image Creator.

by James A. Bacon

Borrowing a methodology from a Harvard computer science prof, Jay Greene and Mike Gonzales with The Heritage Foundation have calculated a wokeness ranking for Virginia’s public universities: the number of times “social justice” appears in a university’s course catalog.

Measured by the absolute number of “social justice” mentions, James Madison University is the most woke (72 references), followed by George Mason University (59), and Virginia Commonwealth University (53).

Some universities offer far more courses than others, however, so Greene and Gonzalez introduce another measure: a ratio of courses that mention “social justice” versus courses that mention “Constitution.” Continue reading

Virginia’s New, Post-Covid Population Growth Reality

by James A. Bacon

Population growth patterns are shifting within Virginia. So far during the current decade, Virginia’s two largest metropolitan areas — Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads — have been losing population due to net migration (more people moving out than moving in). The trend, evident before the Covid epidemic, became more pronounced during and after.

Meanwhile, Richmond has emerged as the state’s new in- migration growth leader. And in an encouraging turnabout, Virginia’s smaller metros (collectively) and rural localities (collectively) have been gaining population through in-migration as well, according to analysis by Hamilton Lombard at the Demographics Research Group of the University of Virginia. Continue reading

Bacon Meme of the Week

What Do You Do If There Are No Statues Left to Tear Down?

Can of worms

Step #1: Reinterpret the Confederate statues;

Step #2: Remove the Confederate statues from the public square;

Step #3: Prevent those who want the statues from having them. Decapitate the statues, melt them down, or desecrate them in art and museum displays.

What’s left? Where else is there to go?

Step #4: Take away tax-exempt status from a prominent organization dedicated to preserving the statues.

SB517 and HB 568 would eliminate the exemption from state recordation taxes for the Virginia Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) as well as the tax exemption for real and personal property owned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The House Bill passed the House Finance Committee in a 12 to 10 (presumably party-line) vote. Continue reading

“Enacting Racial Change by Design”

by James A. Bacon

The backlash against Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in higher-ed and the corporate world may be gathering momentum across the country, but the University of Virginia is rolling out a new DEI initiative oblivious to the shift in the national mood.

UVA’s College of Arts & Sciences has launched a program this semester entitled, “Enacting Racial Change by Design.” Participating faculty will discuss chapters from the book, From Equity Talk to Equity Walk to deepen understanding of “systematic racial inequity in higher education.” Participants will be able to apply for $1,000 grants to implement DEI-related projects.

The rhetoric of the memo announcing the initiative is disconnected from the national conversation now underway. The program shows not the slightest inkling that critics of DEI need be acknowledged much less engaged in dialogue. U.S. Supreme Court ruling on race in admissions? Resignation of the presidents of Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania? Helloooo? Anyone home?

This is what happens when an academic elite is captive to DEI dogma and there is not enough diversity of thought for anyone to push back.

Here follows the memo: Continue reading

Covid vs. Religious Freedom at UVA

by James A. Bacon

The University of Virginia has paid more than $1.8 million in legal fees fighting a lawsuit filed by UVA Health employees who were fired, despite religious objections, for refusing to take the Covid vaccine. And that’s just through November. Given the continuing litigation, billing has likely passed the $2 million mark.

Eleven former employees filed a lawsuit a year ago, claiming that the $3 billion-a-year-in-revenues health system arbitrarily declined to grant them religious exemptions from the vaccine mandate.

Hunton Andrews Kurth is the lead law firm for UVA, charging between $600 and $900 per hour for legal services and racking up $1.52 million in charges through November, according to documents The Jefferson Council has acquired through the Freedom of Information Act. Eckert Seamons has charged $240,000, and IslerDare $70,000. Continue reading

Birth Dearth Portends Continued Public School Enrollment Losses

The Demographics Research Group at the University of Virginia Projects significant erosion in public school enrollment in Virginia through 2030 — the effect of a seemingly permanent Covid-prompted loss of some 40,000 students to private schools and home schooling, combined with a shrinking birthrate that was evident before the Covid epidemic. Hamilton Lombard has the story here.

To see a map showing gainers and losers, read on…. Continue reading

The War Over Robert E. Lee Never Ends

by James A. Bacon

First they came for the equestrian statues of Robert E. Lee.

Then they removed his name from Lee Chapel at Washington & Lee University, where he is buried.

Then they came for the memorial to his horse Traveller.

Now they want to remove him from Virginia license plates.

A bill introduced by Del. Candi King, D-Woodbridge would direct the Department of Motor Vehicles to prohibit the issuance of license plates that make reference to the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, or any other prominent Confederate leader. Continue reading

Look What UVA Is Hiding

by James A. Bacon

Acting on behalf of The Jefferson Council, Walter Smith has filed a complaint in Henrico County against the University of Virginia, seeking a remedy for its refusal to supply documents under the Freedom of Information Act. Smith serves in a volunteer capacity as chair of the Council’s research committee.

The suit alleges 14 instances in which the University’s FOIA staff improperly denied emails and other documents to the Council. Smith’s FOIA requests asked for documents that would shed light on the inner workings of the University’s administrative decision-making process.

The cases highlighted in the complaint illustrate two main themes. First, UVA’s FOIA lawyers have stretched the presidential “working papers” exemption beyond its original intent of protecting the university president’s personal deliberations. Second, the lawyers did not apply privacy protections to Bert Ellis, a Board of Visitors member who was widely perceived as a threat to the university status quo.

“UVa’s FOIA process seems designed to delay and discourage and deny inquiries that may be embarrassing to the Ryan administration,” said Smith. “The administration says it’s all for open inquiry. These are matters of legitimate interest to the public. It seems hypocritical to hide so much.” Continue reading