On March 20, 2022, The Cavalier Daily student newspaper trumpeted the fact that the University of Virginia set a record low acceptance rate, offering slots to only 9,534 applicants, or 19% of the nearly 51,000 total. Of particular note, 52% of the offers went to “students of color” — up from 41% the prior year.
Only a little more than half of students who get accepted to UVa wind up enrolling there, so it’s not known what the ultimate composition of the entering class will be. But it is possible that entering first-year students will comprise the first class in which a majority of students are comprised of racial/ethnic minorities.
That would be no accident. In 2020, UVa recruited a vice provost of admissions, Stephen Farmer, whose most heralded accomplishment at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill had been setting records for recruiting first-generation students and students from underrepresented minorities. At the time, UVa’s Racial Equity Task Force had recently articulated the goal of building a student body that “reflects the racial and economic demographics of the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
An analysis of acceptance numbers, provided by the University of Virginia and summarized in the table above, shows that UVa admissions this year clearly favor African-Americans, in-state students, and legacy students. If you are an in-state African-American applicant whose parent is an alumnus, your odds of getting accepted are roughly four times that of an out-of-state White applicant with no family connections.Continue reading →
Who owns the University of Virginia? The answer is clear: as an agency of the state government, UVa is owned by the citizens of Virginia. The governor appoints the members of its governing board, the General Assembly allots a significant percentage of its budget, and, although it has been granted considerable autonomy, the university must abide by state rules and regulations, such as, to mention just one, the Freedom of Information Act.
But who owns the University of Virginia alumni association — a nonprofit entity that, according to its Form 990, has $582 million in assets? And what mechanisms exist to hold the association’s leadership accountable for its actions?
The answer to that question is less immediately obvious. After digging into the matter, I’ve reached the conclusion that the alumni association is accountable to no one — certainly not to the UVa alumni. It is run by a self-perpetuating clique, which is free to indulge its decidedly ideological preferences largely uncontested. Transparency is minimal. and most alumni are clueless.
The UVa alumni association is not unique in this regard. My findings likely apply to alumni associations across the country and, indeed, to most nonprofit organizations generally. The story of how unaccountable, tax-advantaged nonprofits exercise extraordinary influence over our society is one of the great untold stories of our age. Continue reading →
Letter to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors from Walter Smith.
Now that International Transgender Day of Visibility is behind us, it is safe to discuss your lack of visibility in the matter regarding UVa student Emma Weyant, who, in the world where reality and truth are valued, is the true women’s NCAA 500 freestyle swimming champion. None of you has spoken out regarding the injustice of her loss of the 1st-place trophy to a transgendered individual, Lia Thomas — a silence, I suspect, that arises from your terror of woke intersectionalists.
The only statement I have seen from any UVa official was a quote inThe Jefferson Independent, in which President Jim Ryan bravely stated, “I’m not an expert on this and I haven’t been following it as closely as others… I have to say it seems unfair to me, at a very basic level.”
Wow! What clarity of thought! What bold leadership! I now see how Ryan was selected to lead Thomas Jefferson’s University — to make it Great and Good as only he can!Continue reading →
Letter to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors from Walter Smith.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I expect you will ignore me, as usual, but, for purposes of establishing a record when the time for your contextualization comes, I must document your many failures and refusal to do your fiduciary duties, because I believe, if you had any honor, you would resign.
You have the distinct honor of being in charge of one of the world’s premier public universities, with an historic legacy few other schools could match: a UNESCO World Heritage site designed by Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, third President, author of the Religious Freedom statute, and perhaps history’s greatest proponent of free speech. The University of Virginia was Jefferson’s dream, established as a public university to pursue truth wherever it may lead.
Supposedly, you have been trained in your duties as Visitors. I sincerely doubt it. I have reviewed the Board Manual and the Board Basics booklet. The Board Manual’s first two duties list (1) the preservation of the ideals and traditions of the University and particularly encouragement of the maintenance of the Honor System by the student body and (2) the establishment of general education policy. As the recently released Alumni Association survey showed, support for the Honor System has dropped precipitously over the last 20 years, and the “single sanction” was overwhelmingly defeated in a March vote.
I attribute this defeat not just to changing mores, but to your dereliction of duty. Similarly, I believe you are not establishing general education policy – you are rubber-stamping a radical, political re-making of the University of Virginia and abandonment of its legacy and mission. Continue reading →
Charlottesville used to be the proverbial sleepy, college town in a beautiful setting, blessed by a rich history centered around a giant of the Western world. The University of Virginia stuck to educating students and making sure they didn’t unduly embarrass the school. Town-gown tension was real. Townies would go to frat parties. Students would venture off Grounds where “real people” lived. But bad things rarely happened. And when they did, as when Katie Worsky was abducted and murdered, the whole area came together. No, Charlottesville wasn’t perfect. No place with humans can be. But it was a good place to be.
Today, UVa under President Jim Ryan purports to be “great and good,” determined to make an impact on the world around it. Through lavishly endowed programs, the university actively exports its new religion of Wokism to Charlottesville and points beyond. The race-obsessed progressives who dominate local politics have turned the once well-run city into a showcase of government dysfunction. Continue reading →
Screen grab from the University of Virginia website: “DACA & Undcoumented Student Resources.”
by Walter Smith
Prior to the fall 2021 semester, the University of Virginia disenrolled 238 students, including 49 who had already registered for classes. What was their offense? Take a guess.
Entering and residing in the country illegally, or
Refusing to get COVID vaccinated in violation of a university policy that has since been overturned.
If you answered (2), you have been paying attention. If you also knew that UVa had declared in June 2020 that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status no longer disqualified an applicant from attending the university, you are really on top of things.
“Our mission as a university is to attract outstanding students who will make our community stronger and the world a better place,” said UVa President Jim Ryan in this June 2020 article. “We should be open to all qualified applicants – and this decision is an important step in the right direction.”
Solicitude to “all” qualified applicants did not extend to those who presented no documentation of vaccinations and boosters. University policy compelled “all students attending in the Spring 2022 semester … to upload proof” — documentation, if you will — “of an approved booster shot to the HealthyHoos patient portal” or face expulsion. Continue reading →
In February of 2021 University of Virginia President Jim Ryan appointed a committee to articulate the university’s commitment to free speech and free inquiry. With great fanfare, the Board of Visitors “unequivocally” endorsed the tepid, politically correct statement on June 4, 2021.
On June 7, 2021, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to see all documents used by, or submitted to, the Committee on Free Expression and Free Inquiry. “I would expect this to include, without limitation, submissions from faculty and students, the agendas and minutes from the meetings of the Committee, any submissions from Committee members and any outside groups,” I specified. “Essentially, if any document was before the Committee, from any source, I would like it produced.”
To make a long story short, it is nearly eight months later and I have seen only a fraction of the documents. UVa has withheld them on the grounds that, even though Ryan was not a member of the Committee, they are the president’s “working papers.” Continue reading →
The statue of Emil Faber, founder of Faber College (of Animal House fame), bears a quote, “Knowledge is good.” The reigning philosophy at the University of Virginia, by contrast, seems to be, “Only some knowledge is good.”
By way of introduction, let us note that the University of Virginia Alumni Association this fall conducted a survey that gauged the opinions of UVa alumni on a wide range of topics relating to the university. Of the approximately 25,000 alumni solicited, 1,319 responded. Among other highlights, the survey revealed that respect for university founder Thomas Jefferson and the Honor System has waned among younger alumni. The association published the findings in Virginia magazine.
Now consider a previous survey. In March 2018, in response to a request from a working group of UVa’s deans, the Board of Visitors approved the expenditure of $80,000 to conduct the 2017-18 University Climate Survey. “Climate Survey,” for your edification, has no connection to global warming. It is an academic term of art for measuring how schools are doing in their core missions. Many universities conduct similar surveys and publish them on their websites. Here is the University of Richmond’s. Here is Wake Forest’s. Here is UVa’s 2015 survey conducted shortly after the infamous Rolling Stone rape story.
You will not find a copy of the 2018 survey. The UVa administration has suppressed it. I tried to obtain the summary document through the Freedom of Information Act. UVa denied my request. I filed suit in Henrico County General District Court. I lost the initial round, but the fight is not over. Continue reading →
“And when memory failed and written records were falsified—when that happened, the claim of the Party to have improved the conditions of human life had got to be accepted, because there did not exist, and never again could exist, any standard against which it could be tested.” — George Orwell, “1984”
Charlottesville City Council recently voted to give the city’s Robert E. Lee statue to The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. The “Jefferson Center” (a deceptive name for a school that hates Jefferson) proposes to melt the statue and remold it into a new piece of public art that “expresses the city’s values of inclusivity and racial justice. … Our hope … is to create something that transforms what was once toxic in our public spaces into something beautiful and more reflective of our entire community’s social values.”
According to WINA News Radio, The Memory Project of the Democracy Initiative of the University of Virginia and other persons and entities, including the George Soros Open Society Foundations are listed as the first sponsor of this initiative. Continue reading →
University of Virginia President Jim Ryan has stated that, as long as he holds office, the Thomas Jefferson statue in front of the Rotunda will remain in place. UVa’s founder, he says, will not be de-memorialized.
… but you can’t see them! (Image credit: scwgl.org.uk)
by Walter Smith
Jim Bacon recently posted an article urging Governor-elect Youngkin to take full advantage of his higher-ed Board of Visitors appointments if he wishes to remain true to the education reform momentum that played a big part in his election. Bacon’s bits (pun intentional!) on the Boards as political plums with a go-along-to-get-along chumminess seemed dead on to me. In truth, academia is a different world. A far different world.
I came out of the corporate world. I worked as counsel in an NYSE company and a private equity company for large insurance brokerages. Governance in the academic world is something I intend to address in a complete, and fair, manner later, after gathering a great deal more info. In the meantime, permit me to share one example of how governance works — or doesn’t work — in academia.
After the 2017 Unite the Right riot in Charlottesville, the University of Virginia took many actions in response. One result was the Racial Equity Task Force report. Another was the formation of the Deans Working Group, headed by Risa Goluboff of the law school. Goluboff made four proposals to the Board in March of 2018, all of which were approved.*
One of those approvals allocated $80,000 to a “university-wide campus climate survey.” This survey, paid for with public money, has never been released. Why? Given the BoV approval, does it not belong to the public? Continue reading →
There is a new conservative meme loose in the land. It is profane and disrespectful, and it does nothing to elevate the civic discourse. But it gets the point across. It seems that crowds in football stadiums around the country have taken to chanting, “F— Joe Biden!” Hilariously, one sports commentator mistook the vulgarity as, “Let’s go Brandon!” Now the phrase “Let’s go Brandon” has taken on a life of its own.
At a recent football game at Virginia Tech’s Lane Stadium, students broke out in just such a chant, and, apparently, the Tech administration did not approve. According to WJHL News, following displays of “selfish, inappropriate and embarrassing student behavior” that “falls short of Virginia Tech standards,” the administration restricted student attendance to season ticket holders and student lottery winners. As examples of objectionable behavior, the university mentioned students entering the game illegally or violating line protocols. The communique did not mention the profane mantra, but the Media Research Center blog, reading between the lines, viewed the crackdown as a rebuke of the anti-Biden chants.
I don’t know the truth of the matter, but based upon memories of my own sordid behavior as a University of Virginia undergraduate, I offer some advice to the Tech students. Continue reading →
Does UVa really believe in free speech? We have seen that F— UVA is vigorously protected on the Lawn, but what about in the classrooms and on the Grounds? Are students and professors free to express their beliefs without fear of recrimination? Anecdotally, I don’t think they are. I have heard stories. and I have seen true harassment and shaming and threats for the “crime” of not agreeing with current woke ideology du jour. Continue reading →
Have you noticed that pharmacy ads on TV close with a long list of side effects and warn you to ask your doctor if BigPharma XYZ is right for you? How come there is no similar warning for COVID shots?
You must be an anti-vaxxer, I imagine you are thinking right now. A conspiracy theorist! A government hater! No, I am a sentient human being with a brain, and a finely attuned lie detector from being a lawyer for large companies for more than 30 years.
Some people are making a big deal out of the fact that the FDA has given the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccination its full approval, not just an authorization for emergency use. It’s approved, they say. Hopefully more people will get the jab now.
But consider: the treatment got the thumbs up after less than a year when “vaccines” historically have taken ten to 15 years to gain approval. If anyone believes the government is inefficient, it is me… But a 1,500% improvement? Color me skeptical.
The FDA press release announcing the Pfizer-BioNTech approval aroused my suspicions. The tip-off: you have to get to paragraphs 13 and 14 to read about myocarditis, pericarditis and the ongoing studies conducted to ensure that “safety concerns continue [are] identified and evaluated in a timely manner.” Continue reading →
The University of Virginia announced its COVID-19 vaccination mandate May 20. Unless students filed for a medical or religious exemption, they had to be vaccinated this fall. If they failed to comply, they would be subject to weekly testing. No mercy for COVID survivors who had developed natural immunities.
On August 6th UVa proclaimed that due to concerns over the spread of the Delta variant it would be re-instituting a masking requirement for all students. On August 9, the university announced for the first time that students who failed to comply with the vaccine would be “disenrolled.”
By the way, did I mention that UVa sent out its bills July 20 and the last day to arrange the semester payment plan was Aug. 5?
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