Tag Archives: Walter Smith

Does Jim Ryan Value Jefferson’s Legacy?

by Walter Smith

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.

Talk is cheap. When given a golden opportunity to publicize Jefferson’s contribution to religious freedom — the 2019 publication of “Liberty in the Things of God: The Christian Origins of Religious Freedom” — Ryan took a pass. Neither he nor the administration’s propaganda organ, UVA Today (AKA UVA Pravda), have made mention of this important scholarship by Robert Louis Wilken, a UVa professor of the history of Christianity. Continue reading

Why Is UVa Hiding Its Campus Climate Survey Results?

… 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

Hey, Show Some Respect!

by Walter Smith

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

Unequivocal Support for Free Speech… but Not Transparency

by Walter Smith

To the tune of “Unforgettable”…

Unequivocal you’re not at all
Unequivocal nowhere this fall
Like an empty phrase that runs from me
How your illusion does things to me
Never before has something been less
Unequivocal in every way

The University of Virginia formed the Free Expression and Free Inquiry Committee in February 2021. In May the Board of Visitors “unequivocally” endorsed the work of the Committee. Personally, I think the statement is a disgrace to Jefferson’s free speech legacy – I was hoping for more than the Chicago Principles and got a lukewarm, turgid, academic, PC jargon, kinda sorta saying UVA believes in free speech..

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

Side Effects? What Side Effects?

by Walter Smith

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

UVa’s Bait and Switch

by Walter Smith

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?

Call me a cynic. Continue reading

Pass the Hemlock, Please

by Walter Smith

The strangest thing happened the other day. I was asleep, but I swear it wasn’t a dream. I was in Charlottesville, wandering around the University of Virginia Law School! I walked into an auditorium where the law faculty was seated, with UVa President Jim Ryan and law school Dean Risa Goluboff in attendance. Before the professors could chase me out and file a No Trespass Warning, we were suddenly transported, Star Trek-like, to an amphitheater in Athens. Socrates stood before us.

The following discourse took place in Classical Greek, and everyone understood it. Socrates took the floor and began conducting a — you guessed it — Socratic dialogue.

“Is there any limit on a woman’s right to choose,” he asked.

No, nodded the professors in freaky unanimity, the woman’s right to control what happened to her own body was sacrosanct. Pressing on, the great philosopher asked, “what if the baby were due in a month? What if the baby’s head, shoulders and torso had emerged?” Heads bobbed up and down. Yes, it was still the woman’s right to choose.

It was astonishing how up to speed on current events the old man was. He then asked — I’m telling the truth! — “If a woman has the right to control her own body, could Athens require her to get a COVID shot?” Continue reading

Wake Up, Everybody!

Josef Mengele, the so-called “angel of death” at Auschwitz, was not a big believer in informed consent for medical experiments. He evaded capture and condemnation by the Nuremburg Doctors’ Trial. More than a dozen other doctors were hanged or given life sentences.

by Walter Smith

The stupor of Covidiocy has infected all levels of society and greatly damaged our social fabric. Out of fear and suppression of common sense and stories contradictory to “the narrative,” Americans are accepting an assault on their liberties, and have been blinded to see it – even pooh-poohing skeptics like me as “anti-science,” “anti-vax,” or “out of bounds” for making comparisons to precedents from the Nuremberg trials. Well, buckle up.

The COVID vaccine mandates are illegal and unconstitutional. That 450 colleges and universities have mandated the vaccination of students shows how little respect our elites – the “experts” who engaged in “gain of function” research, funded it in China when prohibited onshore, and lied about it – have for our liberties.

The Nuremberg Code was established as a result of the Doctors’ Trial after World War II. It set forth the premise for why certain doctors deserved punishment, including execution. I’m sorry if this offends you – while the truth may hurt, it can also set you free. Just read Article 1 on consent for medical experiments. Clear enough? Continue reading

UVa in the Age of Covidiocy

by Walter Smith

In late February of 2020 my oldest son traveled to Kansas City to meet with a group of Californians. Upon his return, he felt beat. Attributing his fatigue to work and travel, he soon felt better and came to our house a number of times. Our youngest began to feel poorly. After a couple of days, she visited a “doc in a box” where Flu A and Flu B tests were negative and she was told stay home, rest, and take aspirin and liquids. She missed school Monday and started attending again Tuesday until her world, and everyone’s, turned topsy turvy on March 11, 2020.

In the morass of data collected by the CDC, my daughter’s case is probably classified as ILI – Influenza Like Illness. I am convinced she and my son had COVID and that my wife and I, who have never been affected by seasonal flus, “had” it asymptomatically.

Colored by my personal experience, I don’t put much stock in official COVID statistics. I have been unimpressed by the performance of the “experts” in their management of the epidemic from the federal government on down. The nation has succumbed to what I call Covidiocy, where epidemiology meets the madness of crowds. In particular, I have been disappointed with the response of my alma mater, the University of Virginia, which, as a center of medical science, could have been a voice of reason but was not. Continue reading

Racist Nurses Need Indoctrination, Too, UVa Agrees

Milania Harris and Zara Alisa

by Walter Smith

After the widely publicized killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police last year, University of Virginia nursing students Milania Harris and Zara Alisa founded Advocates for Medical Equality. Their mission was to confront bias, bigotry and racism in healthcare. They won a Martin Luther King, Jr., UVA Health System Award for their efforts, and even a got a big splash in UVA Today.

I admire anyone who carves out time from studies and other student pursuits for the goal of making the world a better place. But I do find it ironic that these two ladies won an award named after a man who wanted people to be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin — in this case by creating a program based on measuring outcomes by color of skin.

Moreover, I am not a little dismayed that the administration lauds, and its house organ UVA Today regularly gives a platform to, students, faculty and alumni who excoriate the United States, Virginia, and the university itself for racism while never — and I mean never — profiling members of the university community who might think differently. Continue reading