Leon Trotsky, People’s Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs, 1918

by James C. Sherlock

Leon Trotsky, who headed the Red Army from 1917-22, did not trust it.

On 6 April 1918, he wrote in Isvestia:

The military commissar is the direct political agent of Soviet power within the army. His post is of the highest importance. Commissars are appointed from the ranks of exemplary revolutionaries, capable of remaining the embodiments of revolutionary duty at the most critical moments and under the most difficult circumstances…. The military commissar ensures that the army does not become isolated from the Soviet system as a whole and that individual military institutions do not become breeding grounds for conspiracy.

With commissars at every level of the army, they had their own reporting chain independent of the operational chain of command. And punishments both quick and much to be feared.

Progressives, themselves unwilling to entrust the revolution to those who may subvert it, are fond of similar structures.

Witness the broad and deep Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) system at the University of Virginia.

Pew Research recently found that 74% of Americans rejected race or ethnicity as an appropriate factor in college admissions. That included solid majorities of Whites (80%), Hispanics (67%), Blacks (62%) and Asian-Americans (59%).

Clearly the nation has seen enough of what Chief Justice Roberts denounced as “this sordid business” of “divvying us up by race.”

Progressive academia (the adjective is repetitive) does not care.

UVa’s Political Commissars. Allan Stam, University Professor of Public Policy and Politics at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia, recently wrote a first-hand account of life under the DEI at the University.

He called it a fraud.

It is worse than that. I will share details of the dystopian conditions under which he is working.

The DEI political control network at UVA is based upon a forthright design proclaimed with the August 10, 2020 publication of “Audacious Future: Commitment Required” by the University’s Racial Equity Task Force.

That task force was led by Kevin McDonald, University Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and (now) Community Partnerships, who was thus privileged to serve as architect of his own empire.

Kevin McDonald, UVa
University Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Community Partnerships

Like all such documents, it offers a goal of equal opportunity, a foundational American principle.

When you read “Audacious Future,” you will see that it is singularly focused on equal outcomes.

Equity demands that we not only include a diverse population, but that we reimagine how the institution operates so that all people are equally likely, statistically, to join, to contribute, to thrive, and to exercise authority, influence, and governance in determining the shape and future of the institution.” [Emphasis added.]

Through what “Audacious Future” calls “courageous investments in repair, in redress, and in restoration.”

The authors left no need for clarification.

The money. Then there is the money for those courageous investments.

1.  Endow Equity at UVa. Dedicate funding for racial equity:
• $100-150 million for immediate needs,
• $500-650 million in perpetuity through a quasi-endowment
• $100-150 million collaboratively
through incentive matching funds

“Endow equity” is not a throw-away term. Of endowments the report writes:

They ensure that commitments will be sustained through leadership changes or loss of institutional focus.

Progressives move whenever possible to permanently fund their pet projects outside of budget controls. If nearly a billion dollars seems high, then that is our problem.

Quotas. Then (I admit to being surprised) they published in-your-face quotas.

4. Commit to REPRESENT VIRGINIA in student body demographics: Recruit, admit and support an undergraduate population that reflects the racial and economic demographics of the state of Virginia.
5. Launch INCLUSIVE FACULTY INITIATIVE: Reform search, hiring, mentoring, promotion and retention practices and double the number of underrepresented minority faculty [Emphasis in the original.]

There is not even an attempt at pretense in these provisions. No “holistic view.”  Even the Bakke court would have rejected this travesty.

Control mechanisms. For the recalcitrant, they have watchmen, reeducation provisions and punishment mechanisms.

2. Launch the EQUITY SCORECARD: Develop a scorecard of institutional racial equity goals that are posted publicly, reviewed annually, and used in leadership performance evaluations.
3. Fund the Division for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Fund and empower the DDEI so that it can fulfill its overall mission and execute or coordinate efficiently against all of these initiatives.                     8. Provide ANTI-RACISM EDUCATION: Empower all members of the UVA community with the courage, understanding, knowledge and skills to take effective anti-racist actions and to foster a culture of belonging and inclusion.
9. REVIEW TENURE AND ACADEMIC POLICIES: Review Promotion and Tenure policies and other academic policies to ensure that they advance principles of racial equity and global best practices for inclusive excellence.

Among the strategies:

Create a dotted-line reporting structure for academic and administrative diversity, equity, and inclusion positions across UVA (e.g., Associate Deans for Diversity).

That mirrors exactly the structure of Trotsky’s political commissariat.

Those mechanisms are not aspirational at UVa.

There are associate deans for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion everywhere. Looking over the shoulders of the deans, staff and faculty for signs of lack of enthusiasm for the program. And reporting both to their own deans and to the University Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion.

That University Vice President is Mr. McDonald, who led the development of and signed “Audacious Future.”

Accountability. For a sample of DEI accountability approaches, see this one from the Office of the Provost:

• Ongoing accountability was an expressed concern of the directors and other provost unit staff.
• The provost office should incorporate DEI and IE into annual reporting and assessment processes as an important signal and first step towards accountability. At every level of the organization, employees should be asked about their contributions and work in relation to DEI and IE.

This one from “Audacious Future”:

RETAINING FACULTY.                                                    5. Equitable, transparent annual reviews practiced in all departments and schools, including evaluation of each faculty member’s contributions to inclusive excellence and equity.                                                        6. Ensuring that all Deans, Associate Deans, and Department Chairs are evaluated annually and held accountable for contributions to equity and Inclusive Excellence.

Anti-racism education.  

From “Audacious Future”:

Understanding race, racism, and white supremacist practices, and identifying productive ways to dismantle these harmful policies and practices, is a life-long process that requires ongoing learning.

…develop, expand, and execute transformational anti-racist educational opportunities for students, staff, faculty, administrators, alumni, donors and other UVA community members.

…Schools should customize anti-racism offerings to specific disciplinary needs. Additionally, schools and departments should holistically integrate issues of racial equity into academic requirements so that every student has a rigorous engagement with questions of race and equity as applied to that particular discipline.

Tenure and Academic Policies.

Under that heading there is a list of actions including:

Policies or practices that could be introduced to advance greater equity, including anti-racist, anti-sexist policies, education about bias and psychological burdens (e.g., stereotype threat), transparency norms and requirements, and other processes based on evidence-based best practices.

No “breeding grounds for conspiracy” will see the light of day.

George Orwell, call your office.

Bottom line.

Admissions. I spelled all this out and quoted most of it because any summary would have been as unbelievable to readers as the text was to me.

The Supreme Court will, in June, throw out as unconstitutional the use of race to discriminate for or against any applicant to a college that spends federal money.

We will have to see how quickly the Board of Visitors acts to bring UVA into compliance.

Employment. Then there is, of course, employment discrimination.

The statement of fealty to and active participation in DEI required of applicants for employment at UVa is utterly abhorrent.

The leaders of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion movement at our state universities cannot answer when asked for metrics for when their work will be done. Perhaps the “life-long process” comment is a hint of their timeline.

The DEI structure has absorbed some good long-time programs into their sphere like the Office of Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights, Title IX and some student safety programs, but there is no doubt what is the tree and which are the ornaments.

Constitutional protections. Applicant, student, faculty, and staff lawsuits alleging violations of federal and state constitutions and laws will multiply like flowers in springtime.

Everything about the overt discrimination, hostile working environment and racial quotas of this new DEI offends constitutional protections of freedom of speech and equal protection before the law.

The Board of Visitors is thick with lawyers. We wonder then why this regime has been allowed to get this far.

Perhaps the Attorney General can ask them.

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37 responses to “The Commissars of Charlottesville”

  1. So who ends up with an ice pick in their brain?

  2. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    Red bait. Birther? No, not Birther. Began with a ‘b’ though.

      1. Nancy Naive Avatar
        Nancy Naive

        115 E Grace St, Richmond, VA 23219?

        1. I don’t think so. If their headquarters was that empty, the Virginia republican party would be in much better shape than it is…

  3. walter smith Avatar
    walter smith

    UVA has been breaking the law and the BOV has known it since at least Covidiocy. I have written and written and cited Statutes and policies and history and the Va Constitution and UVA’s own non-discrimination policy, which you can read for yourself here – https://eocr.virginia.edu/notice-non-discrimination-and-equal-opportunity
    Do you really believe UVA does not discriminate on the basis of “color” or political affiliation? How could UVA’s own admission stats show a 29% offer rate to blacks and a 17% offer rate to whites when the white SAT mean was about 100 points higher? Heck, “Race Unknown” had a higher offer rate than whites! Does no one remember McCarthyist loyalty oaths and not see the same thing with DEI statements? The BOV knows. They are just worthless political hacks.

    1. walter smith Avatar
      walter smith

      I’m just an alumnus who cares about UVA. No dark money needed, but I’d like the BOV and the Admin to stop breaking the law. And I’ll be a great help when they are sued. It will be hard to claim you didn’t when you were told dozens of times…

      1. James McCarthy Avatar
        James McCarthy

        Sue ‘em, bucko!! Stop wasting time and your personal energy. Just prepare your testimony as a plaintiff.

        1. walter smith Avatar
          walter smith

          Sure! Loan me a quarter million to take on an entity with $14 billion and would be defended by lawyers with taxpayer money, ok?

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            There must be two dozen Conservative legal organizations these days – like the Pacific legal Foundation and ACLJ to name two.

            None of these are after UVA for the reasons you cite? It would be a sure win, no?

          2. James McCarthy Avatar
            James McCarthy

            Nah, ya got those funny money libertarian foundations that would pick up your bullet-proof complaint in the blink of an election denial. The tax paid defense includes counsel appointed by the AG who surely agrees with you. Try GoFundMe campaign to cover Chick-fil- a meals. Y’all can do it. I’ve seen it in your commentary.

  4. James McCarthy Avatar
    James McCarthy

    Recognizing that it’s Election Day, readers must accord the Moderator leeway in citing a Trotsky article to 2018. Or is Trotsky on the UVA faculty?

    1. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      We do? They only had one party. They restricted voting too.

      1. James McCarthy Avatar
        James McCarthy

        When SCOTUS scuttles affirmative action shortly, expect a majority opinion from J. Thomas holding that US history and the Constitution do not reference affirmative action as women and blacks could not vote.

  5. LarrytheG Avatar

    Isn’t this Sherlocks version of “deep state”?

    1. M. Purdy Avatar

      It is indeed. And we just saw how conspiracy theories were ultra successful for Republicans across the country. So I invite more lunacy from the likes of Mr. Sherlock and BR. It’s certainly helping my side of the aisle.

      1. Nancy Naive Avatar
        Nancy Naive

        Did I hear correctly that EVERY election denier gubernatorial candidate either lost or are trailing?

        1. M. Purdy Avatar

          I believe that’s right. There’s are some house candidates that won.

          1. Lefty665 Avatar

            Wash Post currently thinks that 168 house election deniers have won. That’s certainly “some”.

          2. M. Purdy Avatar

            I think that’s how many ran at every level.

          3. It was actually how many have won their seats, The total number according the the Wash Post is 291.


          4. Ah, the stat I saw from BBC didn’t include statewide offices, other than Gov.

          5. Funny how those totals vary depending on what is being counted:)

    2. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      Sherlock would have been a great Bircher. Everyone who views the world differently is a commie, especially blacks with their CRA and CRT, schoolboards and universities with DE&I, etc., etc.

      1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
        James C. Sherlock

        You apparently cannot bring yourself to address the thought police system set up at UVa.

        Perhaps you can share with us your views on that, since it was the subject of the piece that quoted the University’s own DEI leadership in describing the surveillance and reporting system that is in place.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          sounds remarkable like McCarthyism.

          I can imagine what the conservative response is.

        2. James McCarthy Avatar
          James McCarthy

          The BR thought police are very efficient and effective though they have failed to notice your thinking.

  6. LarrytheG Avatar

    What? No Red Wave? just a Red Ripple? Gadzooks!

  7. Teddy007 Avatar

    One needs to remember that federal funding is partially tied to demonstrating equity and diversity.

    1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
      James C. Sherlock

      It is not tied to the thought police system at UVa.

      1. Teddy007 Avatar

        That the system used to show the feds that an university is committed to diversity is used as thought police is not the concern of the feds.

  8. StarboardLift Avatar

    As usual, UVA is 4 years late copying others.
    Berkeley instituted these measures a while ago.

    1. Lefty665 Avatar

      Berkeley was a lot more attractive when it embraced Mario Savio and the Free Speech Movement as opposed to free speech suppression.

  9. Wonderful comparison to the Commissariat.

    Should the legislature consider a law like “no state funding for divvying stuff up by race?”

    U Va wouldn’t like it but they’d have to go along. U Va threatens to go private every so often but they won’t. It isn’t about the state money, down to around 10 percent for the Academic Division.

    No, its the power. They like being a state agency. Having their own police. In-house Attorney General. They could do without the nuisance of FOIA, but they never answer FOIA requests anyway. Everything’s an exempt “academic record.”

    The law would cut off the salary of the Dean of Reparational Affirmative Racism. They’d have to give back the billion dollar endowment.

    Won’t happen though. Let’s put a noose on the statue of Thomas Jefferson and yank hard. It’d be a mercy killing.

  10. Lefty665 Avatar

    Language is a tool to use in righting wrongs. We tend to perceive things as we describe them.

    Perhaps adapting John McWhorter’s “Woke Racism” would be useful. Just as the woke want people to be “anti racist” the antidote could be “anti woke racist” as the descriptor.

    Or, it could be as simple as co-opting the woke’s own syntax. “Why yes, I am very anti racist. I firmly oppose racism. Anti racism has been the law of the land since the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1967. I also firmly oppose current racism as embodied by CRT and advocated by racists like Kendi, DeAngelo, Hannah-Jones and McDonald (here at UVA) and/or implemented through DIE many places. Do you, or are you a racist?”

    Make no mistake, the acronym is DIE, as in dead, not DEI as in god. Language matters.

    1. James McCarthy Avatar
      James McCarthy

      DEI = gods, plural. While you are co-opting terms to use language as a tool in righting wrongs, charactering conservatives as woke seems to fit that objective. It’s a description as some see it.

      1. No it is just more of your making stuff up. Only you “see it” that way. You are reminiscent of Humpty Dumpty.

        Walk silly Humpty McCarthy, and be careful you don’t fall.

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