UVa Lawn Controversy: Daniel Strikes Again

In the wake of the controversy over profane political statements posted on room doors on the Lawn, University of Virginia President Jim Ryan penned a defense early this month of the university’s decision not to compel removal of the offending signage. In the statement, entitled “Good and Great Revisited,” he argued that the University can be both good, as in exorcising racism, and great, as in achieving excellence; that the Thomas Jefferson statue on the grounds should be preserved but contextualized; and that it is the university’s obligation to stand firm in defense of free speech. In a separate missive, the University’s legal counsel Timothy Heaphy argued that the Constitutional right to free speech of Lawn residents was an absolute that could not be abridged…. although the University was working on changing the rules for next year’s residents.

Now Aubrey M. Daniel III, who had written a previous, widely disseminated letter condemning the University’s do-nothing posture, has delivered a riposte. While UVa officials have issued vague exclamations of “disappointment” at the student’s use of profanity in the phrase “Fuck UVA,” Daniel argues forcefully that Ryan and Heaphy have adopted a legal posture of defending the student’s right to free speech against alumni protests rather than articulating a legal argument for taking down the sign and letting the student (or her surrogates) mount her own legal defense of her action. While posing as a neutral arbiter between the student and angry alumni, Ryan is effectively siding with the student.

Daniel addresses his missive to Rector James B. Murray Jr., who had mounted his own defense of Ryan in a letter from the Board of Visitors. I publish the full text of Daniel’s letter below. — JAB

“We ought not to die before we have explained ourselves.”
— Thomas Jefferson

I have read your response and the advice given to you by University Counsel, Timothy J. Heaphy, both dated September 29. Rather than characterizing your response as a “Statement in Support of the Administration,” wouldn’t it be more accurate to say it is your defense of President Ryan’s conduct and not that of the entire administration? However, if you were involved in making the decision to do nothing, that decision should be more carefully scrutinized. It certainly could reveal a bias in your evaluation of President Ryan’s conduct. I was somewhat surprised that President Ryan did not respond on his own behalf to my letter. Now he has in his statement, “Great and Good Revisited,” on October 02 and in his message to me on October 05.

At the outset, I want to convey to you my very personal feelings about this situation. I was not dragged into this controversy but invited into it by President Ryan when he said, “the answer to speech that offends is more speech.” I am thankful that President Ryan has given me this opportunity to engage in such an important debate at a critical time in our country. I will participate in this debate in accordance with the guidelines set forth in Student’s Rights and Responsibilities. I am not trying to muzzle anyone’s right to exercise their Freedom of Speech. Debates or protests necessarily have two sides and maybe more. All sides should be accorded respect although others may disagree. My personal interest in this matter derives not only from my personal experience as a lawyer having sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States but also as an amateur architect and restorer of ancient buildings. Creators of great masterpieces and beautiful pieces of art achieve their result by paying great attention to detail.

The University of Virginia as a UNESCO World Heritage Site is like a great public museum in which the structures are pieces of art. No public museum would allow anyone who enters that museum to deface any of that art. I think of the protection it deserves first and not like you who have thought of it as an afterthought which I had to bring to your attention.

Your response contains a major concession and an admission of a mistake, that the signs can be removed from the doors on the Lawn and the doors kept clean and beautiful, without violating the Constitution. You state:

“Simply put, there are no exceptions to the protections afforded by the First
Amendment against state attempts to regulate political speech.”

But then you state there is an exception;

“…We have been advised that some regulation of expression in a UNESCO World Heritage Site visited by families and international visitors will be constitutionally

“The administration has committed to review and clarify appropriate regulation of the Lawn before the next academic year.”

Mr. Heaphy’s change of advice is also reflected in what he states:

“Looking ahead, we could choose to enact a new policy banning all signs on lawnroom doors.”

“A new policy banning signs would also maintain the historic character of the Lawn, consistent with its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Students would have ample other opportunities to exercise free speech even if they could not post signs on their doors.”

However, in this major admission that the defacement on the doors can be removed constitutionally, you refuse to take them down immediately and seek a delay of almost a year to study the issue. This is a typical bureaucratic response and unacceptable. It is inconceivable that at a time when the University is “in a state of deep financial crisis” and donations are being lost every day, that an order in the nature of an executive order could not be issued. The defacement still remains on the doors. This is simply a continuation of the Do Nothing Strategy, where you offer the possibility of change without a guarantee.

This admission demonstrates that what President Ryan characterized as “no doubt (legal) opinion” was incorrect. As President Ryan observed after arguing a case before the Supreme Court, it would be impossible to predict the Court’s decision. As I stated previously, a categorical legal opinion is both very rare and risky. This opinion as a defense for the University is no longer valid.

It seems counterintuitive that the University Administration and Board of Visitors chose to invoke the student’s First Amendment Right and not exercise their own First Amendment Right. It was not the duty of the President of the University and its counsel to assert that right on her behalf, a right which she might never have used if the defacement of the door had been cleaned up immediately. President Ryan should have used the authority of his office and his great skills as a lawyer who has argued cases before the Supreme Court to persuade her take it down.

Before addressing your advice of counsel defense in further detail, I want to ask two fundamental questions:

“Where is common sense and good judgement?”

“Do mistakes have consequences?”

We have two examples of people who used common sense to conclude that the University’s management of the Lawn door issue was a mistake. The first is something I brought to your attention in my first letter to President Ryan. It was the review of a woman on a tour of the campus who said,

“The famous Lawn lined with student housing, is a pretty walk (though UVA mistakenly allows students living there to plaster their doors with unsightly junk).”

The second example comes from a person with multiple points of view. She wrote the following letter:

“President Ryan,

As the wife of a graduate and the mother of two Virginia graduates, I am
appalled and displeased that you haven’t taken immediate steps to remove such profanity and defacing of school property on Lawn doors.

We find your 1st amendment right argument ludicrous. I am hoping not to see a “Fuck Duke” sign at the next Football game. This is not the Virginia we know. It is not the Virginia education or experience we want to support.

By ignoring and permitting such bad behavior we feel you have made an
egregious mistake. We respectfully request your immediate resignation and until that occurs we will not be making any donations to The University.”

Great institutions deserve great leaders and great managers. How is it possible that under the leadership and management of President Ryan and the Board of Visitors we have ended up in this disaster, having lost over 150 million dollars in donations at a time when The University as you say is “in a deep financial crisis?”

Great leaders and managers have a duty to their university or a company to make decisions that protect them. They have a duty to apply their persuasive managerial skills to avoid a situation from turning into a crisis which puts the reputation and image of the institution at risk both in terms of its public image and financial stability. At the outset of making an important strategic decision, it is wise to remember the KISS Principle – KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID. Sometimes lawyers have a tendency to make things complicated when they should be simple. Over-lawyering can cause one to lose focus of a practical solution. Not thinking about the UNESCO solution is an example.

A great leader would have taken decisive action the instant he or she learned of the defacement on the Lawn. As cited previously, there are ample existing enforcement avenues that were afforded to President Ryan to walk up to the Lawn room, confront the student, and remove the sign, e.g., University regulations on deportment, mandates on decorum which all Lawn residents sign and agree to, the obligations imposed by it being a specific UNESCO World Heritage sites, and Va. code section 18.2-138.

If the door was cleaned and her FUCK UVA sign removed, what were the student’s options? Administrative appeal? A court injunction? How likely would the student’s success have been? Even if the student prevailed, would the cost of that have been as great as the losses that have occurred to date?

Simply stated, using a commonsense approach should always be tried before resorting to a legal approach. The decision to pursue a legal defense for the student and not adopt an approach to protect the University was a great mistake.

The quote below from a very successful business executive is germane:

“If you are not in touch with your intuition, you cannot be successful. Data is great. But sometimes, even when you have all the data in the world, if you don’t follow your gut, you won’t discover the true potential and be able to recognize critical opportunities.”

President Ryan missed a “critical opportunity” to solve the problem and it has resulted in the alienation of a significant and growing number of alumni. They will no longer support their beloved alma mater due to his and the Boards’ Do Nothing Strategy.

President Ryan’s Curriculum Vitae is stunningly impressive as a lawyer clerking for a Chief Justice, arguing two cases before the Supreme Court, and much more. It is simply incomprehensible how a man in such a powerful office, possessing such talent and legal experience, was unable to convince his young student that she did the wrong thing by defacing the doors with profane, obscene language and should take it down. It is so incredible that it would make one wonder if there were not other considerations involved.

President Ryan in his initial response stated he “wanted a chance to speak with the student to hear her views and to share my own….” President Ryan’s response to this offensive speech was “the answer to speech that offends is more speech.” Where is Presidents Ryan’s speech to the student when they exchanged views? That was a very important speech to keep a record of. The public deserves to know what he said, what she said, and when and where the speech was delivered. So far President Ryan has not answered my questions posed to him in my original letter about this conversation.

Normally, when people make mistakes, they are held accountable. If a doctor with the greatest resume in the world operates on a person and makes a mistake, he can be held accountable. Instead of concluding his inaction was a mistake, you defend President Ryan and find that he deserves to be commended. Normally commendations are awarded for excellence and outstanding performances. The Do Nothing Strategy was anything but excellent. Every day those signs remain up is another day you will be hearing from more donors who will be telling you that there will be no more donations to the University of Virginia. President Ryan’s abrogation of his duty in this case is an egregious failure of leadership that could have resulted in his termination if he were running a business in the private sector.

My opinions have been based on my life’s experience as well as my legal education. I have managed many crises and have advised general counsels, boards of directors and CEOs with respect to specific strategies for managing them. Many of those companies were bigger than the University. To cite one example, I was retained by the Virginia Student Aid Foundation to conduct an internal investigation involving an NCAA investigation. The results of that investigation led to the firing of the head of the organization. That in turn led to the involvement of the University and its then President John Casteen. As his advisor, I prepared his remarks to be delivered to the Board of Visitors. It was a very controversial time, and the decision provoked a lot of criticism much coming from major donors. Despite that pressure, President Casteen confirmed to the Board that the decision to terminate was necessary and the right thing to do.

I would now like to focus on the Board’s role in adopting and continuing to approve of the Do Nothing Strategy. Mr. Heaphy’s client is the University and the public, not an individual student nor a group of students. The word counsel encompasses more than just being a lawyer who renders a legal opinion on a narrow legal issue. A good counsel understands that he should be informed by wisdom, experience, and common sense to find the best course of action to achieve a result that is in the best interest of his client. I do not know President Ryan nor any member of the board or counsel personally. However, the record and common sense would suggest that they are all colleagues.

Mr. Burt Ellis, who initially brought this matter to the attention of President Ryan on September 5, was interviewed by Robt Schilling on his Tuesday October 6 WINA radio show and recounted from the Lawn his story of what has happened. He documented the events as they occurred. The record clearly shows that members of the Board were involved throughout.

The public deserves an objective evaluation of this mismanagement. A recent editorial in the Cavalier Daily said “The University’s closed–door decisions do not benefit us.” The public needs to know what the discussions were behind closed doors. The documents relating to these discussions need to be made public. The attorney client privilege has been waived.

It has been suggested that the First Amendment arguments should be left to a court to decide. However, an analysis of Mr. Heaphy’s opinion is appropriate. His First Amendment argument relies on a series of Supreme Court cases. In every case, facts make the difference in the ultimate decision. None of the facts in any of the cases he cites are comparable to these and thus are distinguishable. For example: Cohen was an appeal of a disorderly conduct conviction of a man who wore a jacket labeled with the words “Fuck the draft” to a courthouse; Texas vs. Johnson struck down a criminal conviction of a man who burned the American flag at the 1984 Republican convention; Court of Missouri and Stanly vs. Magrathwas a student newspaper case.

When I was making a legal argument before United States District Court Judge Robert R. Merhige Jr., he told me “Mr. Daniel, you know there is more than one way to kill a snake.” I said, “I do.” The facts have shown that this matter could have been resolved with good judgment and common sense or by enforcing the Va. Code section 18.2-138. Therefore, the First Amendment Argument is irrelevant, as you have admitted.

In President Ryan’s email to me on October 5 he states, “We would be within our rights to intervene if a student caused physical damage to the Lawn doors, but that is not the situation in this case.” Although President Ryan does not cite the one criminal law that is relevant, Va. Code section 18.2-138 “…damaging or defacing public buildings or property,” it is clear that he is referring to this statute. However, he ignores the word defacing which does give him the right to intervene. This is quite remarkable since President Ryan does not have the legal authority to cancel out a word in the statute and therefore deceive the public. A judge would never allow it. In doing so he seeks to lessen the protection afforded to public buildings which is totally contrary to the intent of the law.

Mr. Heaphy’s interpretation of the statute is also inconsistent with the intent of the statute to protect public property. A prosecutor charging this criminal offense would not charge “damaging” the property if there was none. He would charge “defacing” the property. He interprets the statute to defend the student rather than enforcing it for the good of the University and the public.

There is a fundamental rule that applies to statutory interpretation. It is called the Plain Meaning Rule and President Ryan and every lawyer working on his behalf knows what it is. It is a perfect example of the KISS principle. Applying the Plain Meaning Rule means statutes are to be interpreted using the ordinary language of the statute. The statute must be read word for word and has to be interpreted according to the ordinary meaning of the language unless the statute defines some of the terms. There are no such definitions for the terms in this statute.

Ordinary words are given their ordinary meaning and technical terms are given their technical meaning. Property “damage” and “defacing” are ordinary words, and the definitions can be found in the dictionary.

Mr. Heaphy’s analysis of the statute seems to suggest that there is no difference between property “damaging” and “defacing.” The two words have two different meanings. Mr. Heaphy states that there is no evidence of property damage on the door, but the door has been defaced without damaging it. The threshold for finding property damage is very low. From one dollar to one thousand dollars is a misdemeanor. If the damage is over one thousand dollars it is a felony. An unbiased inspection of the door might in fact find some property damage.

His statement that “an attempt to classify this sign as one which defaces state property (i.e. Mr. Jefferson’s doors and not billboards) would rest solely on the offensive nature which implicates the First Amendment” is not correct. It rests on the fact that the signs are ugly and have changed the intent of Mr. Jefferson’s design. All the doors on the Lawn are meant to be harmonious in their appearance. All were meant to look the same. The defaced doors look like anything but the same as the others. Jefferson designed the doors to be doors, not billboards.

The First Amendment is no defense for the commission of a crime. Mr. Heaphy’s statement to the contrary is not supported by a single court decision, Supreme Court or otherwise. President Ryan’s and Mr. Heaphy’s tortured interpretation is highly irregular and a dishonest interpretation of the statute. They can’t rewrite the statute to justify not enforcing the law.

I commend the University for including on the grounds the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers. It is a beautiful piece of art with an important acknowledgement. It has become a part of this UNESCO site and deserves as much protection as the doors on Jefferson’s Lawn. At the same time, Jefferson’s doors deserve as much protection as the memorial. That is called equal enforcement of the law. I am sure that if anyone did anything to that memorial to deface it, it would be immediately removed.

As to whether the KKKOPS was a defamatory statement, I stand by my citation to The Restatement (Second) torts sec. 559 which lists “membership in the Ku Klux Klan” as the quintessential illustration of a defamatory statement. I did not assert as he seems to suggest that it was an actionable statement. The fact that it may not be actionable does not mean that the statement is not defamatory.

Suggesting that your police were affiliated with or part of the Ku Klux Klan is on its face an outrageously false accusation. The fact that neither you nor the Board have used your Freedom of Speech to condemn this is an outrage. You have allowed this defamatory statement to remain there even though the student made it public on television. She was quoted on September 16 by NBC29.com as saying “she hopes the sign will push the University to listen to student groups like the Black Student Alliance or community efforts to defund the police department.” You have never publicly denounced the false Ku Klux Klan statement. Don’t they deserve an apology?

Instead of changing your Do Nothing Strategy, you have doubled down on the “opinion without doubt.” You called in more lawyers and asked for more time to study and draft regulations. The last thing we needed was more lawyers and more bureaucratic excuses for delay. There is no wonder that lawyers are not highly regarded by the general population. Shakespeare said, “let’s kill all the lawyers.”

Your overriding concern for the students’ Freedom of Speech could have been handled with common sense when Mr. Ellis brought it to your attention. He told you, “shoot the blasted lawyers if you have to. Please use some commonsense even if the lawyers advise differently. This is disgusting.” You ignored his advice and have thereby created this crisis. My interest here is preserving history and bringing decorum to the public debate. This student and the others have other places on the Grounds where they can express and exercise their Freedom of Speech. I challenge President Ryan to offer those students his residence on Carr’s Hill as a place they can exercise their First Amendment right.

There are no more aggressive advocates for Free Speech than journalists. Brit Hume, an alumnus of UVA, is one of the most admired and respected journalists in the country. In a recent tweet he said this, ““Been following this controversy as a UVA alumnus. I very much support Freedom of Speech, but I think the writer of the letter cited here has a good argument. Too bad the school’s governing board doesn’t see it that way.” Too bad indeed.

At the end of any jury trial, the judge instructs the jury on the law and the standards to be applied to the facts. In turning over the case for the jury to decide there are normally a series of questions the judge proposes to the jury to be used in reaching the verdict. While I am not a judge nor on the jury in this case, these are some questions that must be answered:

  1. Was it a mistake to allow students to plaster their doors with unsightly junk on a UNESCO World Heritage Site?
  2. Was it an egregious mistake to ignore and permit the defacement of the doors in this manner?
  3. Could this situation have been avoided by using common sense and good judgement?
  4. Was it ludicrous to say that it will take almost a year to adopt a simple rule to protect a UNESCO World Heritage site?
  5. If there was a mistake that has cost the University 150 million dollars in donations, who made the mistake:
    a. President Ryan,
    b. The Board of Visitors,
    c. Mr. Heaphy or
    d. all of the above?
  6. If any of these public officials made that mistake and did not fulfill their duty to the public, how should they be held accountable?

I have friends who are bringing their son to visit the University. I am horrified at the thought of them walking down the Lawn with their son and seeing this disgrace. I have shown you now with the facts and the law how those signs and those doors can be cleaned up and restored to what they were intended to be, beautiful doors and architectural jewels, not billboards filled with trash and junk.

I have added as much speech to this public debate as I am going to add. It is now in the hands of the jury, the public, to continue the debate with the information they have and ought to have from FOIA. In exiting, I want to thank my fellow alumni/ae and all who share our concerns for Freedom of Speech. It is no time to remain silent. We are at a critical point in our country’s history and your voices must be heard loudly and clearly.

“Where would you be without Thomas Jefferson?” That is a question everyone needs to answer whether you work for the University, study at the University or are members of the local community. Your world would look much different than it does today. One of my high school teachers taught us to be humble and wise and grateful for what you have.

When I attended my 50th Class Reunion, President Sullivan in an address to us used this quote from Thomas Jefferson: “I retire from scenes of difficulty, anxiety, and contending passions to the Elysium of domestic affection & the … direction of my own affairs.”

This is what I am doing.

God Bless America, The Land I love.

Aubrey M. Daniel III
Class of 1963

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52 responses to “UVa Lawn Controversy: Daniel Strikes Again

  1. Baconator with extra cheese

    These UVA artilces are hilarious. The alumni grandstand and virtue signal fighting and paying for the “diversity makes us stronger” message. They are finally getting their diversity and now don’t like the ends.
    This isn’t the only institution in America changing rapidly. This is coming to your courthouse, board of supervisors, HOA, school board, school, and work. This ain’t the County Club anymore cracker. We’ll have public Nazi punching… and if you’re not anti-racist, anti-capitalist, and anti-colonial you’re the Nazi.

  2. Ya know, just spitballing here, but the Alumni Association could just file a suit against the student instead of all this letter writing.

    This is the most litigious nation on the planet. Surely there is some clever UVa Law School alumni who can cobble some perceived damages suffered by somebody to sue the student, or at least the University?

    • Reasonable question, Nancy. But there is the question of standing.

      It is Ryan and the BOV that are charged with defending the integrity of the World Heritage Site and the responsibility of carrying out Virginia Law in this matter of Va. Code section 18.2-138 “…damaging or defacing public buildings or property.

      I doubt the Alumni Association as an organization would touch this with a 10-ft. pole.

      It is the responsibility of Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney Joseph Platania to sue Mr. Ryan and UVa to enforce Va. Code section 18.2-138. As far as I know, he has not, but also as far as I know, he has not yet expressed an opinion.

      He is a Democrat because this is Charlottesville, but I don’t think that necessarily pre-disposes him on this issue.

      I will file a complaint with Mr. Platonia that attaches Aubrey Daniel’s letter.

  3. It’s honestly pretty depressing to see the good Mr. Daniel and his cohort 0f elderly, conservative, well-off donors *just now* realize that UVA does not serve their interests. In *2020.* Because of *a sign.* This stuff has been ongoing for decades and the money flowed regardless.

    One might think putting the $150M/year into a new, alternative Virginia institution of higher education would be a better investment, assuming such alumni actually want to promote what they feel UVA stands for and not, yknow, stroke their egos and have lovely dinners in historic buildings. Ah, such stewards of the Republic are noble indeed!

  4. I think I’m with nn. With all that Alumni money why hot a lawsuit?

    Or would all the letter-writing justifications get thrown out of court first day and they know it?

    I’d still like to see a poll of UVA Alumni on this issue. Maybe those letter writers can fund it?

    • And hell, imagine if they won! The sign might go, but it’s not as if one can litigate against institutional capture by a broad and relatively popular political faction. All these people have left is a symbolic victory, and they may not even get that.

  5. This isn’t really my fight, but I have to say, enough is enough. I really don’t want to read another impenetrable, rambling missive by Mr. Daniel about a couple of UVA undergrads putting up signs with the “F” word. I really don’t care how many “hits” this gives Bacons Rebellion. There are so many serious issues confronting us these days to be bothered with this low grade nonsense. We are in the middle of a pandemic that has killed 215,000 Americans, our economy is in the tank, we have bad race relations, we have a president who is either sick or mad or both, North Korea, China and Russia have upgraded their nuclear weapons and we could be facing an unprecedented Constitutional crisis over the election. Please, no more of this. I’m not going to waste four cups of morning coffee wading through this mess. Thanks.

    • It’s the Alumni Group version of “GET OFF MY LAWN”.

    • This guy seems to suffer from at least as much dementia as Joe Biden. How can the U.N. override the First Amendment? And we have a filthy bigoted candidate for VP who wants to impose unconstitutional religious tests on judges.

    • “There are so many serious issues confronting us these days to be bothered with this low grade nonsense.”

      It’s actually all related. If UVA is allowed to use tax dollars to churn out leftist nut jobs, then Virginia will eventually end up like Portland and Minneapolis. Leftist run cities are a disaster.

      Afraid to leave my home’: Residents describe city on the brink at Minneapolis committee meeting


      Wednesday night shooting leads to 66th homicide in Minneapolis


      • Universities produce droves of liberals ? Who knew? 😉

      • “It’s actually all related. If UVA is allowed to use tax dollars to churn out leftist nut jobs, then Virginia will eventually end up like Portland and Minneapolis.”

        Dude, have you gotten to know UVA grads under the age of 40? This isn’t some new phenomenon, and UVA isn’t nearly as crazed as a lot of universities out there.

        And of Richmond as a municipality, the various local DPV machines are decidedly Spanbergerite. Economically moderate and nominally woke centrist liberals with a wonky approach to public policy. Out-and-out radicalism is never gonna play in NoVA or VAB.

        • “UVA isn’t nearly as crazed as a lot of universities out there.”

          I’m supposed to be comforted by that?

          • My bet is if a poll were taken of UVA grads – it would still show a larger number of “progressives by far.

            What we have going on now is the Conservative squeaky wheels and the game is to screech as loud and as long as possible.

            UVA has, for as long as I can remember, NOT been seen as a “Conservative” bastion…

            And further, my bet is that there are a crap load of UVA grads in those “leftists” cities… no?

            How many UVA alumni are there compared to the 200 letter writers?

          • Shouldn’t Virginia taxpayers also have a say? That’s me.

          • My bet is that Virginians would also side with the University.

            When you look at polls about how citizens feel about systemic racism and what to do about it – they are not a minority.

          • I believe it’s possible to oppose racism and still show respect for the publicly funded elite University where you are fortunate enough to be receiving an education.

            I also believe it’s possible to oppose racism without virtue signally on a front door owned by the public, or using profanity is a public place.

            If Virginians think what’s going on at UVA is so great, then why would SCHEV object to them being informed about it?

    • We part here on the importance of stopping the takeover of American education by radicals who have declared their mission to create a new American revolution starting with the schools overriding the guidance of parents.

      I think that is the single most important issue facing America because it has the longest term implications. There is no vaccine.

      The movement abroad in the land to radicalize K-12 education with:
      – first the radicalization of young Ed school undergrads in schools like ex-Curry and then;
      – the radicalization of their K-12 students is well advanced in blue political strongholds.

      Americans, not just individual alumni, must stop it where it starts, the universities.

      We don’t elect the university clerisy, but we elect Governors, a General Assembly, school boards and Commonwealth’s Attorneys. Enforcing current laws would be a start.

    • And another serious issue is incivility that people of differing opinions have toward the “other side”. I was taught that using profanity in your speech was a sign of lack of vocabulary or the ability to articulate your point in a civil manner.

      • me too. You think liberals started the cussing about “woke” ? 😉

        • I can tell you I’ve never been around a conservative rally or march and heard (or seen) the F-bombs that appear to be prevalent at the “peaceful protests” or in general among the younger generations. But of course many of them get their opinions and behavioral lessons from athletes, entertainers, movies and music.

          • don’t pay much attention to Trump rallies or conservative Twitter and Facebook sites?


  6. Baconator with extra cheese

    I am fascinated that HBCUs haven’t made a huge public push during this unrest…. recruit the black sportsball players…. make a big deal about how the entire campus is a safe space…. scream for increased funding… etc.
    I can see an eventual black nationalist movement based in the HBCU system. Should be very interesting… especially when virtue signalling white kids start applying to the HBCUs and “gentrification” takes place.

    • There have been a couple big-name black prospects who’ve gone to play for HBCUs as sort of a protest move in recent years. But if playing for Ol Miss or Iowa State means an end to immiseration for you and your kin once you make it to the big leagues, well, I’d take that too. Social realities are downstream from economics.

      I don’t see white kids hitting Norfolk State in droves. The whole point of well-to-do wokeness is laundering lily-white UVA degrees and professional career tracks into something compatible with progressive identity, not to affect anything structural. IME the young Millennials and Zoomers most hip to woke politics are also those most hip to zero-sum professional status games, and tend to be those who went to top schools.

      To put it another way, what percentage of parents outraged over the TJHSST lottery are self-identified progressives? I’d say something like 70%. Symbolic nods to racial equity are all well and good when they benefit (or just don’t impact) your own kids, but are the very root of evil when they might knock your kid off his track to MIT or Carnegie Mellon.

    • Using a number of investigative techniques, my research tells my that Hampton University, an HBCU, is both in the Humanities, the “soft” sciences and in the crucial Ed school less radical than those departments at UVa.

      First, Hampton University is infinitely better led. President Dr. William R. Harvey, with whom I have shared several online conversations, is perhaps the most distinguished and accomplished university president in the state. I strongly recommend you read his short online biography at http://president.hamptonu.edu. Then there is UVa’s President Ryan, dissected above.

      Second, Hampton University’s Ed school still, as far as I can ascertain, is focused on educating K-12 students to succeed in the world we have, which it tries to improve but does not actively seek to overthrow.

      UVa’s ex-Curry School of Education on the other hand wants its graduates to educate K-12 students to reject the world we have, including:
      – all of the advances of the Enlightenment;
      – rationalism;
      – the concepts of personal agency and free will;
      – individual rights including individual property rights;
      – the concepts that underlay the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and especially its Bill of Rights;
      – federalism and state’s rights under the Constitution including the requirements for amendments;
      – capitalism and economic liberty; and
      – freedom of speech indeed individual freedoms of any kind. “People can do anything they wish as long as it’s mandatory.”

      So UVa could learn a lot from Hampton University, and I have made that point personally to Ryan. He does not seem to share my enthusiasm.

  7. “To put it another way, what percentage of parents outraged over the TJHSST lottery are self-identified progressives? I’d say something like 70%. Symbolic nods to racial equity are all well and good when they benefit (or just don’t impact) your own kids, but are the very root of evil when they might knock your kid off his track to MIT or Carnegie Mellon.”

    Absolutely correct. Many of them are the same parents who urge better mental health care for students after every gun incident but also showed up screaming when Newport Academy wanted to open a center for kids needing mental or emotional care.

    • What percentage of parents for ALL the Governor Schools would oppose a lottery?

      What percentage of economically disadvantaged parents would think it fair and equitable that access to opportunity depends on the wealth of the parent?

      • That’s kinda a red herring, Larry. Of course most parents would back a system by which their child would benefit. Social realities are downstream from economics.

        What I’m saying is: well-to-do suburbanites tend to cloak their well-to-do aspirations in progressive garb, right up to the point where it’s their neck on the chopping block. Then the rationalizations (and the parent emails) begin.

        • and I’m asking what percentage of them would want better opportunities – compared to the ones who have those opportunities and, in theory, would oppose more/better opportunities for others?

          IOW -if you have special school opportunities that only the well off can actually access, how will those not so well off and not getting access to those opportunities would favor changes that would help them?

          So you ask this question of ALL parents in the community – not just the well-to-do who got theirs…. right?

          Public School as a concept is inherently socialist. It purports to offer ever child an equal opportunity towards success. If that is not true and only some really have that access, then why should all parents support that?

          • “Public School as a concept is inherently socialist. It purports to offer ever child an equal opportunity towards success. If that is not true and only some really have that access, then why should all parents support that?”

            Because most parents will go knives-out for what they see as their kids’ best interests. It’s unreasonable to expect them to do anything else.

            In a country as discordant and fragmented as what we have now, there should be zero expectation that the voting/taxpaying body politic vote straight-ticket Rigorously Well Thought Out Solutions To Ethical Quandaries Party. My original point was that, yes, (sub)urban progressives in the 24-37 tax brackets can be gross hypocrites when it comes to the interests of their own progeny, no matter how enlightened their abstract idea of race is. My further point was that this is where a great deal of woke college insanity stems from: people papering over their material well-being with vague nods to equity. There’s nothing more upper middle-class than dissembling about just how wealthy you really are, and then tearing into school administrators when they seek to privilege the underprivileged.

            I’m all for a robust public schooling system and a magnet school lottery to boot — I just don’t expect many well-off people to be, and I don’t fault them for it. I just wish we could speak honestly about the dynamic at play here, because the progressive doublespeak by college students and their well-off parents has BR conservatives thinking an unscripted reprisal of Red Dawn is about to take place on UVA Grounds.

      • What percentage of all the “Larry the G’s” out there would have opposed a lottery being used in lieu of qualifications and merit when it came time for their college acceptance? Or getting that promotion at work?

        • well you use lotteries when everyone is supposed to have an equal chance at something because it’s the government offering that opportunity.

          I’m very familiar with lotteries. It’s how you get a launch permit for rivers out west. No matter how much money you got – it don’t matter, you have an equal chance at a launch date.

          There are many other circumstances where lotteries are used to provide equal opportunity at something.

          You’re confusing competing with qualifications for some opportunity verses no qualifications – everyone is the same because it’s the government and taxpayers paying for the opportunity and access needs to be fair and equitable.

          If you set qualifications for something – and more people apply than there are slots – what fair method would you use to afford each qualified an equal opportunity?

  8. Both my children went to a governor’s school and would have no problem with a lottery

  9. Baconator with extra cheese

    The TJ debacle proves it depends on the races.
    Does Ted Cruz’s kids get a golden ticket? They are biracial….. blonde, but biracial.

    • James Wyatt Whitehead V

      I think my daughter gets the “Thanks For Playing” ticket. 1/2 Virginian and 1/2 South Asian Indian. Disqualified I believe. So much for the 14th Amendment.

  10. Sending a letter to the Rector is about as useful as sending a message in a bottle to a flounder. Positions on the UVa Board of Visitors are a perk for major political donors. James Murray is a perfect example. He has personally donated $700,625 to Virginia politicians (per VPAP). For every dollar he’s donated to Republicans he’s donated $4.81 to Democrats. He was also the fellow who gave Tim Kaine free use of his private Caribbean island for use as a vacation spot. That little gift was valued at $18,000.

    Why does anybody think that the UVa Board of Visitors will do anything to contradict Ralph Northam’s hand picked president?

    UVa’s Board of Visitors is neither a cross-section of Virginians nor a cross section of UVa alumni. They are a cross section of multi-millionaire Democratic political donors.

    • Yes, true. Why? Because UVa. is no longer about educating Virginia’s students and/or preserving, enhancing, and advancing America’s intellectual legacy and heritage, ie, western civilization. Instead Virginia’s primary objective now is that of an organized business intent on enriching those who run UVa., and those who donate major sums to it, nothing more or less, save for its secondary and often related agenda that is promoting and advancing its own and its allies political agenda and power. Hence UVa’s indoctrination and coddling of its students who are now deemed commodities to be milked and used to advance UVa’s private and public interests far into the future.

  11. My understanding is that Ryan is DEFENDING the statue of Jefferson.

    No? NO credit given here in BR… eh?

    re: pubic school – if you take a look at the cost per kid then look at your own taxes – would you come anywhere close to paying that cost?

    How many taxpayers without kids in school does it take to send one kid to pubic school?

  12. Generally directed at James, Reed, Sherlock, and anyone else rightly incensed at the whole Jefferson thing.

    So, ok: your favorite institution is managed by obscenely wealthy liberal donors, staffed by leftist partisans, and deeply embedded in a national higher ed ecosystem which is on balance *even further left* than the aforementioned two groups. Your only recourse is to demand the (increasingly liberal) tax base act through their (increasingly liberal) elected representatives and…what? Cull tenured professors? Decimate UVA administration? If the GA takes action at all, it will be some short-lived committee which produces a not-very-actionable report which is never acted on in any case.

    Please — for all our sakes — just find a new favorite institution. It will save us all some heartache, and you guys most of all.

    • Regarding your last last claim, the question is why?

      • Folks on this blog (not necessarily you, but of a similar mind) routinely discuss the New Jersey-ification of Virginia, with all that entails politically. Such folks then pivot to planning the Great Defenestration of Rugby Road, and write as though they expect a Filler-Corn GA (or what lies in our future) to give two thumbs up. Where it matters, there is no political will for this — just a lot of grumbling.

    • As a sort-of-addendum: respectable conservatives have been lobbying their alma maters for decades to try and keep conservative academia in front of bright-eyed freshmen and not just in law school faculty lounges. This didn’t work. This, in fact, failed quite badly. This has been a running failure for a couple decades at least. Such efforts lose.


      If you (as a hypothetical manager) want to break the power of the academy, invest in internships and training programs for professional-track kids right out of high school. I lucked into one, and it did my career/profile and earning potential a world of good. It kept me out of the History Department lounge and put me in a place where I didn’t need to rely on the recommendation of Marxist dinosaurs or the acclaim of (increasingly liberal) preprofessional fraternities. The real power of the academy is that impressionable kids will conform to whatever path out of their parents’ basement seems the most exciting and rewarding — this is how young leftists are made.

      Conservatives: excite and reward the youth. For the love of God, don’t ask progressives to do this for you.

  13. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    UVA is offering course credit instead of grades due to stress and anxiety. Why not just matriculate this group now and move on to the next herd?

    • “UVA is offering course credit instead of grades due to stress and anxiety.”

      UVa. students have been under unusual and constant stress/ anxiety since June, 2o12 when Sullivan was reinstated and undertook her culture wars in alliance and under the direction of the O’bama / Biden White House. This included UVa.’s ginning up and keeping at a boil its bogus campus rape epidemic with its witch hunts, followed by UVa.’s chronic and systemic race baiting campaigns.

  14. No, my kids graduated in 2007 and 2009. It was a good experience. Good teachers and atmosphere. Diverse student body in terms of background and income. Creative kids.

  15. Err. Don’t think it was uva that ginned up the rape stuff. Try Rolling Stone.

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