UVa’s Invasive, Ubiquitous DEI Program, Its President and the New Board of Visitors

UVa President James Ryan Courtesy of the University

by James C. Sherlock

As a public service and a primer for new UVa Board of Visitors members, I will offer here a brief summary of the extent and costs in dollars, time, distraction and suppression of debate by the University’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program.

Put briefly, they are everywhere, overseeing everything at the University.

On that subject, Victor David Hanson has written:

At a time of impending recession, runaway inflation, and climbing interest rates, universities are charging students thousands of dollars in increased tuition and fees to subsidize an unproductive diversity, equity, and inclusion industry. And like all good commissariats, the DEI apparatchiks produce no research, do no teaching, and bully and repress those who do.

Their chief legacy is the millions of opportunistic mediocrities emerging from the shadows to mouth wokester shibboleths about climate change, diversity, equity, and inclusion, identity politics, and transgenderism, while damning the customs, traditions, history, and values of a prior society that alone is responsible for their very affluence and leisure.

A harsh critique, certainly. Perhaps it does not apply to the DEI program at the University of Virginia.

It is up to the Board of Visitors to examine whether Mr. Hanson’s description accurately describes that program and, if so, to make changes.

I will offer here a brief and assuredly incomplete accounting of that DEI bureaucracy and its hold on UVa’s President to let readers get an idea of both its scope and its penetration of the University.


The University of Virginia (“UVA”) does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, pregnancy (including childbirth and related conditions), race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status, and family medical or genetic information.

No one would want any of those groups to be discriminated against. It is the definition of what constitutes discrimination that the University, at its peril, leaves to Mr. Hanson’s commissariats.

First, at the heights of the administration, the University has a Vice President for DEI.

Thirteen schools and the library of the University have at least one Associate Dean or Director for Diversity and Inclusion. The Darden School of Business, not to be outdone, has two.

These 14 positions, to me, are the heart of the matter of academic freedom. If any professor, instructor, researcher or student does not feel threatened by these political commissars, that person does not understand their purpose. And will likely discover it.

In 2020, 57% of University of Virginia undergraduates answered a question, in the largest survey of student opinion ever undertaken, that they had been intimidated from expressing their opinions; 79% of students self-identifying as conservatives responded that they had been intimidated. Those were the ones that did not express their opinions.

No word on what happened to those that did.

The University also assures that no board or panel at the University is without DEI oversight.

For example, the Advisory Board of the University’s new Karsh Institute of Democracy features Deborah Archer, president, ACLU;  co-faculty director, Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law; co-director, Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Program, New York University School of Law.

She should keep it in line.

The University’s Division for DEI has fourteen headquarters employees. It oversees:

  1. Center for Community Partnerships – seven full time employees;
  2. The Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights is rebuilding its website. No personnel listed. This office runs two programs that are required for federal compliance, the University ADA Office and Title IX Office;
  3. Disability Advocacy & Action Committee;
  4. Diversity Council;
  5. President Ryan’s Racial Equity Task Force, which has advised racial equity initiatives on infrastructure and investment, access, climate, intergroup relations, scholarships, and healing and repair (such as statue removal and contextualization and a new, lavishly funded academic program on ‘Race, Place and Equity’ with “deans from many of UVA’s schools already committing to participate”);
  6. Native & Indigenous Relations Community (NIRC);
  7. Women’s Leadership Council, and;
  8. Five Employee Resource Groups
    • Black Faculty and Staff Employee Resource Group
    • LGBT Committee
    • Latinx Employee Resource Group
    • Military Service Veteran Employee Resource Group
    • Organization of Employees from Africa

The University also has an Equity Center. You will be pleased to know that

The Equity Center will tangibly redress racial and economic inequity in university communities by advancing a transformative approach to the fundamental research mission, which will, in turn, reform institutional values, pedagogy, and operations.

A “transformative approach to the fundamental research mission.”

Personally, I always support the airing of new ideas. It would be interesting in this case, however, to find out why the university’s research mission needs to be transformed before entertaining ideas on how to transform it, and to what.

The leadership page of the Equity Center lists 43 employees. They have such titles as: Executive Director; a Local Steering Committee Member, Institutional Inequality; Director of Equitable Analysis; Faculty Director, Design Justice; Faculty Director, Youth Education Pipeline with several local steering committee members; a Local Steering Committee Member, Ground Theory of Structural Racism; a Director of Community Research; a Faculty Director, Institutional Inequality; a National Advisory Committee, Equity Center Co-Founder; Faculty Director, Grounded Theory of Structural Racism; Faculty Director of the Equity Center; Doctoral Fellow, School of Education, Youth Education Pipeline;  Sound Justice Lab Postdoctoral Research Associate; Arts Research Program Manager; Youth Pipeline Director; Educational Equity Data Scientist; and Faculty Leader, Youth Education Pipeline Programs.

School of Education Youth Education Pipeline indeed.

The Equity Center, in partnership with the Office of the President and the Office of DEI, has an Institutional Inequality Initiative that seeks reparations in their quest for equity and racial justice.

In order to enact our mission of redressing inequity within the communities we are embedded, it is necessary for us as a public institution of higher education to continue to build our capacity for equity and racial justice. From the level of executive leadership through each internal stakeholder group, including students, staff and faculty, we need to develop institutional equity literacy with common understandings of principles of equity, historical underpinnings of our social location, and methods of redress, including respectful community engagement and scholarships and reparations.

I suspect that is enough to let us understand, in part, why tuition is going up and President Ryan’s calendar is so booked up.

And why he sat and took it while a student who had violated the terms of her residential contract with the University by placing a F… UVa sign on her door on the Lawn, not only got a personal meeting with the President of the University, but lectured him on her status as a minority, lack of ADA accessibility on the Lawn (a World Heritage site), freedom of speech, white supremacy and the university police.

Hira Azher, who introduces herself as a Muslim woman of color, lectured Ryan:

I think there needs to be serious conversation about how UVA is an exploitative institution with UVA students, as well as like with the Charlottesville community, as well as how UPD is unnecessary. And that there’s no reason for us to have such a close relationship with CPD as well. How, the ways in which student self-governance is exploitative and just at the core of it, like there’s no denying that white supremacy and settler colonialism are like foundational and built into this university.

She had lots more to say along that line.

It is not only possible that she learned all of that at President Ryan’s university, it is impossible to believe she could have reached her fourth year without absorbing it.

Ryan’s response, when he finally got a word in was:

Alright, um, so some of the reactions, so, um, you know, I’m sure you’re receiving a lot of emails. I’m receiving a lot of emails. Um, a lot of the reaction is to just “fuck UVA” and the, just the profanity. Um, and I think that precludes a lot of people from actually thinking about what the rest of it is. I also think the KKK Cops, um, stops a lot of people in their tracks who think it’s basically an epithet. Um, so I’m curious, like how, how do you respond to that, right? That is completely fine to raise complaints about these issues, um, and, and, and, um, and, and concerns about them, many of which I share, but, but a lot of the reaction I’m seeing anyway, it’s just as a visceral reaction to the headline, a subsidiary reaction to, wow, are you saying all cops are members of the KKK? And I think that, that stops a lot of people from thinking about the valid points that you’re raising. And I, I’m just curious, like, how do you think about that? And if you were me, how would you think about that? (emphasis added)

That certainly put her in her place.

It is up to the new members of the Board of Visitors to decide whether this massive DEI bureaucracy and its wide and deep penetration of the entire University and all its works is proportional to the mission and representative of the culture and priorities of a public university.

And whether the University has the right President.

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38 responses to “UVa’s Invasive, Ubiquitous DEI Program, Its President and the New Board of Visitors”

  1. I’d love to see the MEASURABLE career objectives for all those positions and annually if they were met, exceeded, or failed to achieve…..next up electricity farting unicorns….

  2. Virginia Gentleman Avatar
    Virginia Gentleman

    Oh boy – another diatribe attacking DEI. Throw in some references to woke-ism and a little CRT bashing, mix it up with a dash of monument removing, a sprinkle of mask complaining, and we get the Bacon Rebellion.

    1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
      James C. Sherlock

      You get the facts on the Grounds. All of the references are linked for your reading enjoyment. I presume you approve, so enjoy. Have a nice rest of your 4th of July weekend, assuming you still celebrate it.

      1. James McCarthy Avatar
        James McCarthy

        Hopefully, soon you will realize your snark is ineffective. and only reflects upon the real you. Oddly, you did not suggest Virginia Gentleman stop contributing to BR.

        1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
          James C. Sherlock

          Snark? I meant every word.

          VG purports to despise BR. Yet here he is reading and commenting on it regularly.

          This article did three things:
          – pulled back the curtain on the bloated and invasive infrastructure of DEI at the a public university in Virginia;
          – showed its costs in costs in money, time, research integrity and academic freedom; and
          – demonstrated how it has challenged the judgment and dignity of the President of the university.

          All of that was written with links to and direct quotes from University references.

          It’s called journalism.

          If he wishes to challenge those facts and quotes, he should proceed.

          If, on the other hand, he is upset that they are exposed, well, to quote the great John Wayne, life is tough.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            there might be some discussion with regard to what journalism is and is not….unless one has a rather expansive view of one’s own stuff….

    2. James McCarthy Avatar
      James McCarthy

      Be careful. As the article notes “they are everywhere.” The campaign against the U President is non-stop. The DEI Devil incarnate. Exhausting.

      1. Virginia Gentleman Avatar
        Virginia Gentleman

        Stay tuned, next week, we will go back to VMI and learn about the evils of DEI there. Reminds me of the saying that only the cheaters who have been under the bed look under the bed.

        1. James McCarthy Avatar
          James McCarthy

          Carp is not only a fish. It is a way of life on BR.

        2. LarrytheG Avatar

          ya’ll have got the dance theme here at BR.

          They have different songs , but they’re all the same dance !

          UVA today, UofR and W&L last week, it’ll circle back to VMI and whatever other “woke” target of opportunity comes along next week.

          It’s a veritable Horn of Plenty!

        3. James C. Sherlock Avatar
          James C. Sherlock

          Read my reply to Mr. McCarthy above. it was meant for you as well.

      2. James C. Sherlock Avatar
        James C. Sherlock

        We now have at least four horseman of the far left riding here. You, VG, Nancy and Eric the Half a Troll.

        Larry, at least, seems sincere.

        Should we feel blessed that you are such utterly faithful readers, or is your presence here paid by the word? Inquiring minds want to know.

        1. Virginia Gentleman Avatar
          Virginia Gentleman

          If you were getting paid for your words, someone would be broke.

          1. Lefty665 Avatar

            Nah, they’re deeply discounted.

          2. LarrytheG Avatar


        2. vicnicholls Avatar

          Be interesting to trace those who hide behind a fake name and to see who they really are AND it be made public. Like how folks did LoTT (Libs of Tic Toc).

  3. David Bither Avatar
    David Bither

    DIE normalizes further intellectual decay in our American culture and is antithetical to the Republic’s founding principles. As with many of today’s dictates it is premised on “newspeak” that is needed for “red” to be the new “blue” and for “go” actually means “stop.” To achieve this, DIE purveyors have rejecting the last 800 years of intellectual advancement, from the Renaissance, thru the Reformation, to the Enlightenment. The “old” method was to propose and idea and then have it tested by open discussion and debate before it was or was not accepted to have meaning. This led to unprecedented political, social, and economic advancement.

    The Thuggies of today choke off debate and impose the edict of “It is so because I said it is so.” Our betters believe that no supporting evidence or defense is now needed.

    The use of Diversity is a prime example. DIE acolytes ignore things like intellect, leadership, acumen, and other measures of diversification within a citizenry. They focus on narrow and meaningless attributes such as levels of melanin and sexual proclivity and ignore the fact that true diversity lies with the individual not within the group. This close-minded approach, whether intended or not, narrows the field of ideas to be assessed. This “Diversity” results in homogeneity, the opposite of the meaning of the word.

    From its application, it’s readily apparent that “Inclusion” is being used — much like Diversity – in the inverse of the word’s meaning. As a goal, our Republic has already achieved this guarantee through enshrined, constitutionally protected rights to due process and equal protection under the law and with a myriad of laws and statures that further protect civil liberties. Inclusion happens naturally in our Republic. There are legal recourses when it does not. To regulate inclusion via quotas and tokenism – which is what DIE promotes – is, in and of itself, exclusionary and nonsensical.

    Equity is incompatible with the American ideals of personal freedom, liberty, and equality. Natural equity will never occur in that diversity (here the true meaning of the word) of an individual’s parental guidance, education, opportunity, and personal drive and character determine how one’s life unfolds. Equity in achieving desired goals such as equal outcomes require force or, at the very least, coercion. For this to happen, the state (or governing group with authority) must subvert the individual and impose those constraints needed to orchestrate the stated outcome. At best, this results in suboptimal performance. At worst, it makes the state the author of our success (or failure) rather than the individual. This is the root cause of tyranny and the antithesis of the idea of America.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      re: ” true diversity lies with the individual not within the group. ”

      ah, you must be referring to the latest SCOTUS judge?

  4. walter smith Avatar
    walter smith

    I love that the Know Nothings know nothing and just make the accusations without actually engaging, and that is because they would lose. Mr. Sherlock’s article scratches the surface. It goes so much deeper. Would you like to see Kevin McDonald’s business plan (he reports directly to The Great and Good One)? His contract? How about the admissions stats? How did 52% of offers go to “people of color”? Were the white applicants just really bad? It would imply some degree of standard deviations at like a 100 year level to get that bad at once. Would you like to see the peer evaluation rubrics (old and new) that require the Departmental DEI (yes, each department is supposed to have a DEI) sit in at the initial meeting to ensure there are no implicit biases? How about next year’s affirmative required DEI fealty oath? Do you know I have asked UVA’s EOCR office (which is supposed to enforce the Non-Discrimination policy) to respond 16 times to various actions – like is inclusive excellence racist and how is it defined? Or is the DEI fealty oath illegal compelled speech? Or is it illegal political orientation bias? Is the fact that UVA employees contribute 95% to Democrats disparate impact evidence of political orientation bias?
    How about Jim Ryan’s Great and Good 2030 plan? Besides the insult of The Great and Good One indicating UVA wasn’t “good” until he brought his enlightened self to UVA (Hail Messiah Jim!), do you understand that the “Strategic Investment Fund” is really just a slush fund to virtue signal JR’s “goodness?” The SIF recently announced $60 million on some environmental boondoggle, as opposed to, you know, lowering tuition. And the BOV approved 1500 “affordable housing” units in conjunction with Charlottesville and Albemarle…which has what to do with educating students?
    Check out the websites yourself…
    How do you define “inclusive excellence?”
    I am all for excellence. Except in this case it is measured by race and sex and UVA can’t admit it, so they hide behind euphemisms.
    It’s illegal AND counter-productive. Funny thing, people wanted to be treated as individuals…because they are!
    Just a new version of racism…disguised as benevolence.
    I am now the liberal with the belief in MLK’s wish for his children and grandchildren to be judged by the content of character.

      1. walter smith Avatar
        walter smith

        Larry – seriously – do you read anything you post as a refutation?
        Or does the DNC supply you the supposed debunking point and you mindlessly post it?
        I think that is the answer….
        Oh, let me go find ONE thing that disagrees and post it as proof when the entire academic/”journalistic”/political media is one hive mind…

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          Walter, I swear the words BOT come to mind sometimes …

          I doubt seriously if MLK were alive today that you’d be admiring the content of his character if he marched for BLM – right?

          Would MLK march for BLM? Ya Think?

          Ya’ll would not be bosom buddies.

          You’d probably be admiring Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima, Amos and Andy. Right?

          1. walter smith Avatar
            walter smith

            He would not march with Burn Loot Murder…oops – Buy Large Mansions. Which one is it?
            Hey, did you know he wasn’t perfect?
            Hey, did you also know he was a preacher and used the (evil and dangerous) Bible to make his arguments?
            And thanks for the racist insults at the end. Have you insulted Clarence Thomas yet today for not staying on the plantation where he belongs as your obedient lapdog?

          2. LarrytheG Avatar

            MLK was not perfect and J. Edgar Hoover made sure everyone knew it, right?

            I’d give a pretty penny to hear conversations between Clarence and Ketanji! 😉

            So, she got selected because she’s a black woman, not the content of her character?

          3. walter smith Avatar
            walter smith

            Yes. As did Kamala. And Pete got selected for being gay and Rachel Levine for being trans. But remember, KBJ isn’t a biologist and can’t tell us what a woman is, while all you racist Leftists insist she’s the first black woman Justice… It’s just so confusing! KBJ is probably smart, but she is clearly just another Far Left hack, with no interest in the Constitution and only concerned with the outcome…

          4. LarrytheG Avatar


          5. walter smith Avatar
            walter smith

            Not what I said Larry, and, as usual, you have addressed none of the points made. But it is interesting…the inherent racism of Leftists…
            Many of the appointments have been made for check the box reasons. Seriously, Pete Buttigieg is the best for transportation? Levine for Surgeon General? They were selected to check a box. Not for excellence. Address the article – Sherlock’s points and mine and explain why the criticisms are invalid in your opinion.

          6. LarrytheG Avatar

            Are there qualifications for these posts?

            Did they meet those qualifications?

            if they had to be the “best” – when they were sent to be confirmed – all the wacadoodles would be showing their “best” lists… right?

            So the standard is you gotta be qualified, right?

            Same way you get into college or get a job or get into the military or get a promotion.


            Your “points”? you really want each and every one of them responded to?

            sorry guy.. you’re driving me bonkers as it is…

            I think you are sincere but you have one heck of a potty mouth!

  5. Lefty665 Avatar

    Long ago (early 80s) when my brother in law was at Darden it was all white male. The gossip at his graduation was that there was going to be a woman in the incoming class in the fall. The only black faces were the gentlemen in tuxes who assisted the ladies from their cars. Now there are 2 associate deans for DIE. How things change.

    1. walter smith Avatar
      walter smith

      Hmmm… this is not true. I graduated from Law and Business in 1984. There were plenty of women, and people of dark complexion, including foreigners. It was not all white male. I couldn’t tell you the exact nose count cuz back then people were individuals, not their groups…

      1. Lefty665 Avatar

        Hmmm your own self…You may have been a little after him. He was in the MBA program. It was 100% white male. I attended the graduation. The prospective admission of a woman was a topic of chatter among the graduates, and there were no black faces in that crew. It startled me enough I remembered it.

        1. walter smith Avatar
          walter smith

          Must have been 1970s. I went from 1981 to 1984.

          1. Lefty665 Avatar

            My only exposure was to the graduate program through him, I went to RPI/VCU. He always referred it grandly as The Darden Masters Program. If they had undergraduates, and it sounds like they did from your dates of attendance, I was not aware of it. If so, that may have had a more representative composition, and thus our differing recollections. HP dumped him with the recession and he went back to school for an MBA. He would have graduated in ’81 or ’82.

  6. vicnicholls Avatar

    Jim don’t be so sure. I can think of at least several schools where the disabled are 2nd class citizens. Or thought of as helpless victims who haven’t clue one how to advocate for themselves and refuse to teach them how to do it.

    1. Lefty665 Avatar

      There are several kinds of disabilities people can have, physical, mental and intellectual. I don’t doubt your point, but it might help to define things a little more.

      1. vicnicholls Avatar

        It doesn’t matter – they’re all lumped together. Not on the wheel of any intersectionality.

  7. William O'Keefe Avatar
    William O’Keefe

    So tell me again why we need an exploding bureaucracy instead of just being guided by the principles that all are created equal and free speech should be guided by existing law?

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