Woke Privilege at the University of Richmond

Thomas Hall, a UR dorm building upgraded five years ago for $7.9 million.

by James A. Bacon

Faculty and students are up in arms at the University of Richmond,  demanding the renaming of buildings that are named after a president and long-time rector the segregationist era. Faculty have voted to approve a statement of “no confidence” in Rector Paul Queally and have called for him to resign. Meanwhile, the Black Student Coalition organized a march across campus recently, chanting, “No justice, no peace, no racist trustees.”

Read the list of demands in this Richmond Times-Dispatch article. Decide for yourself how self-indulgent they are. Just remember, this is an institution that costs rich families $74,600 a year for tuition, room, board, and other charges but provides an average need-based aid package of $53,900 to 39% of the student body.

I have have zero sympathy for anyone at UR complaining about anything. By virtue of attending this cloistered academic oasis, they’re all “privileged.” And that especially includes people getting steep tuition discounts, whatever their race or ethnicity.

UR dining facilities

Here’s what would impress me. Instead of marching and chanting, why don’t UR’s woke students do something to help someone who actually needs the help? Like who? Oh, I don’t know… maybe the 55% of black 3rd graders in Richmond city schools who failed their English Standards of Learning exams or the 46% could couldn’t pass their math exams? I suspect a lot of these children could benefit from tutoring.

That seems to be the outlook at the Richmond Read Center, which is looking for volunteer tutor-mentors. States the website: “Volunteers serve as Adult Literacy Tutors for our students, teaching reading, basic math, and digital skills. Volunteers may work in a teacher-led classroom or be paired one-to-one as a tutor with a student.”

Or how about helping children from the 55% of households in the City of Richmond who live in single-parent households? Big Brothers Big Sisters of Richmond is looking for volunteers, too. States the BBBS website:

More than 70% of kids on our waitlist are boys looking for a Big Brother. And a majority of those boys are African-American or Hispanic. The need in our community for youth to have a role model is more urgent than ever.

All it takes is a couple of hours each week to help someone realize their potential, and go on to achieve their brightest possible future.

How ironic that UR students are complaining that the university has only two black counselors to serve a student body that is 6% black. Counseling is most beneficial, the RTD informs us, when the counselor can identify with the client. Black students are demanding the university fund off-campus counseling services “to provide a supplement for the unique experiences and conditions Black students might face.”

I wonder if poor inner-city kids looking for a reading mentor or a big brother feel the same way. Do they, too, look at every relationship through a racial lens? Do they feel inadequately served when their mentors and big brothers don’t “look like them”?

The agitation about building names won’t create structural change. It won’t help the “marginalized.” It’s pure symbolism over substance. UR could cave in to every single demand being pushed upon the Board of Trustees and it wouldn’t improve the life of one person by one iota. What a waste of talent and energy. Wokism is all about advancing the power and privilege of cultural elites.

Share this article


(comments below)


(comments below)


34 responses to “Woke Privilege at the University of Richmond”

  1. Baconator with extra cheese Avatar
    Baconator with extra cheese

    Nice! I am thrilled that these campuses are having to face what they have taught and “supported”.
    I have a friend who lost a job for a non-profit because they are going in “another direction towards equity”. This friend and non-profit supported BLM and now she’s upset that her job will go to a BIPOC… she got exactly what she thought she wanted. Now these uppity universities can have thier day of reckoning.
    Walk the walk and all that….

  2. Rich people problems…

  3. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
    James Wyatt Whitehead

    A great way for Rector Paul Queally to double down is to mandate a community service requirement of all students and staff. 40 hours a semester is doable. 30 years ago when I was at VPI I joined a community service club. We had to do 40 hours of service a semester and keep track of it. In five semesters my total was 840 hours of service. It was a game changer for me. I literally lived the VPI motto of Ut Prosim: That I may serve. What I learned from all of those hours of service was equal in value to the college degree. More useful in many ways.

  4. LarrytheG Avatar

    I have to ask. If you are white and “never really noticed” the names on the buildings… would you think the same thing would be true of black folks?

    That, they would just attend a school with buildings named for segregationists and not really notice or have a negative feelings about it?

    And the “solution” to this is to suggest that folks go off and do community service?

    1. Wahoo'74 Avatar

      Then those students should never have applied or can transfer. One cannot erase history because events of 2 centuries ago hurt you.

      Has Yale changed its name? Are you aware that Elihu Yale was a “slave trader?” Look at the Yale News pathetic, hypocritical defense of why Yale should be exempt, stating that Elihu Yale was “not exceptional” during his times. Huh?

      Crass hypocrisy. UR should be turned on its head by the Ivies can look the other way because…..well….they can because they’re Ivies.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        It’s not “history” to insist that a building be named for a segregationist.

        That’s idolatry that one would force others to suffer.

        We cannot have a society where we respect each other if some insist on memorializing those who would subjugate others – as “history”.

        Time for those things to go.

        We do not idolize those who would discriminate against others and call it “history”

        What stays and what goes is up to those who would be discriminated against – not those who would support it.

        1. Nancy Naive Avatar
          Nancy Naive

          It is if the history you romantize is segregationist.

          1. Nancy I agree — we must do all we can to desegregate the race based Greek organizations and student groups — or have them all dissolved. Segregation [even the existence of names which are attached to it], for whatever reason, is unacceptable and should all be torn down

    2. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
      Dick Hall-Sizemore

      I doubt if most of the Black students on the UR campus ever thought about or wondered who Ryland or Freeman were, until now that is.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        So, black folks are really ignorant of the segregationists unless someone clues them in?

        I’m not insulting you, seriously, just asking a direct question. Do we think most blacks did not know roads named for Jefferson Davis were not aware of who he was?

        How much do white folks KNOW of what black folks know of racists, segregationists, history, etc?

        Even if they did not know to start with, once they did know… should they just suck it up?

        1. Did YOU know that Ryland was a segregationist before this recent issue came up?

          1. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive

            Did YOU care? Do you care now? See?

        2. Nancy Naive Avatar
          Nancy Naive

          Cheap shot, but then wide open.

          Like Steve, I was highly influenced by a stint in Paris. Unlike Steve, when I was there the graffiti said “Yankee go home,” which has one of two results. It either angers you or opens you.

          They don’t hate you for who you are, or what you have. They hate you for what you do.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            Well, not intended as a cheap shot. More intended as a ” Do white folks have the same perspective as black folks when it comes to issues like this”?

            Sometimes I get the impression that White folks have their views – and that’s that – end of discussion.

          2. You mean like defeating the German occupiers of France TWICE!?

      2. LarrytheG Avatar

        I apologize if what I responded insulted you. It was not my intent. I basically am asking to all – should white folks put themselves in black folks shoes in gaining perspective in these kinds of issues?

        It seems sometimes that white folks just defend their perspectives as white folks and just flat out reject the narratives coming from black folks and at the same time just grouping everyone (including other whites) who have that other perspective as “woke”.

        Is it “woke” for a white person to put themselves in a black persons shoes on these issues?

    3. Did you know the life history of every person for whom a building was named on the campus where you attended college?

      If not, why not?

      Did the “black folks” with whom you attended college know the life history of every person for whom a building was named on the campus?

      If not, did you educate them so they could be as ‘woke’ as you?

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        Not the question. What happens when you do find out?

        what then?

        in terms of “educate”. We are ALL ignorant – just on different subjects. The question is what happens when you learn something you did not know before? Does it change you?

  5. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    I have to agree with your comments, although it seems to me that every college generation has to have a cause. College students will be college students.

    One of the complaints of the students is that the administration and the Board of Visitors do not listen to the concerns of the students. As I read these accounts and their comments, I can’t help feeling that what they are really complaining about is that the administration and the Board will not do what the students want. “Listening to” and “agreeing with” are two different things, which they don’t seem to understand.

    The Board is going to give in. It has appointed a subcommittee to establish principles on renaming, “ensuring a fresh start.” What seemed to be the turning point were votes by the faculty senate first to censure the rector and then one of no-confidence in the rector. The rector, Paul Queally, probably did himself in with comments referring to students as Black, Brown, and “regular students”. He also reportedly interrupted and demeaned a Black employee in a meeting in which the issues were supposed to be discussed. Finally, the Board and the school are beginning to hear from alumni, threatening to withhold donations.

  6. DJRippert Avatar

    Meanwhile, in Charlottesville …

    The mayor blathers on about how much she hates the city while a Med school student gets expelled for debating the definition of “microaggression”:


  7. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    So, is Liberty more radical leftist than Bob Jones? I like to watch.

  8. DJRippert Avatar

    The commonwealth of Virginia was named after Queen Elizabeth I, The Virgin Queen. Elizabeth was, as I understand it, a founder of the African slave trade through John Hawkyns. How can progressive people stand to live in a state named after one of the “founding mothers” of slave trade in America?


    Both Virginia and West Virginia need new names.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      and not also Maryland?

      1. DJRippert Avatar

        Henrietta Marie (called Queen Mary against her wishes) was the French Catholic wife of Charles I. Charles I granted royal licenses to a syndicate of slave traders allowing them to transport slaves from Guinea. Queen Elizabeth I was more directly involved in starting up the slave trade but Henrietta Marie was in the mix too. Then, there’s Georgia – named after King George II. The Carolinas were named after King George I (Carolus is “George” in Latin). Tennessee is based on a Cherokee wword so that’s cultural appropriation. Yeah, we have a lot of renaming to do.

    2. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
      James Wyatt Whitehead

      I have a name! Byrdland.

  9. Eric the half a troll Avatar
    Eric the half a troll

    Instead of an either/or, perhaps they should both change the names of the buildings and perform community service. BTW, how do you know the “woke students” are not performing service in the community? I suspect a number of them are indeed.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      yes, but obviously not enough, cuz they still got time to kick up a fuss about the building names… 😉

  10. Wahoo'74 Avatar

    Once again you nailed it, Jim. Our oldest daughter is a Class of ’10 UR alumna. She was very involved as a student – part time work at the cafeteria to help us pay the steep tuition bill; member of the Honor Board; JV lacrosse coach at Deep Run high school; coaching a basketball clinic for Richmond City kids (to your core point) who came to campus for lessons.

    She graduated with a summa cum laude 3.8 GPA. Somehow she found time to give back to the community by helping young girls and was a great mentor. Amazingly, she never found time to research the names on buildings, because she was too busy helping others, studying hard, and looking forward with her life.

    My advice to the current crop of UR students: quit complaining, help others, work hard and get on with your lives. Stop demanding others need to bend over for you. Look hard into a mirror and realize only you can better yourselves.

    1. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      Be more, uh,… white?

  11. Stephen Haner Avatar
    Stephen Haner

    It is very hard to take these people seriously, if this is their deep passionate cause. Remove the names of dead white guys from the buildings and then what? What a snipe hunt.

    The single most important tactic to remove barriers, overcome poverty, etc is education. What has the Woke Left done over the past year? Guarantee that millions of financially challenged kids have no access to school, and they’re not done with that yet. They want and need a permanent underclass.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      so… “don’t pay attention to the fact that we still recognize segregationists as “history”, no, pay more attention to the fact that you are still facing barriers to true equality… so worry about that more?

      That does not sound like a good message to me.

      Sorta sounds like – “Yeah, not only are the buildings still named for segregationists but we are also still denying you access to a decent education also”.


      1. You are simply unbelievable.


        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          Really? And not you?

  12. Hey! Did you consider that many of the Black students asking that the buildings be renamed come from the low-income Black communities that you speak of?? :)) did you consider that they are over-worked tutoring these Black students and protesting on campus? As well as maintaining great GPA’s and carrying every campus initiative on their backs 🙂

Leave a Reply