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Student Paper at UVA Demands School Remove All References to Thomas Jefferson

Student Paper at UVA Demands School Remove All References to Thomas Jefferson

“These buildings must be renamed and memorials removed.”

This battle has been going on at UVA for years now. These student activists hold themselves in such a high regard to think that they have more importance than Jefferson, who founded the school.

The College Fix reports:

UVA student paper demands removal of all things Thomas Jefferson

The University of Virginia student paper used the fifth anniversary of the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally to demand the removal of all references to school founder Thomas Jefferson.

The 2017 march involving white nationalists (which resulted in one death) became a lightning rod for progressives who used the incident to, among other things, compare due process to Naziismrip Donald Trump and hold culpable “white society at large.”

The city of Charlottesville ended up canceling its annual Thomas Jefferson birthday celebration, opting instead to repackage the date as “Liberation and Freedom Day.”

In an August 11 editorialThe Cavalier Daily editors write that UVA President Jim Ryan’s recent pronouncement about “the importance of preparing students to be citizen leaders” means the university must “create a physical environment that reflects [a] commitment to equality and [a] disavowal of white supremacy.”

This means an erasure of all things Jefferson — and that of others.

“There is a reason why Charlottesville’s local Klu Klux Klan Chapter hosted its inauguration ceremony at Jefferson’s Monticello tomb,” the editors write. “There is a reason why white supremacists gathered with torches around Jefferson’s statue on the north side of the Rotunda. There is a reason why they felt comfortable marching through Grounds. Our physical environment — from statues to building names to Jefferson’s overwhelming presence — exalts people who held the same beliefs as the repugnant white supremacists in attendance at the ‘Unite the Right’ rally.”

They conclude: “These buildings must be renamed and memorials removed.”

The editors also proclaim all UVA students should be required to learn about the school’s “racist roots” and “Unite the Right” march “over the course of their four years.” They recount how their own publication played a role in maintaining whiteness:

Citizen leadership requires taking accountability. To be clear, we vehemently oppose the previous editorials written shortly before and shortly after the events of Aug. 11 and 12 that ignored institutionalized racism and misdirected blame to inappropriate bodies. In 2017, The Cavalier Daily was part of the larger media system that exacerbated the harmful effects of the “Unite the Right” rally. It would be hypocritical to write this editorial today without recognizing these failures and rededicating ourselves to our mission statement of performing a public service.

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Comments

The Gentle Grizzly | August 17, 2022 at 1:46 pm

Aww. They’re so cute when you give them a newspaper to play with.

How about expelling all students that object to the founder of their university?

Let them vote with their feet! It’s not like there aren’t “studies” programs at other institutions of leftist learning…

I believe that students should vote with their feet. The University of Virginia turns away many qualified students each year, and can easily do without those students who object to Thomas Jefferson without examining the historic context of his words and deeds.

Maybe LIF can hold a fundraiser and buy them one-way bus tickets to Oberlin, Ohio..

All these little twits have done is provide yet another rationale for total federal and state defunding of higher education.

It’s a wonder they chose to attend UVA.
Are they willing to bulldoze the buildings too?

Those students are too ignorant of American history to understand how Thomas Jefferson and the other founding fathers made it possible for them to enjoy the freedoms and benefits of a free and independent country. Maybe they should continue their education in socialist ways in Venezuela.

Thomas Jefferson, the great proponent of having education supplied by the government. Sigh.

Funny, the inmates running the asylum.

I long for the day when a university president has the guts to publish a one-word op-ed in the student paper.

“No”

As a UVA law graduate, I am disgusted and embarrassed by the position of the school paper. I blame this on modern, liberal historians, who have successfully sold the public on a narrative that Jefferson, despite having done some good things, was an unpardonable hypocrite because he owned slaves.

If these historians were lawyers, they would be guilty of ineffective assistance of counsel, for they utterly fail to place Jefferson’s conduct in context. As the great Thomas Sowell has written, there was never any practical possibility that Jefferson would or could have freed his slaves. As a moral matter, Jefferson and the most prominent founding fathers believed slavery was wrong, but that mass casualties, including perhaps their own and those of their families, was worse. Most people from their time, including many abolitionists, believed that freeing the slaves en masse would lead to violent conflict, just as it did in Haiti. Jefferson summed it up best in his famous quote regarding slavery [paraphrasing slightly] “We have the wolf by the ears and can neither safely hold him nor let him go. On the one scale is justice, and in the other, self preservation.” They also believed that the slaves were ill equipped to function in society, and the struggles of slaves, including their shortened lifespans, in the decades immediately following the civil war, vindicate those beliefs.

Then there were legal constraints. Before the revolution, it was illegal to free slaves without the King’s permission, which was rarely granted. Afterward, most of the slave owning founders owned plantations encumbered by too much debt to be able to free their slaves. Many of the slaves were also dower slaves for whom they had the obligation to provide but lacked the power to free.

Jefferson’s works against the institution of slavery are also despicably ignored. Today’s historians sport a narrative that he talked a good game but did not act on his words. The truth is that no individual ever did more damage to the institution than Jefferson, and he ardently attempted to do even more.

Jefferson’s Declaration laid the moral, political, and legal foundation for the eradication of a five to six thousand year old institution that, in his day, was virtually unquestioned anywhere in the world. It was the founders’ elevation of the concept of liberty that made the evil of slavery apparent. And his original draft tried to go even further, containing an entire paragraph denouncing slavery.

Jefferson aggressively attacked the institution throughout his life. He supported anti-slavery legislation while serving in Virginia’s General Assembly in his twenties, wrote the Declaration in his early thirties, risked his life and applied all of his talents in support of the revolution for ten years, attempted to prevent the expansion of slavery west of the coastal states in his forties (succeeding in the northern ones) and, as President in his sixties, successfully lobbied Congress to outlaw the transatlantic slave trade, signing the legislation himself. The latter accomplishment had been a lifelong quest for him.

If UVA ( and better yet, our public schools) would require all students to learn of Jefferson’s efforts and accomplishments against slavery, and the reasons why he and other prominent founding fathers did not free their slaves prior to their deaths, perhaps the campaign to cancel Jefferson and these other great men would stop.