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UVA has been overrun by ‘Wokeness,’ according to DEI critic appointed to Board of Visitors

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Gov. Glenn Youngkin is taking direct aim at University of Virginia President Jim Ryan’s push for diversity, equity and inclusion.

Because, diversity, equity, inclusion, they’re all bad, bad, bad, depending on, you know, how White you are.

Youngkin announced four appointments to the UVA Board of Visitors last week, including Double ‘Hoo Bert Ellis, the CEO of Ellis Communications, an Atlanta-based, early-stage venture capital firm, and the president of The Jefferson Council, a rightist alum organization formed in 2021 that claims it wants to preserve free speech, promote intellectual diversity and protect the legacy of Thomas Jefferson.

You can see where this is going.

Ellis wrote in a blog post in December that the BOV was “responsible for letting the University make the outrageous changes that have been made over the tenures of Presidents Sullivan and Ryan.”

The “outrageous changes,” to Ellis, include “the path to Wokeness that has overtaken our entire University.”

So, we’ve got a guy who uses the word “Wokeness” now serving on the Board of Visitors.

Wonderful.

Among the controversial, to these folks, initiatives in the Ryan tenure is the Racial Equity Task Force that convened in the summer of 2020, which set out among its goal that UVA double the number of underrepresented faculty by 2030, develop a plan for having a student population that better reflects the racial and socioeconomic demographics of the Commonwealth of Virginia, encourage related organizations to develop a scholarship program for the descendants of enslaved laborers who worked to build and maintain the University, review policies regarding staff hiring, wages, retention, promotion and procurement, in order to ensure equity, and explore potential initiatives to recognize and support Native American students and Native American studies.

The rubber seemed to hit the road for the anti-DEI folks with the push by the task force for UVA to develop a series of educational programs around racial equity and anti-racism, including leadership development programs focused on equity, including racial equity.

The University, Ellis wrote, is “overrun with courses that exist for no other purpose but to make a big deal about race and gender and other issues that can only create more oppressed parties trying to tear down anything and everything and everyone that helped create our University.”

He told the Jefferson Council, after Youngkin won the 2021 gubernatorial election, that the new governor was interested in “re-focusing UVA and other colleges and K-12 schools in Virginia on educating students and not brainwashing them with the Woke/CRT/DEI mantras that have overtaken UVA and almost all other colleges and K-12 schools in Virginia and across our country.”

In the place of “Wokeness,” then, it seems that we’re going to roll the clock all the way back to the “Whiteness” of the University’s segregation era.

Ellis, incidentally, is an investor in The White Spot, a University Corner tradition.

Coincidentally, my appetite for a greasy Gus Burger is diminished.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].

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