You would think that students would be free to hold whatever viewpoints they want at the University of Virginia, the campus Thomas Jefferson himself founded nearly two centuries ago. But the school denied a conservative group from opening an official chapter on campus, caving after only immense pressure.
Students at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. tried to renew a Young Americans for Freedom group this semester but were stopped dead in their tracks by the student council, reported The Daily Caller News Foundation. Young Americans for Freedom had the audacity to require its potential members agree to something called the Sharon Statement, which professes basic conservative principles like economic freedom, resistance to government overreach, and rejection of communism.
But Ty Zirkle, a student council officer, rejected the group, saying it can’t grant group membership based on political viewpoint. Now if that sounds illegal to you, congrats, you know more about government than a UVA student.
“Thomas Jefferson founded UVA; he also authored the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom,” said Spencer Brown, spokesman for Young America’s Foundation, the student group’s parent organization. “The irony is not lost that it is UVA that is violating its students’ rights.”
Other UVA groups like the Queer Student Union deny membership based on viewpoint, according to Brown.
Section 23 of the Code of Virginia explicitly states that “a religious or political student organization may determine that ordering the organization’s internal affairs, selecting the organization’s leaders and members, defining the organization’s doctrines, and resolving the organization’s disputes are in furtherance of the organization’s religious or political mission and that only persons committed to that mission should conduct such activities.”
The Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative nonprofit representing the students, brought up this point in a December 15 letter demanding that UVA recognize Young Americans for Freedom by this Wednesday, hinting at a possible future lawsuit. Fox News commentator Brit Hume and former Virginia governor George Allen, both UVA alumni, also criticized the policy and well…on Wednesday…UVA reversed its decision, pledging to recognize the group.
It’s a victory for UVA and Charlottesville, but the region’s institutions still have work to do to repair a reputation tarnished by the police failings contributing to the violence in August, the city council’s decision to remove Confederate statues despite a clear majority of Americans favoring them, attacks on even the school’s Thomas Jefferson statue, and even really petty stuff like this school paper editor accusing a white guy with dreadlocks of cultural appropriation.
Jefferson Statue Vandalized On His Birthday
Students at the University of Virginia woke up to find a statue of their school’s founder, Thomas Jefferson, vandalized with the words “racist” and “rapist” on April 13th, the Founding Father’s birthday, reported NBC29. Because in the current year 2018, this is how progressives express gratitude for the man who built the framework for the society that gives them so much freedom. Now, let’s put aside for the moment the fact that this is illegal and if tolerated will eventually lead to anarchy — the left doesn’t really care about the law and thinks only in the short-term like a chubby kid who wants double dessert.
But ALSO like infants, these activists don’t understand this little thing called “context.” Jefferson’s views and actions weren’t out of the ordinary for his time period and he in fact took steps to stop the spread of slavery, believing in a gradual liberation. But don’t tell that to Charlottesville activists, who made the Jefferson statue the site of another white supremacy protest last year.
Charlottesville covered its Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson statues last year after the “Unite the Right” rally, but that wasn’t good enough for insatiable crybullies, who also decided to cover the JEFFERSON statue and put up a sign saying “Black Lives Matter. Fuck White Supremacy.”
Jewish Group Denied Minority Rights Membership
Last week, I reported on how police were called when pro-Palestinian protesters crashed a panel featuring reserve officers from the Israeli Defense Force. Now a Jewish student group at the same school has gotten denied membership of a minority rights group because of its association with Israel, according to The Cavalier Daily.
The University of Virginia has an organization called the Minority Rights Coalition which, as you might expect, is a kind of almighty behemoth representing all of the various marginalized groups on campus. The Minority Rights Coalition speaks for constituent groups representing black students, Muslims, Asians — who are overrepresented at UVA and many other elite colleges — Native Americans, “queer” students, feminists, and even “Latinx” students, which is apparently the gender-neutral term for Latinos.
The MRC rejected the Jewish Leadership Council’s application for membership because one of the Jewish students’ five groups was Hoos for Israel, a group which aims to teach the UVA community about the culture, history, and politics of Israel.
The MRC said “Many students under the [Minority Rights Coalition] umbrella believed at the time that [Hoos for Israel] operated in a way which made these students feel concerned and unsettled.”
Meanwhile, the Jewish Leadership Council said “We recognize that the Israel-Palestine Conflict is complicated and heavily debated, and that it carries the weight of lived experiences and deep set emotions for many individuals – both in the Jewish community and in the communities represented in the MRC. We deeply understand the need for dialogue surrounding this complex issue, but at the same time we cannot and will not apologize for our right to support a Jewish homeland.”
Now the MRC is apparently going to reconsider the Jewish Leadership Council for membership, but my question is: why bother? If the cabal of social justice-themed members hadn’t tipped them off in the first place, the Jewish students’ initial rejection should prove to them that the Minority Rights Coalition is a group concerned not with the marginalization of minorities, but merely with the marginalization of minorities that hold the correct opinions.
Police Called On Pro-Palestinian Students
Pro-Palestinian students at the University of Virginia crashed a panel featuring reserve officers from the Israeli Defense Force, reported The Cavalier Daily. UVA police received a report that an assault occurred and said they are still investigating.
The Brody Jewish Center’s Rabbi Jake Rubin, who hosted the event on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said “While free speech and the ability to protest are important aspects of college life, we are disappointed that protesters refused to engage in conversation and instead continued to shout intimidating and hostile slurs directed at students, staff, and panelists.”
Wow, they refused to talk? What a shock. It’s almost like leftists are more interested in commanding than communicating and power instead of persuasion.
Meanwhile, Dean of Students Allen Groves said the pro-Palestinian students, who made use of a megaphone, violated the school’s standards of conduct, as well as its protest and amplified sound policies. Groves said the UVA community rejects the heckler’s veto and told the school that “the University is a place for intellectual inquiry” and that “we can only learn from each other if space exists to exchange ideas freely and without disruption from those with whom we may disagree,” according to an email sent to the UVA community and obtained by Campus Unmasked.
Okay, pause. My alma mater UVA will always have a special place in my heart, but exchanging ideas freely? This is the same college that in December denied a conservative group from registering a campus chapter, only reversing the decision after immense public pressure. And this is the same school that last month told students to call 911 if they saw “offensive flyers.” Looming over all of this, of course, are the Charlottesville Confederate monuments, of which the city has desperately tried to rid itself for the past couple of years, even covering them with makeshift burkas.
It’s a school decked with accolades like US News & World Report’s #3 public university for 2017 and Playboy’s #1 party school for 2012, but UVA’s commitment to free speech can definitely use some improvement. Oh, and they could probably stand to drop Aramark, the food company that even prisoners have protested.
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