Race relations have cratered at Thomas Jefferson’s University, and no amount of cowardly backpedaling will fix them.
When University of Virginia (UVA) president James Ryan assumed his duties as the new President of UVA in 2018, he announced his vision in a humble speech to the UVA faithful. He proclaimed that the university must have faith in the future — a faith that requires
… that we acknowledge the sins of our past, including, for example, the fact that slaves built these Grounds. That we recognize, with requisite humility, both Jefferson’s brilliance and his brutality.
For the knowledgeable, it was a thin gruel of academic psycho-babble, but for the secular faithful, it was a feast of hope.
Since then, race relations have cratered. Recently, sentiments in student rooms on The Lawn hit a new low of vulgarity when a flurry of “F— UVA” signs appeared along the hallowed colonnade at Thomas Jefferson’s university.
In addition to the “F— UVA” signs, other signs from the coalition of the fringes mythologized fentanyl suicide victim George Floyd and drug gang-associated Breonna Taylor. Strangely, however, there have been no signs in memory of Daniel Shaver, the white man who had his head blown off by Arizona police while he was crawling on the floor obeying police commands. White lives don’t matter at UVA.
The full-length “F— UVA” door sign that began the cascade of vulgarity was posted by Hira Azher, the student who lives behind the door. After she posted it, the sign received a firestorm of local attention (here, here), and Azher published an opinion piece in The Cavalier Daily in an attempt to explain her motivations.
What was shocking about her explanation was the incoherent verbiage that passed for the English language. A room on The Lawn at UVA is not a trivial thing. Only the most accomplished of the fourth-year class are offered the privilege of living on The Lawn, and Jefferson built only 54 Lawn rooms. Based on her mangling of the English language, I’m not sure how Azher gained admission to UVA, much less how she made it to her fourth year and qualified for a room on The Lawn.
Her piece was unreadable. As best as I can make out, as a Muslim “woman of color,” she feels that the university’s mere existence is an act of violence against her.
Her piece was a goulash of Liberal Regressive gibberish phrases — white fragility, marginalized students, move the conversation, elitist space, visibility through a platform, white supremacist, communities of radical love, rapist enslaver, space for whiteness, recontextualize — mixed in a blender of random word sequences and periodic punctuation. It was English only in the sense that it contained nouns and verbs.
There’s a term for this. It’s called echolalic babbling. It’s what infants do when they’re learning to speak. They make sounds to imitate their parents while their brains work to learn the meaning of language. The left is full of echolalic babblers, and Azher is a prime example. She’s an adult who still hasn’t figured out the meaning of words and who still can’t compose a series of sentences with any meaningful content. The university has disgraced itself for rewarding this infantile babbler with a room on The Lawn.
By the way, in rewarding Azher, UVA discriminated against someone else more deserving.
The door sign prompted a widely circulated email among UVA alumni that questioned President Ryan’s response to the sign and suggested that alumni withhold donations to the university’s upcoming capital campaign. The author of the email recounted that when he knocked on Azher’s door to “have a conversation” with her, Azher said the following and then slammed the door:
This institution was founded by a degenerate who owned and raped his slaves and then stole this property to build this institution for rich white people with slave labor.
There has been debate on whether the university has legal grounds to remove the sign or whether the sign is protected free speech. Multiple arguments have been made for removing the sign — namely, that UVA is a world heritage site that requires greater dignity, that the sign violates the university’s standards for discourse, that it is legally defamatory, and that it violates Azher’s housing contract. The university and the Board of Visitors have maintained that it is protected free speech and have declined to remove the sign.
Race relations at UVA have declined steadily since the 2017 Antifa riot in Charlottesville. After the riot, Black Lives Matter communists climbed the statue of Thomas Jefferson in front of the Rotunda, covered it in a tarp, and issued a list of demands to then-UVA President Teresa Sullivan. Sullivan capitulated immediately.
The university removed a plaque of names of Civil War dead from the Rotunda, made a $12,500 payoff to erase a century-old symbolic memory, and banned guns and open flames from The Lawn. Since then, UVA has been backpedaling furiously to appease its cultural Marxist attackers.
In the spring of this year, UVA finished construction of a memorial to enslaved laborers that sits down the hillside from the Rotunda. Ostensibly, the memorial is a permanent mea culpa for past sins. Visually, it’s a scar on the hillside, but that’s another matter. In a further mea culpa to “diversity and inclusion,” the university this year opened a multicultural center in the student services building.
In addition, the athletic department changed the V saber logo after complaints that the spirals in the saber handles were symbolic of the brick serpentine walls that Jefferson designed. The complaint was that Jefferson built the serpentine walls to muffle the cries of slaves and that the logo was an offensive reminder of this to black people.
This kind of leftist lunacy was dispelled when a historian pointed out that Jefferson used curved walls because they are stronger than straight walls. Nevertheless, the logo redesign went ahead because, well, facts be damned.
The fundamental problem at UVA is that all the bootlicking for the sins of the past has been for naught. The payoffs have bought nothing but continued derision and hatred from the black cultural Marxists. When the multicultural center opened, a black women walked in and announced, while her wingman recorded it:
If ya’ll didn’t know, this is the MSC [Multicultural Student Center], and frankly there’s just too many white people in here. This is a space for people of color. So just be really cognizant of the space you’re taking up, because it does make some of us POCs [people of color] uncomfortable when we see too many white people in here. … Thank you.
The video went viral, and university officials began backpedaling to clarify that university centers are open to all people, a statement that leads directly to the administration’s fundamental cultural Marxist contradiction. If the multicultural center is open to all people, in what sense is it different from any other room at the university? And if it’s not at all different from any other room, why is it titled a multicultural center?
The reason is that the university is dog whistling its approval for racial separation of blacks from whites, while it publicly proclaims the moral good of “diversity and inclusion.” In Orwellian opposite speak, it means that exclusion is inclusion, hate is love, and war is peace. It’s the classic Marxist attack on rationality.
The black woman’s speech said it all. This space is for us. White people have to leave. James Ryan should believe what they say: F.U.
The obscene door signs remained in place for the entirety of the fall semester up to the Christmas break. Before this commentary was published, a walk around The Lawn revealed that all political posters have been removed, except for several flyers supporting Breonna Taylor and farm workers and a claim that UVA is on Monacan land.
James G. Robertson is a UVA alumnus who lives in Charlottesville, Va.