- Scholar leaders on the College of Virginia have condemned one in all Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s picks to the establishment’s governing board, citing the appointee’s historical past of castigating variety measures and a 2020 incident through which he mulled utilizing a razor blade to chop down a campus signal he discovered offensive.
- Bert Ellis, chief government of an Atlanta-based funding agency, additionally leads The Jefferson Council, a UVA alumni community devoted to preserving Thomas Jefferson’s legacy and “mental variety.”
- Ellis was just lately the topic of a report by the college’s scholar newspaper, which revealed he labored to convey a outstanding eugenicist to campus to talk when Ellis was an undergraduate within the Seventies. Ellis didn’t make a press release to the coed newspaper, The Cavalier Day by day, nor did he reply to a request for remark Wednesday from Larger Ed Dive.
Resistance to Ellis attracts focus to what many greater schooling authorities deem a troubling pattern for the sector: politicized picks to public establishments and their governing boards.
Such a case emerged earlier this 12 months when the College System of Georgia’s governing board named Sonny Perdue its new chancellor, regardless of the longtime Republican politician having negligible postsecondary schooling expertise. The governor appoints the board’s members.
Such picks erode firewalls between politicians’ pursuits and academe, which values ideas of free inquiry, greater ed specialists argue.
Youngkin’s set up of Ellis to the UVA board of tourists matches his modus operandi. The Republican governor championed an extraction of variety, inclusion and fairness practices — which he known as “divisive” ideas — from public schooling. That message helped safe him the governorship, pundits argue.
Ellis, who earned his bachelor’s and grasp’s levels from UVA, has railed towards related variety initiatives. In a web-based put up in December, he applauded Youngkin clinching the election and contemplated how the brand new governor would remold colleges to cease the “brainwashing” of scholars. UVA, he stated, confronted an “onslaught by the entrenched DEI forms.”
Now, Ellis will assist direct coverage for one of many nation’s most noteworthy public establishments. UVA, the state flagship of Virginia, has powerhouse well being and analysis enterprises and enrolled greater than 27,000 college students as of fall 2021.
Ellis was confirmed to the board in July, and his time period will expire on the finish of June 2026. He was one in all 4 of Youngkin’s appointments confirmed to the board.
The college’s Scholar Council government board late in July stated it rejected Ellis and known as for his speedy resignation.
In a press release, college students focused on an episode from September 2020 involving Ellis.
He reportedly found a scholar had plastered an indication to their campus residence door that spelled out “F— UVA” to protest circumstances for deprived college students. That month, Ellis visited the campus, knocked on the coed’s door and debated them on utilizing profanity to make a public level.
Ellis reportedly stated he “was ready to make use of a small razor blade” to take away the obscene a part of the signal. However he in the end didn’t after two officers informed him this might represent injury to college property and a First Modification violation. They informed Ellis to go away.
“Whether or not or not Ellis used his blade, whether or not or not Ellis threatened the coed straight, his conduct is reprehensible,” the Scholar Council stated in its assertion. “Ellis’ erratic conduct and blatant disregard for college students’ wellbeing is unbecoming of College management and has no place in our College neighborhood.”
Then final month, the coed newspaper reported that Ellis performed a pivotal function in bringing a White nationalist, William Shockley, to campus through the 1974-75 educational 12 months. Shockley on the time was recognized for his pseudoscientific eugenics theories about Black folks being genetically inferior to White folks.
Ellis was a pacesetter of the coed group that helped safe Shockley for a debate on the correlation between race and intelligence, The Cavalier Day by day reported.
Youngkin’s workplace didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark Wednesday on the newspaper’s report, or the scholars’ demand for Ellis’ expulsion.
Nonetheless, in an interview with reporters final month, Youngkin stated it was unfair to look at the Shockley controversy by at present’s requirements.