The letter requested that Sullivan stop using Jefferson quotes in emails as they may be offensive to some students.
Several professors on Grounds collaborated to write a letter to University President Teresa Sullivan against the inclusion of a Thomas Jefferson quote in her post-election email Nov. 9.
In the email, Sullivan encouraged students to unite in the wake of contentious results, arguing that University students have the responsibility of creating the future they want for themselves.
“Thomas Jefferson wrote to a friend that University of Virginia students ‘are not of ordinary significance only: they are exactly the persons who are to succeed to the government of our country, and to rule its future enmities, its friendships and fortunes,’” Sullivan said in the email. “I encourage today’s U.Va. students to embrace that responsibility.”
Some professors from the Psychology Department — and other academic departments — did not agree with the use of this quote. Their letter to Sullivan argued that in light of Jefferson’s owning of slaves and other racist beliefs, she should refrain from quoting Jefferson in email communications.
Then you might as well take his name off of the university, and take his statues down. They will be offensive within a few months.
Are we going to start disregarding the historical significance of the Declaration of Independence because it was written by Jefferson and may hurt some people’s feelings?
Jefferson has an integral significance to UVA, both historically and culturally, and you can’t just erase the history there in order to avoid offending people.
PLUS, holding present “politically correct” standards to our forefathers like “he owned slaves” is really lacking the understanding of history and what was acceptable at the time. You remember that subject that used to be taught instead of banned at the university level? And these are our future leaders!
The first female president of the university defended her quote:
“In my message last week, I agreed with Mr. Jefferson’s words expressing the idea that U.Va. students would help to lead our republic,” Sullivan said in a statement posted on the university’s website. “He believed that 200 years ago, and I believe it today.”
“Today’s leaders are women and men, members of all racial and ethnic groups, members of the LGBTQ community, and adherents of all religious traditions,” Sullivan explained. “All of them belong at today’s U.Va., whose founder’s most influential and most quoted words were ‘all men are created equal.'”
From Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog:
“Sullivan did something her faculty could not. She made a distinction between intrinsic principle and historical personality. Those perfect ideals transcend even the flawed third president. The bookish social justice mob probably won’t be receptive to that transcendent message. They’re not interested in passing intellectual judgment. They want to hold past leaders to current standards and delete mentions of character.”
“Let’s review what just happened. 469 people, including many professors who should know better, are taking offense because the head of their university quoted the university’s founder, Thomas Jefferson, who also happens to be the 3rd President of the United States and the author of the Declaration of Independence, in an email asking for unity in the wake of a contentious presidential election.
This act of quoting Thomas Jefferson now qualifies as a triggering event amongst the nation’s so-called “best and brightest,” and those who are supposedly guiding them into adulthood.
I’m finally starting to understand why so many schools simply resorted to treating students like preschoolers in the election’s aftermath, they simply can’t handle anything else. As we learned in last week’s Wall Street Journal article, Colleges Try to Comfort Students Upset by Trump Victory.”