Meanwhile, At Virginia Tech…

I noted yesterday that, in a significant move, the Board of Visitors of Virginia Tech quietly dropped affirmative action. It turns out they did more than that. According to the Collegiate Times, the Virginia Tech student newspaper, the Board of Visitors also eliminated sexual orientation from the anti-discrimination policy.

It’s not quiet any more.

The student government association is planning a lawsuit to force the sexual orientation language back into the anti-discrimination policy statement, and in general all hell is breaking loose. Edd Sewell, the non-voting faculty representative on the Board, says the university is turning into a proto-Nazi police state.

“I’m sorry,” he said, “they are systematically deconstructing the freedoms, the civil rights of the people at this university….”

“It certainly puts Virginia Tech in the light that we are no longer a viable academic community,” he said.

Sewell likened the BOV’s actions to pre-World War II Germany.

At the beginning of the Nazi rise to power, civil liberties were quietly rolled back, people were discriminated against and people merely stood by and watched it happen.

That’s exactly what is happening now at Tech, Sewell said.

“I think we need to start reading the history of the 1930s,” he said.

Actually, reading some history might lower the hyperbole quotient a bit, but Faculty Edd was certainly not alone in his concerns.

The outside perception of the university is likely to take a severe downturn, said Lisa Tabor, a graduate student in English.

“The perception is that this is a racist, homophobic and misogynistic institution,” she said.

Meanwhile, back in Charlottesville, UVa’s Cavalier Daily editorially condemned the changes at its sister institution, and a front page news story was even more critical. It quoted Susan Gooden, identified as president of the black caucus of Virginia Tech, who claimed that the policy changes “will create an intolerant and intimidating atmosphere at Virginia Tech.”

“It sends a very negative message that Virginia Tech is an unwelcoming community for minority students, women and for people of different sexual orientations,” Gooden said. “This will have a very, very strong chilling effect.”

I still find it remarkable that institutions are denounced as racist (which is what “unwelcoming” means here) when they announce that they will not discriminate on the basis of race.

Say What? (4)

  1. Simon March 14, 2003 at 8:12 am | | Reply


    Don’t you think it would be more fair — to VA Tech and your readers — if you gave the context for the Board of Visitors situation (assuming you know it)?

    Last year the Tech Board of Visitors took the unprecedented step of denying a faculty appointment which had been otherwise approved by all relevant university personnel.

    The reason given was the inappropriate of non-competitive spousal hires (ridiculous, of course, in light of common academic practice). Most people on Tech’s campus seem to think it might have had more to do with the fact that Professor Fowler was the lesbian partner of the new grad school dean, and taught African-American literature, to boot.

    I don’t know how to describe the individual members of the BOV (I’ve never met them, don’t even know there names). But based on the public record, racist and homophobic aren’t possibilities I would rule out.

  2. John Rosenberg March 14, 2003 at 8:19 am | | Reply

    Simon – I did not know that and do think it’s relevant. Thanks for contributing that information.

    One thing I did know but did not put in my post is that the Va. Tech Board of Visitors claimed that it dropped consideration of race and gender from its admissions procedures in response to an advisory letter to all Virginia colleges and universities some months ago from the Commonwealth’s Attorney General, Republican Jerry Kilgore, who advised that racial preferences were legally doubtful. He did not, however, order universities to drop them.

  3. nobody important March 14, 2003 at 8:49 am | | Reply

    It is truly amazing, the powers of divination that members of the left can call upon. They have the ability know the malevolent, racist, homophobic motivations of people they do not even know.

    And yet, even when the motivations of certain thugs are known, such as the killers of a Notheastern student who admitted they were hunting “white boys”, they are dismissed.

    It is also amazing that, like the attacks of whites and Asians at UVa, the attacks of whites at Brown, no one even wants to discuss these brutal assaults at all.

  4. Adrian T November 25, 2006 at 11:06 am | | Reply

    I would like to adress the last post personally. Why would you not want to discuss something like that. The attacks of white students at universities are just as relivant as the attacks on any other race of student, and should be taken just as seriously. I think that it’s the provebial “turning of a deaf ear” that allows theese things to happen. For this reason, the rights of ALL STUDENTS must be held sacred. If not, we as a university, community, and nation loose in the end. GO VT!!!!

Say What?