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March 6, 2010

The Problem in Virginia

By James Brett

Radical reactionaries have Richmond and threaten higher education in Virginia.


I was a Virginian for fifteen years. I grew up there and went to the University of Virgina and got my baccalaureate degree in Russian Studies there. I have relatives in Virginia still, and I keep close contact with the University as a proud alumnus. I contribute annually to the University, and in fact, partly because of alumni who contribute, the University of Virginia has attained and maintained superior status among universities, (currently ranked 2nd among public universities, but often tied with UC Berkeley for 1st), all this despite the dramatic funding cuts from Richmond.

These cuts are nothing new. During the Reagan years the percentage of the University's budget coming from the Commonwealth dropped into the low teens and hovered there for years ... never rising, but always being nibbled and then gobbled away as a perversely and ironically ignorant state population elected Republicans to keep house in the Old Dominion. But the percentage of state support for the University of Virginia has reached a new low this year, down to a mere seven percent of the total budget. It is all the more ridiculous then for the state's Attorney General to demand that all "public" universities in Virginia rescind their admission and conduct policies that extend protection to persons "without regard to their sexual preferences."

This is what you get when you elect ideological morons from the Right. The denizens of southern and southwestern Virginia are particularly responsible for this outrage. If the Board of Visitors at UVa actually complies with this bogus concept that only the state Assembly can identify classes of persons ... which is threadbare reasoning to begin with ... I will be visiting the Grounds Thomas Jefferson created and I will be quite vocal about removing the University from the ranks of public universities. Richmond telling Charlottesville how to conduct a university is like the guy who wipes down your car after a carwash telling you where you may drive.


Submitters Bio:

James R. Brett, Ph.D. taught Russian History before (and during) a long stint as an academic administrator in faculty research administration. His academic interests are the modern period of Russian History since Peter the Great, Chinese History, the history of science, and the history of ideas, including psychology and consciousness studies. He is retired and living on the Left Coast.