UVA Profs Seek to Block Thomas Jefferson Quotes

November 15, 2016


Several groups 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.

“We would like for our administration to understand that although some members of this community may have come to this university because of Thomas Jefferson’s legacy, others of us came here in spite of it,” the letter read. “For many of us, the inclusion of Jefferson quotations in these e-mails undermines the message of unity, equality and civility that you are attempting to convey.”

5 Comments - what are your thoughts?

  • Tiger says:

    Comedy of Errors and the errors made by past administrations allowing for this cancer to grow to this point in our nation. Hello Dr. Trump got the chemo?

  • justinwachin says:

    Thomas Jefferson was not a perfect person, but he helped create a nation that has prospered based on the principles of freedom which he and his contemporaries held. What has his detractors done that are equal in scale?

    It is a mistake to judge people of previous generations by the standards of today. Society is fickle and many of the values which are held today will probably be seen by future generations as barbaric and primitive. For example, many of our current leaders of government and culture embrace abortion. At some point hopefully society will advance to the point where abortion joins slavery on the list of deplorable acts committed by a less enlightened past generation.

  • itsfun says:

    Poor babies, They go to a school name after Jefferson, then don’t want to hear what he said. They not only want us to pay for their educations, but now are telling us what we can say. If they don’t like it, they can transfer to another school, or GOD forbid, go home and get a job. Then they can learn what it is like to get up early every day, go to do the same thing every day, get told how to do their jobs, get 2 weeks a year to do what they want. The biggest question is who will change their diapers after they leave school?

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  • JIm says:

    I suppose if the quote had been from Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver or Martin Luther King it would have been OK. It is not the person who said the quote but the meaning behind the quote. Its purpose was to encourage all students who attended there to do their best and succeed. It was neither racist nor exclusive. Grow up and quit looking for something to falsely rail against as those who are, are exhibiting mean spiritedness and are more racist than those they are accusing.

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