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Friday, Feb. 24, 2023
The University of Virginia is engulfed in controversy today. An author in Richmond used the Freedom of Information Act to get text messages sent by one of UVA’s newest Board of Visitors members, Bert Ellis. The messages offer a direct view into Ellis’ plans to “battle” against university students, staff and professors who advocate for diversity and study the history of slavery at UVA.
“We have to raise hell with the [Board of Visitors] about this whole ‘Get Jefferson’ movement by [The Cavalier Daily] and the super liberal faculty,” one such message reads.
There’s a lot to this story. UVA’s nonprofit student newspaper, the Cavalier Daily — which Ellis called “numnuts” — has a comprehensive report about the content of Ellis’ text messages you can read here. The Washington Post also has a story for its subscribers, as does the Daily Progress.
UVA student and worker groups — and even Sen. Creigh Deeds — have raised objections to Ellis’ appointment since he was nominated by Gov. Glenn Youngkin. Ellis is a UVA alumnus who lives in Atlanta. He’s the CEO of an investment firm, owner of a Los Angeles television station, and part owner of the White Spot restaurant on the Corner, according to the Daily Progress. And, as a student at UVA, he tried to bring a eugenicist who believed Black people are genetically inferior to white people to speak on campus, according to the Cavalier Daily.
More recently, in the summer of 2020, Ellis went to campus with a razor blade to remove a sign that said, “Fuck UVA” that a student had posted to the door of a dorm room on the Lawn. He was stopped by university ambassadors.
Ellis was confirmed to the 19-person Board of Visitors this month, along with three other Youngkin appointees. The board has a lot of power over the university. It is its highest oversight body, responsible for the university’s policies and budget, and the broad “preservation of the University’s many traditions,” according to UVA’s website.
A 20-year-old named Nicklous Pendleton was shot and killed yesterday afternoon on Hardy Drive. Police are looking for leads. If you have one, they’d like you to contact Detective Raines, at (434) 970-3266 or Crime Stoppers Tip Line at (434) 977-4000.
This is the third person killed in a Charlottesville shooting this year.
For some lighter reading, this week’s First Person Charlottesville story is from Katrina Spencer. This is a true story, and despite the severity of the situation Spencer describes, it’s hilarious. I’ll give you a sneak peek:
If you’ve never had your neighbor’s 2003 Ford Taurus station wagon jump a curb and enter your residential living room, let me tell you: it’s disruptive. You’ll definitely have to cancel your meetings for the rest of the afternoon.
When [the driver] does hobble over to meet you for the first time — ‘Hi, nice to meet you. I’m the one who destroyed your home’ — you’re in the middle of a conversation with a 911 operator.
‘What’s your address, ma’am?’
(This is a fictional address — for privacy reasons.)
‘123 Encumberment Road.’
‘Are you certain it’s ‘Road’ and not ‘Square’?’
‘It’s Road. The apartment is ‘Road.’ The complex is ‘Square.’’
‘Well the map is telling me it’s ‘Square.’’
You think, ‘Do I actually not know my own address? I have lived here for a year. But maybe she’s right.’
You decide to move on. Except you can’t. Because you’re still stuck in the doorway until the fire department gets there.”
First Person Charlottesville is part of our collaboration with In My Humble Opinion and Vinegar Hill Magazine — together we’re Charlottesville Inclusive Media. If you want to tell your own story, here’s how.
Enjoy your weekend,
Jessie Higgins, managing editor
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