On the evening of September 12, dozens of Marxist University of Virginia students—along with a handful of UVa professors and outside agitators—gathered at the school’s Rotunda. Over the course of a few hours, they held a verbally violent protest rally, directing their ire at a statue of Thomas Jefferson.
The rally culminated in the Charlottesville-esque “shrouding” of Jefferson’s statue in black plastic and the display of signage maligning the University of Virginia’s founder as a “rapist” and a “racist.”
In dueling letters of moderated outrage over the “desecration” of Thomas Jefferson’s statue at her beloved University, UVa President “Mother” Teresa Sullivan in essence may have violated the school’s honor code.
In the first letter, distributed to the “University Community,” Mother Teresa takes credit for removing the “cover”:
Last night, several members of the University and Charlottesville communities held a protest at the Thomas Jefferson statue located north of the Rotunda, and several protestors covered the Jefferson statue in a black shroud. We have since removed the cover. One person was arrested for public intoxication. [emphasis added]
Mother Teresa’s follow up letter to “alumni and friends of the University” took a decidedly sterner tone, but again claimed credit for the unveiling:
Last night about forty students held a demonstration on the north side of the Rotunda and as part of this demonstration, they shrouded the Jefferson statue, desecrating ground that many of us consider sacred. I strongly disagree with the protestors’ decision to cover the Jefferson Statue. University personnel removed the shroud. One person was arrested for public intoxication. These are the facts of the situation, regardless of what you may read in media accounts of those who have their own agenda. [emphasis added]
Video evidence and verbal testimony of eyewitness-participants Tanner Hirschfeld (UVa student) and “Big John” Miska (Vietnam veteran), debunk Sullivan’s “UVa personnel removed the shroud” narrative.
Upon reading Sullivan’s letters, Miska exploded:
“Sullivan lies. What bullsh*it from the president of the University. WE took it down; I grabbed the first piece.”
Hirschfeld shared a Facebook video of the statue liberation effort. And in a Wednesday appearance on WINA’s The Schilling Show, he recounted the incident and his participation in removing the plastic. In a subsequent interview, he stated emphatically:
“UVa had absolutely nothing to do with removing the plastic from Jefferson’s statue.”
The University of Virginia Honor Committee describes the Honor Code as follows:
The University of Virginia’s Honor Code is at once an injunction and an aspiration. The injunction is simple: students pledge never to lie, cheat, or steal, and accept that the consequence for breaking this pledge is permanent dismissal from the University. It is for its aspirational quality, however, that the Honor Code is so cherished: in leading lives of honor, students have continuously renewed that unique spirit of compassion and interconnectedness that has come to be called the Community of Trust.
President Sullivan is not a student, but her perceived veracity is important in the constancy of honor principles at the University of Virginia. While the genesis of her statements is unknown, the “facts” of Jefferson’s unshrouding are clear—and well documented.
Rob Schilling is the host of The Schilling Show Radio Program on 1070 AM and 98.9 FM WINA.