24 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2017
    1. they do report the central college in Albemarle to be a convenient & proper part of the State for the University of Virginia.

      While perhaps not common in the US recently, there are times when one state splits into two or more because of internal conflict or other reasons. This happened in India two years ago. I wonder what would happen if Virginia ever split into the two, and what the effect on the university would be. This location was chosen to be a proper place for the university but in light of recent events, it is highly probable that Charlottesville will be one the places that it is the spotlight. I wonder what consequences there would be for the university if that happened .

    2. The considerations which have governed the specification of languages to be taught by the professor of Modern Languages were that the French is the language of general intercourse among nations, and as a depository of human Science is unsurpassed by any other language living or dead: that the Spanish is highly interesting to us, as the language spoken by so great a portion of the inhabitants of our Continents, with whom we shall possibly have great intercourse ere long; and is that also in which is written the greater part of the early history of America.

      I find it very interesting that Jefferson recognized the importance of the Spanish language. Today, many people do not see the importance of speaking Spanish and some even have a negative connotation towards Spanish speakers here in the United States. This does not make sense to me since a large base of this country which is also the back bone is made up oh spanish speaking latinos and latinas. People tend to overlook this, however they do not understand that the best way to communicate with this population is by catering to their language. Even when there are resources available for underserved communities, spanish speakers are often left uninformed or have to rely on their younger children to translate for them. Besides being a business advantage, learning the language is also important to better serve a huge part of the American population, especially since there is no official language of the United States.

    3. What, but education, has advanced us beyond the condition of our indigenous neighbours?

      Here, again, Jefferson displays how he believes that whites are elite. Most of the document people have discussed Jefferson's relationship with slaves and how African-Americans are below being able to attend this University, but here, he mentions another minority group: Native Americans. Earlier in the document, they list the values of education, but here they mention explicitly how education is powerful, especially in the sense of taking over another group of people, whether that be African or Native Americans. Time after time throughout the document, Jefferson and his team mention the value of education for our citizens but they have a long list of people who do not fall in that category, another one of them being Native Americans.

    4. may be rooms for religious worship under such impartial regulations as the visitors shall prescribe

      The committee seems very open to different forms of religious worship and different religions, but are they actually? They may only be open to different Protestant religious forms. This is all in consideration of the target of students and faculty being white, upper-class Protestants. Religious freedom is a part of the Constitution and all but was it enforced, considering our first Catholic President was John F. Kennedy, the 35th President, and his approval wasn't that high because of that. YIKES.

    5. What, but education, has advanced us beyond the condition of our indigenous neighbours? and what chains them to their present state of barbarism & wretchedness, but a besotted veneration for the supposed supe[r]lative wisdom of their fathers and the preposterous idea that they are to look backward for better things and not forward, longing, as it should seem, to return to the days of eating acorns and roots rather than indulge in the degeneracies of civilization.

      In this phrase, Jefferson talks about the importance of education and advancement by using the native Americans as an example. He describes them as barbaric and is basically making fun of their ideology to worship their ancestors and their traditional ways. This is not the first time Jefferson expressed his views of Native Americans in such a negative light. For my Art Inside/Out Engagement course, I am doing a project on the Declaration of Independence. The quote that my group decided to use was “He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.” The discrimination against Native Americans is engraved in the Declaration of Independence of the United States and in the Rockfish Gap Report of the University of Virginia.

    6. greater security against fire

      Side Comment: Seems like they should've been more concerned with the Rotunda when thinking about this

    7. degree of centrality to the white population of the state which alone then constituted the important point of comparison between these places:

      What exactly was considered white at this point in history of the U.S. of A? Just Anglo- Saxon? If so, this statement is also discriminatory to the European Immigrants that were migrating into the U.S. As I have learned from my COLA: "Whiteness: A Racial Category," Thomas Jefferson believed the Anglo- Saxons were the most pure and "legitimate" white population. So was the creation of UVA meant to be only accessible to Anglo-Saxons?

    8. To enable him to calculate for himself, and to express & preserve his ideas, his contracts & accounts in writing.

      The idea that the University exists to provide its students with financial independence and literacy is an interesting one in terms of how curriculum are constructed today. Students do not have to engage in a financial responsibility or literacy class in order to graduate (http://gened.as.virginia.edu/new-college-curriculum-requirements). In the New Curriculum which we are a part of, it focusses upon interdisciplinary approaches to largely social problems in a broader sense. In my EGMT 1540 course, we have discussed the purposes of universities as to whether it should be to provide a career with a satisfying material lifestyle or should it be to provide a large enlightenment of the world around us. This line certainly suggests that a more pragmatic approach to education was the foundation of the UVa curriculum.

    9. proceeded to the second of the duties assigned to them, that of proposing a plan for its buildings; and they are of opinion that it should consist of distinct houses or pavilions, arranged at proper distances on each side of a lawn of a proper breadth,

      This part of the document introduces the first plans for the Lawn as a living, as well as learning, community. As the University has expanded and grown overtime (https://www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/timeline-founding-university-virginia), such a community has grown significantly more exclusive and prestigious. What does that signify for the University as a whole? Would it be better to remain a smaller more elite university where a more tight-knit community can form, or is it better to keep UVa at its current size/rate of growth with enclaves the resemble the old institution, such as competitive lawn rooms.

    10. To give to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business.

      This passage is interesting because Jefferson compares his view of education to a "business transaction". At face value, this metaphor makes sense--one receives their education and then uses that in whatever manor they choose, in whatever field of study they choose, and apply it in any way they choose. But in another sense, equating education to a transaction seems to go against what Jefferson stood for in education. At UVA, we use the terms "first year", etc to represent how education is eternal. But, in the sense of a transaction it seems very formal and that people should be educated as the first step in wherever their lives take them. Yet, I think that even if one doesn't have "his own business" or know what is next, that education is valuable for all people, as Jefferson said, and that the primary goal of education could stop at, "To give every citizen the information he needs".

    11. To instruct the mass of our citizens in these their rights, interests and duties, as men and citizens, being then the objects of education in the primary schools, whether private or public, in them should be taught reading, writing & numerical arithmetic, the elements of mensuration (useful in so many callings) and the outlines of geography and history, and this brings us to the point at which are to commence the higher branches of education, of which the legislature require the development: those for example which are to form the statesmen, legislators & judges, on whom public prosperity, & individual happiness are so much to depend.

      This object of primary education sounds a bit like a general mission statement for the University. In particular, I found interesting the line about forming "statesmen, legislators and judges." This phrasing seems to resemble an element of UVA's current mission statement, which states that UVA serves by "developing responsible citizen leaders and professionals." It's cool to see how these two statements that were made almost 200 years apart are actually very similar, and communicate a lasting goal of the University. Statesmen, legislators, and judges I think would definitely translate to being considered prominent citizen leaders and professionals in today's world. I also like the rest of the line ,"on whom public prosperity, & individual happens are so much to depend." This speaks a lot to the purpose of the dedication to creating citizen leaders, in that it is beneficial to the public to have more of these virtuous figures, and that it brings one fulfillment to achieve this position. [](http://www.virginia.edu/statementofpurpose

      Link to UVA's mission statement

    12. To these should be added the arts, which embellish life, dancing music & drawing; the last more especially, as an important part of military education. These innocent arts furnish amusement & happiness to those who, having time on their hands, might less inoffensively employ it; needing, at the same time, no regular incorporation with the institution, they may be left to accessory teachers,

      These sentences seem to form a little bit of a contradiction, in that at first the report says that the arts are important/valuable, but then saying they need not be "incorporated with the institution." Nonetheless, they do show some thoughts about the arts back when UVA was being founded. In my current engagement class, Art: Inside/Out, we always discuss how art comes into play in our daily lives and how people view art on large and small scales. I see these same themes in this part of the report, because it is reflecting on how the commissioners see art and for what purpose they think it serves. In this case, its seems the purposes are either for military use or plain enjoyment. I believe if we asked the University community what the value and purpose of art is today, we would see a stark contrast to this, as well as an extreme variety of answers. Many people would say that art might be to spread a message or support some larger movement. Today we see the presence of art so much at UVA, such as through musical and theater groups, public art installations like the curiosity shop, or the mural on the side of the Graduate Charlottesville Hotel.

    13. so important to be woven into the American character

      One of the most interesting motifs I've noticed in the report is Jefferson's desire to shape society in his image. Jefferson doesn't just want to educate the youth; he wants to define "The American Character". He and his compatriots spend a good deal of the report defining what they believes the ideal character of a person should be, and then proceed to design the curriculum around how they believe such a person can be created. The founders of UVA were obviously intent on using the university for some form of social engineering. I don't necessarily believe that manipulating the thoughts and feelings of the population is a bad thing, provided that the attempt at doing so is done properly with a strong ethical basis*, but it does bother me how all these old white men used their positions to shape the "American character" in their image.

      *Let's face it, we need a bit of social engineering sometimes. By and large, the American People have a tendency to behave horrendously when they find themselves in a position from which they can act with impunity.

    14. To harmonize & promote the interests of agriculture, manufactures & commerce and by well informed views of political economy to give a free scope to the public industry.

      I find this passage to be refreshing; here, Jefferson and his colleagues are rather forthright in admitting that universities essentially exist to produce skilled workers to be used by private interests. He still relies on the "self betterment" jargon that the university continues to use as a crutch in its advertisements, but it's nice that he takes the time to point out the industrial complex that colleges are typically built to support. Before anybody comments to this effect: I'm fully aware of how incredibly cynical a statement that is.

  2. Oct 2017
    1. Latin V Physics or Natural Philosophy Greek Chemistry Hebrew Mineralogy II Languages Modern French VI Botany Spanish Zoology Italian VII Anatomy German Medicine Anglo-Saxon

      When the students learned these languages, were they learned for an increase in vocabulary and being the student who knew all these languages or was it to enhance their knowledge on the cultures in which these languages belonged?

    2. that these pavilions should be united by a range of Dormitories, sufficient each for the accommodation of two students only, this provision being deemed advantageous to morals, to order, & to uninterrupted study; and that a passage of some kind under cover from the weather should give a communication along the whole range.

      I think this part of the article gives us confidence back that University of Virginia is built in fully consideration of the safety of its students and is built for students to gain academic success. During this period that so many students protests and riots about race are taking place, the calling for more care and attention to students life and the condemnation of the lack of student's safety is getting more prevalent, however this part of the university legislature shed a light on regaining student's trust to this university, whose architecture was built on the emphasis of student's safety and academic progress.

    3. To develope the reasoning faculties of our youth, enlarge their minds cultivate their morals, & instil into them the precepts of virtue & order.

      I feel like the goal of many ideas (religious, political, historical) is to make sure the youth are involved in some way shape or form. I guess it is because of the cliche that the "youth are our future." Here, it is made sure that the minds of the youth are enlarged along with their morals. This reminds me of my Debating Islams engagement where we have discussed the 3 main radical ideologies, all in which push the participation of the youth and the passing of ideas to the youth.

      This also brings to mind the idea to "cultivate their morals." It kind bewilders me that their definition of morals made it okay to enslave a whole population of people because they felt they were inferior to them due to pigmentation of skin, or more of their lack of. You would think to have "morality" is to have compassion, to have some sense of "hmmm maybe this isn't right", "hmmm maybe they are human beings that do deserve rights."

    4. In conformity with the principles of our constitution, which places all sects of religion on an equal footing, with the jealousies of the different sects in guarding that equality from encroachment & surprise, and with the sentiments of the legislature in favor of freedom of religion manifested on former occasions, we have proposed no professor of Divinity; and tho rather, as the proofs of the being of a god, the creator, preserver, & supreme ruler of the universe, the author of all the relations of morality, & of the laws & obligations these infer, will be within the province of the professor of ethics; to which adding the developements of these moral obligations, of those in which all sects agree with a knolege of the languages, Hebrew, Greek and Latin,4 a basis will be formed common to all sects. Proceeding thus far without offence to the constitution, we have thought it proper at this point, to leave every sect to provide as they think fittest, the means of further instruction in their own peculiar tenets.

      This excerpt stood out to me because it is one of the main principles that TJ believed in that he saw as the foundation of the University. He so strongly believed in Freedom of Religion and separation of church and state that he located the Rotunda at the center of the university to serve as a symbol in a "strictly secular nature". The Rotunda was essentially a scale model of the Pantheon in Rome, but instead of being a temple of religious worship, the Rotunda stood for a temple of knowledge. This being the main symbol of the university demonstrates how strongly TJ was trying to promote a religious freedom ideology on the students that would attend this institution. This ideology of religious freedom on top of the emphasis on law and politics makes me think that TJ's hope was to educate these students on various questions of the world, but bring it back to making a difference in society through the teachings on liberties and law.


    5. opinion that the central point of the white population of the state is nearer to the central college,

      Our definition of white now is very different from what it was back in Jefferson's day. In my COLA, White: A Racial Category, we've been learning about the progression of what "White" actually is and who was considered "white" in America throughout its history. "White", during the time frame of the founding of UVA, was considered to be of Anglo- Saxon descent, according to Thomas Jefferson. Being white was very exclusive. Just being from Europe was not enough, because being an immigrant from Germany, Ireland, Italy, did not make you white. The acceptance of these people to be considered white did not take place until later in American history. One also had to be of a certain economic status so that you can afford the education.

      So the placement of this school wasn't quite just based on the "white population" but economic status, and directly who you descended from.

    6. and the outlines of geography and history, and this brings us to the point at which are to commence the higher branches of education, of which the legislature require the development: those for example which are to form the statesmen, legislators & judges, on whom public prosperity, & individual happiness are so much to depend.

      I can sense Thomas Jefferson's influence in this paragraph. Although TJ was a very knowledgeable individual in a variety of fields of study, I remember learning that he tended to show bias towards his passion for law. This can be seen by the decision to have Pavilion 3, the space where classes of law were held, be the only pavilion with the highest order of columns, the Corinthian, as if it were superior to the other pavilions. This demonstrates what the University was trying to promote in its students' minds about the field of law and its importance in society.


    7. To improve by reading, his morals and faculties.

      Here's a great example of the class warfare inherent in the text, as well as a hopeful sign of progress that hadn't yet reached fruition. By claiming that you can improve somebody's "morals and faculties" through education, the founders of the university were essentially offering a justification for the class system of the day; in essence, this statement implies that the ruling class (meaning wealthy and white) were better suited for their positions than their underlings because they had received an education, and thus possessed better intellectual "faculties" and a higher ethical podium from which they could act, thereby justifying their social positions and offering a means and justification for their children to take their place once they'd passed. Personally, I reject the notion that the well educated have a higher moral understanding, since I've never heard of anybody with only a G.E.D to their name declaring war on another country, but I think it's interesting how in the 1800s, people began to reject the notion that the ruling class was inherently better and were thus better suited to their positions; education began to socially supersede divine providence. This may not have catalyzed change at first, but it significantly expanded peoples' notions of who should and should not be in power. It's a meager edition to a document that most others might find horrifying with its blithe acceptance of the idea of class structures and slavery, but it provides a small hopeful note.

    8. To give to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business.

      I've always found it immensely ironic as to how universities always make a big show of acting in the public interest, despite the fact that more often than not they exist to keep education firmly within reach of the rich while far away from the poor. UVA, for instance, has a "watch-list" of people who are given a fast track to admission thanks to connections to wealthy university donors (Summary: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/at-u-va-a-watch-list-flags-vip-applicants-for-special-handling/2017/04/01/9482b256-106e-11e7-9d5a-a83e627dc120_story.html?utm_term=.e0347fa7134b, Backing Documents: http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/local/u-va-watch-list/2396/). That's certainly far away from the ideal of giving education to "every citizen", even by the backwards definition of citizen used in the 1820s (meaning to be both white and landowning). It's especially interesting that while the university and country as a whole has made immense progress socially since then, we still haven't even come close to coming within reach of the ideals the university was founded on.

    9. To improve by reading, his morals and faculties.

      In my Engagements class, Thinking Like a Scientist, one of the main topics we discuss is how people make judgements of the information they read and how they decide what is valid. As were read over time, we aim to become better at distinguishing valid and invalid information. It seems that this goal of the university, “to improve by reading, his morals and faculties,” falls into alignment with this debate. I think that when we read, we are both absorbing the information presented and also formulating our own judgements and interpretations of it. This in turn helps us develop personal views about the world, thus cultivating some of our morals and faculties. By carefully evaluating a reading’s information and determining its validity, we are making judgements that align with certain morals and ways of thinking that we already have and are improving upon them. I like how even at the time of the university’s founding these ideas are present within the school’s academics, and now they are still present in a class in our new curriculum.

    10. Encouraged therefore by the sentiments of the Legislature, manifested in this statute, we present the following tabular statement of the branches of learning which we think should be taught in the University, forming them into groups, each of which are within the powers of a single professor.

      In Thomas Jefferson's "Notes on the State of Virginia", Query 15, "Colleges, buildings, and roads," discusses some of his views and observations of what kinds of these things existed at the time. He starts off by giving an overview of the College of William and Mary, which once was "the only public seminary of learning in this state" (276). T.J. describes the structure of W&M's first schools of learning at the time, which consisted of only six schools or "professorships" (Law, medicine, mathematics, moral philosophy, modern languages, and Indian conversion to Christianity). He comments that it would be proper for the college to soon add more professorships, specifically more of those of science and the ancient languages and literature of the North. I would say that these observations of W&M served as some inspiration to Jefferson's ideas for UVA that he describes in the Rockfish report. The commissioners provide an outline of the desired branches of learning which consist of ten branches, covering significantly more material than the six offered by W&M at the time. Also, Jefferson sticks to his notion of the importance of the Ancient Languages and the Sciences which he suggested for W&M, which can be seen through the prevalence of these languages and a vast variety of scientific topics within the proposed branches. Jefferson used his observations of the only Virginian college of the time and expanded on its structure when designing his own university. http://web.archive.org/web/20110221131407/http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=JefVirg.sgm&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=15&division=div1