23 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2017
    1. the degree of centrality to the white population of the state

      Today, the white population composes 82.7% of Albermarle County and 70.4% of Charlottesville City. The white population of the University is approx. 60%. Albermarle is still very central to white populations of VA. I wonder if the University was founded in 2017, would a founding committee be more likely to choose a location further east where there is more racial diversity?

      Lelia Battle

    2. as the legislature may from time to time think proper to enact for their government; and the said University should in all things, & at all times be subject to the controul of the legislature.

      This passage highlights the relevance the new country and government had on the formation of the school. Jefferson had spent most of his life working on creating and then perfecting (to his ideal) our current democratic system. The fact that he requires his school to answer not just to one person, but a body is reminiscent the radical new form of governing America has adopted.

      • Maddie
    3. English grammar, the higher branches of numerical Arithmetic, the geometry of straight lines and of the circle, the elements of navigation and Geography to a sufficient degree, and thus afford to greater numbers the means of being qualified for the Various Vocations of life, needing more instruction than merely menial or praedial1 labor;

      Here we see that Jefferson preferred education to expand not only towards the higher education of university, but also towards primary education. The subjects he wishes to be taught at these primary schools are very similar to the liberal arts education he favored at the university level, in which he sought to create a well-rounded citizen who is knowledgeable in most disciplines. To educate a young man then, past the subjects his preferred vocation requires, was likely a foreign concept, but Jefferson sought to not only do this, but to begin the process young. On my part, I agree with him in this belief. People, especially when young, as they are still developing set beliefs and thoughts, should be exposed to a broad range of topics. I believe what is learned in ones youth is critical in forming the person that comes later.

      • Maddie S.
  2. Oct 2017
    1. But the Commissioners are happy in considering the statute under which they are assembled as proof that the legislature is far from the abandonment of objects so interesting: they are sensible that the advantages of well directed education, moral, political & economical are truly above all estimate

      I believe this is key, as the founders included morals as their second value, every time they list them. I noticed that above, the improving of a student's morals and faculties by reading was listed just third. This value has been carried on by the students and graduates of the university. The value of Honor being defined by the students themselves and each student holding the next to that standard. This is truly, as I see it, the best way to teach such a value, and I believe the Commissioners would remain to be happy currently.

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

      This particular quotation provides a fount aphorism in emphasis of general education over specialized education, a noble idealism of progressive learning eliminated by societal (usually economic) pressures today. The irony herein lies in the divisive racial content juxtaposing the "virtues" and "order". Enlightenment in higher education is strived for as much as humanic empathy within this document; however it is then constrained into unrighteous, racist principals that we presently struggle to uncover and recover from on an institutional level. Though good was sought-after in the institution, the irony within intellectuals of 1818 reflects a less cultivated, more dangerous mindset in society. Still, this foundation of institutionalized racism is arguably more oppressive and damaging to the modern age, so the true nobility of higher education for some must be called into question in realms of morality. For not only are these concepts ironic in presentation, they are also hypocritical in ethical "virtue".<br> -Emily Harris

    3. 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

      Most colleges in 17th and 18th century were affiliated with their own respective religious denomination. Basic divinity schools where ministers got an education were found at every college across America until Thomas Jefferson founded the first university to explicitly disregard the training of ministers. This is reflective of Thomas Jefferson’s personal belief in separation of Church and education as he thought religion to be a deeply personal set of individual ethics between persons. In fact, Thomas Jefferson kept a scrapbook of sorts, referred to as The Jefferson Bible today, where he cut the four gospels in Greek, Latin, English, and French and pasted them next to each other. He excluded all divine miracles (including the resurrection), omitted all redundancy, and put the gospels in chronological order. -Emily Harris

    4. all arbitrary & unnecessary restraint on individual action

      This is a very vague statement. What exactly qualifies as "arbitrary and unnecessary restraint"? Who gets to decide if a certain individual action is necessary or sensible/proper? And what is the basis for classifying different actions as such?

      -Wafa Salah

    5. 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 is an interesting statement and demonstrates who exactly the university hoped to educate back then. The students who it educated would go on to very high standing roles in society. While we certainly have students now who hope and will go on to assume similar roles, I believe the university seeks not just to educate those who will lead, but also prepare normal citizens who will go on to fulfill jobs, which still important, won't be as directly powerful. In my opinion this is an important change, as every citizen, wherever they may be from socially and financially, and in whatever role they go on to fill in society, should be educated to the fullest extent in order to be an active member of our nation.

      • Maddie S.
    6. To develope the reasoning faculties of our youth

      This is one of the most, if not the most, important objectives of education, and yet, unfortunately, it is becoming less and less relevant in educational institutions. To our loss, we, students, these days, seem to be more concerned about passing an exam or doing well on an assignment than actually understanding the material. It is not entirely our fault,however, as societal pressure and educational systems seem to also prioritize grades over knowledge. I believe this issue should be one of our primary concerns, but I am also glad to have witnessed that people aren't as oblivious to it as they were once before.

      Wafa Salah

    7. Also the whole of his Slaves amounting to 57 in number.

      This is the only time slaves are mentioned outright in this document. Jefferson and the other founders obviously view them as property, listing them between acres of land and placing them low on the list. This is interesting to me as without slaves the university likely never would have been founded, built, or maintained. It's disheartening that they provided so much to this university, unwilling as well, and yet seem to be almost an afterthought in this document. According to Encyclopedia Virginia, these slaves cleared land, cut and hauled lumber, made bricks, and transported stone in the beginning. Most were rented from their owners, likely causing them to be separated from their homes and loved ones. It also gives the name of a few slaves such as Carpenter Sam, who helped to build pavilions, Elijah who hauled stone, and William Green working as a blacksmith. It's important we recognize not just the labor they provided to the University, but also them as people and human beings who are apart of the University's complex history.

      • Maddie S.
    8. This particular line stood out to me because it draws upon explicit racism and an equally worrying subtext of dehumanization. The preceding sentences discuss land and the physical attributes of the University, only to be followed by this line about slave labor. In formatting the document this way, the commissionners seem to be equating the value of slaves to the land upon which they work. It strikes me with the message that slaves fall into the same category as the land, thus stripping them of any sense of humanity or value.

      -Lina Modjarrad

    9. It was the degree of centrality to the white population of the state

      In relation to the Race, Racism, Colony and Nation class that I'm in, there has been a long history of underestimating the intelligence of people of color in America, especially in Virginia. One of our readings mentioned that two black students at William and Mary were condemned for laughing in the college library, and an officer confronted them and did not believe they were students. His first assumption was that they were "bused in for a program." The fact that this report explicitly tailors the institution to the white population shows a connection between past and present. This type of racism might not be as blunt as it is in this report, but it lies in the micro-aggressions and subtle forms of white supremacy that are unfortunately still prevalent in America.

      -Lina Modjarrad

    10. In conformity with the principles of our constitution, which places all sects of religion on an equal footing,

      In my engagement, "Can a Text be Ethical?", we have been studying the importance of religion in regards to government and policies. For our final assignment, we have to analyze the logic behind when it is important to use religious texts, such as the New Testament, to make ethical decisions. I think this line in the document perfectly encapsulates the whole point of this class: all religions should be considered equal. But the difficult question is when do we take religious beliefs into consideration? Jefferson believed his university should uphold the same values that his country upholds, which are that of freedom and equality for all. However, this then dives into the question of how far equality extends. If equality was so important to Jefferson, why was it only relative to religion? He is widely-known for keeping many slaves, so it is obvious that social equality was not of relevance to him. Then again, we must wonder if it was because he wasn't trying to make a political statement with the founding of a university. The amount of funding and support that a university requires is unimaginable, which is why it would make sense that Jefferson would pick his battles to allow for a new university instead of fighting for racial equality.

      -Lauren Hickey

    11. 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:

      It is interesting to me that French was considered to be superior to all other languages, whether or not they were still in use. Latin is thought to be an extremely important language, since most of our historical documents were originally written in Latin. As far the sciences go, which is emphasized in this document as critical to the learning of all students, Latin is used to describe most everything. The names of plants, animals, and medical terminology are all Latin, which is why it is unusual for the text to refer to the French language as the "best".

    12. Also the whole of his Slaves amounting to 57 in number.

      The custom of the time allowed slaves to be treated as property. It is interesting how slaves are included in this account of purchased property. How could the writers of the document believe in an education that would "leave us free to do whatever does not violate the equal rights of another"?

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

      The leaders who wrote this document wanted a student to improve his mental abilities, ethical ideas, and reading. The morals that a student should learn though are not specified. These morals probably did not include racial equality with the slaves at the time. This improvement of morals could have caused students to disregard the problem of slavery when talking about morals.

    14. Proceeding thus far without offence to the constitution

      Prior to this statement, Jefferson explains that there is no professor of Divinity or religion. He claims this is to not interfere with the constitution. What in the constitution does he not want to offend? Presumably he is referring to the first amendment. Thus, he thinks that teaching religion would impose the religion and infringe upon the freedom to exercise any religion one desires. Does teaching a religion force it upon someone? In fact, the teaching of some religions and not others may have this effect by limiting students understanding of certain religions.

    15. the commissioners are aware that they have to encounter much difference of opinion

      The commissioners recognize that there are many different opinion about the founding role of the university. They, then, list the opinions of others and argue why they are invalid. The arguments are about the establishment of the school as an institution to promote the liberal arts. However, they do not recognize the greater effect the school has on its surroundings. No one objects to the slave labor that will build and operate the school. They pretend to take into account others opinions, when the initial students and professors were mostly all of the same background: rich, white, educated, southern men. The school still somewhat perpetuates these ideas with white people having the vast majority control of the school. - Charlie Jones

    16. 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

      This statement highlights the fact that the founding of this university was during a time of youth for America. English, being among the languages of "general intercourse among nations", has become popular in succession with the rise of America as a world power. The fact that French was viewed as the universal language represents the immaturity of America as a nation at the time of this document's creation, not having made a mark on the world stage yet. This is important to keep in mind when reading this document in order to understand the feat which its authors were hoping to accomplish: the establishment of a university which would produce intelligent citizens that would help America mature as a nation.

    17. The objects of this primary education determine its character & limits. These objects would be, To give to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business. To enable him to calculate for himself, and to express & preserve his ideas, his contracts & accounts in writing. To improve by reading, his morals and faculties. To understand his duties to his neighbours, & country, and to discharge with competence the functions confided to him by either.

      In this part of the text, it talks about what the goals are for the students who are getting a primary education. This is interesting because it maps out what the students should be learning and what concepts they should grasp. Even though the terms are very ill-defined, they map out that the students should improve their reading, morals, and writing. The best part of this text is when it mentions that every citizen should be able to express or preserve his/her ideas. I found this interesting because the university gives the rights to the student to express their ideas. Matt Moore

    18. 2d. The board having thus agreed on a proper site for the University to be reported to the legislature, 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, & of indefinite extent in one direction at least, in each of which should be a lecturing room with from two to four apartments for the accommodation of a professor and his family: 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 found this paragraph very interesting. I did not know so much thought and design went into designing where the dorms and pavilions were located in correlation to the lawn. It is interesting to know that everything on campus was built there for a reason. Their ability to take the students academics and their study time into effect is what makes this university unique. They mention that the pavilions should be accommodated by 2 students who deemed advantageous to morals, to order, and to uninterrupted studying. This shows how much this university cares about their students and that is what caught my eye when reading.

      Matt Moore

    19. within the powers of a single professor

      What strikes me the most about this practice of one professor teaching all of the courses, is the lack of diversity of thought per course offered. While professors often teach more than one course these days, there are other professors and instructors who add different varieties of thinking about the genre a student wishes to learn. If only one professor controlled an entire grouping of these classes, how would the diversity that respective courses offer reflect the opportunity to truly understand the courses themselves?

    20. forming them into groups

      It's very interesting that the grouping of courses was first by course area themselves, instead of the modern fashion of by the major that one tends to accomplish. What's even more striking, however, is that these areas may be how the the lasting areas of study are grouped.