62 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2017
    1. Districts of such extent as that every parent should be within a days journey of his son at school,

      I find this interesting because the University now seems to support such independence and student governance. Having parents so close seems like it would go against this goal, especially since the students are not allowed to have their slaves with them.

    2. To know his rights; to exercise with order & justice those he retains

      I find this excerpt to be almost ironic. Jefferson is hoping to instill a sense of morality in the students of his university, highlighting here that they exercise their rights with 'order & justice'. The flaw I find in that is that for an individual to know his own rights, he must also respect the rights of his peers. Slavery at the time was not considered an immoral practice, though the violation of African American rights was happening right in front of everyone's eyes. I acknowledge that sometimes it is hard to remove yourself from a situation to see it from a different perspective, but Jefferson's stress on rights, duties, justice, and order should have allowed him (as well as others at the time) to see the immoralities of the slave trade.

    3. To enlighten them with mathematical and physical sciences which advance the arts & administer to the health, the subsistence & comforts of human life: And generally to form them to habits of reflection, and correct action, rendering them examples of virtue to others & of happiness within themselves.

      This part is interesting to me beacuse one of the goals of Jefferson was to educate the men that would shape this country and be good example to others. The virutes that they learned at this school would be carried with them throughout the rest of their lives. While these virtures include honesty and curiousty and scholarship, they also include slavery and sexism. The reputation of this school is one of the antibellum South, where white men were respectful but often only to other white men and sometimes women. The history of slavery in this school helps us understand why racism is so deeply imbeded in its past and even in the past of Virginia and the South, as the graduates of UVa were meant to be prime examples honorable men.

    4. In entering on this field, the commissioners are aware that they have to encounter much difference of opinion as to the extent which it is expedient that this institution should occupy. Some good men, and even of respectable information, consider the learned sciences as useless acquirements; some think that they do not better the condition of men; and others that education like private & individual concerns, should be left to private & individual effort; not reflecting that an establishment, embracing all the sciences which may be useful & even necessary in the various vocations of life, with the buildings & apparatus belonging to each, are far beyond the reach of individual means, & must either derive existence from public patronage or not exist at all.

      This passage is interesting becasue it acknowledges that the formation of this University and the values it holds dear are not common at the time this was written. The founders have to deal with critiques from other scholars, who do not find the sciences nearly as important as the school is making them out to. This just shows that even in its founding, UVa was breaking boundaries when it came to education, not just in the regard of religion. The focus of the school was to better the youth of this country in all academics and hence help the country grow and develop in a unique way. It seems that Jefferson wanted the students to be able to study what they enjoyed and what they believed would help change the world. This is sort of the first liberal arts school, and for its time was going up against numerous forces.

    5. Some of these have rendered the elements themselves subservient to the purposes of man, have harnessed them to the yoke of his labours, and effected the great blessings of moderating his own, of accomplishing what was beyond his feeble force, & of extending the comforts of life to a much enlarg[ed] circle, to those who had before known it’s necessaries only.

      Unlike some other portions of this document, this quote has aged incredibly well. UVA continues to study how we can harness resources to create a better world for more and more people. From the engineers to the architects, UVa students are constantly studying ways to better make use of materials through innovation.

    6. We should be far too from the discouraging persuasion, that man is fixed, by the law of his nature, at a given point: that his improvement is a chimæra, and the hope delusive of rendering ourselves wiser, happier or better than our forefathers were.

      This quote reminds me of the important Jeffersonian ideal of "lifelong learning," something that is so integral to the University that it is taught to prospective students on tour at UVA. Everyone can learn, no matter how young or old. This is why UVA students are called first years, second years etc. because it implies you are only in your "nth" year of learning, and that there is no cap to these levels of learning.

    7. This doctrine is the genuine fruit of the alliance between church and State,

      This quote stands out to me because UVA often holds itself to be an explicitly secular institution. While this may be true and while Jefferson did intend to alter how religion and education interacted, religion’s influence over the school should not be denied. Specifically, Christianity has been dominant within the University's foundation, as highlighted by Jefferson's use of "church." As discussed in my engagements course, Jefferson said in his Notes on the State of Virginia “[relations between God and man are] the most interesting and important to every human being and the most incumbent on his study and investigation” Jefferson also said, “almost all the sects of the United States are comprised within the great unity of Christianity, and Christian morality is everywhere the same." Thus, UVA was intended to be more accepting of different denominations of Christianity rather than other religions or non-religious people. When thinking about the types of students the University has historically admitted, most have been Christian. While this likely reflects the overwhelming number of Christians in the country, especially during UVA's founding, it has shaped how religion has interacted on grounds. Before the building of the chapel, Christians would meet in the Rotunda. Today, it is often praised that this building was a library rather than a chapel but it still occasionally served a religious function. Thus, we should reflect on how the strong influence of Christianity has shaped UVA and its lasting effects. The country has begun to accept atheism and other religions, but the dominance of Christianity still remains. We should look to see what other religion's holidays do not occur on breaks, forcing students to attend classes rather than worship. Stigmas against religious dress, even implicitly, still affect society today. The number and size of non-Christian religious groups also vary. Because the University cannot explicitly accept more students based on their religion, the community needs to do a better job at accepting and understanding religions that have a minority of people. It is the people in the majority, after all, that have the most power to change the situation despite being the least affected by it. http://eventplanning.odos.virginia.edu/sites/eventplanning.odos.virginia.edu/files/UVA-Chapel-History1.pdf

    8. tavern in Rockfish gap on the blue ridge

      I was wondering if this tavern still existed. I did some research and it appears to have been the Mountain Top Tavern in Rockfish Gap, Virginia. Unfortunately, it also appears to have burned down in 1902.

      http://clannmhor.org/clannmhor/Mountain_Top_Inn_2.html

    9. under the style & title of the Rector & visitors of the University of Virginia,

      I find it very fascinating that Jefferson choose to not appoint a president of the University. There was not a president of the University until Edwin Alderman was appointed in 1904, almost 100 years after the founding. Jefferson's decision to not appoint a president is one decision he made which demonstrates his beliefs in completely democratic systems. Jefferson was a core contributor to the foundation of the Democratic-Republican Party, a party which criticized the Federalist party for placing too much power in the central government and harboring aristocratic attitudes. He may have seen the process of appointing a university president as too monarchal, a criticism which is still present today. Many students, specifically at UVA, feel detached from the president and the decisions that are made by the administration. The advantages and disadvantages of appointing versus electing a university president remain debatable. Is it inefficient to have students elect a university president or is it important for the student's to have a say in who their president is?<br> https://www.britannica.com/topic/Democratic-Republican-Party

    10. healthiness & fertility.

      I did some research, and it's actually said that he specifically did a survey on the ages of residents in Charlottesville. He found that Charlottesville residents lived to a great age, pointing to Charlottesville being an area of "healthiness and fertility." I find this interesting, because it seems to me that Jefferson was really passionate about the location of UVA being in Charlottesville (which makes sense, considering Monticello was already here).

    11. 1818

      It's important to note that the cornerstone of the University of Virginia was laid in 1817, yet this report about the establishment of the University was written in 1818. I was curious about this temporal gap, so I did some research. It turns out that the University of Virginia was once called Central College, which had its foundations laid in 1817. This would also provide a practical reason to found UVA in Charlottesville; after all, it would make sense to establish the University in a place that already had structures in place.

    12. Districts of such extent as that every parent should be within a days journey of his son at school, would be desirable in cases of sickness, and convenient for supplying their Ordinary wants and might be made to lessen sensibly the expense of this part of their education.

      I find this section to of the Rockfish Gap report to be ironic and interesting. It is strange that Jefferson and his colleagues found it important that the students should be from within a days journey of the University. Obviously, the majority of the students at the University today are still within the borders of Virginia, however there is a very large portion of students who are from out of the state and even out of the country. In fact, 5.3% of the student body is from outside of the United States and 25% are from outside of Virginia (http://as.virginia.edu/enrollment-data). Additionally, a days journey in the time of Jefferson was very different from what it is contemporarily. The advancement of transportation technology has widened the scopes of the University tremendously. Whether Jefferson envisioned this or not, I believe that he would be pleased with the progress the University has made.

    13. Some good men, and even of respectable information, consider the learned sciences as useless acquirements; some think that they do not better the condition of men;

      This statement reminded me greatly of the Evolution Engagement class I am currently in. The class began with an introduction to Charles Darwin's life, his theories of evolution, his contemporary theorists, and also the social implications of his "On the Origins of Species." One major implication we briefly discussed was its contradiction to religious beliefs in creation. By directly opposing God's creation belief, many religious individuals feared that the details of Darwin's work would discredit the church and thus society and people's morals would go backwards instead of progress forwards. Although Charles Darwin's theory wasn't published for around 30 years after the publication of the Rock Fish Gap Report, there were other theories in the early 19C about evolution prior to Darwin's, such as Lamarckism. The skepticism of "some good men" that the learned sciences "do not better the condition of men" could have their roots in the rising tension between science and religion.

    14. Districts of such extent as that every parent should be within a days journey of his son at school, would be desirable in cases of sickness, and convenient for supplying their Ordinary wants and might be made to lessen sensibly the expense of this part of their education.

      I find this sentence really interesting considering that UVA is a state school that still holds about a third of out of state students. This represents how much Universities from now until then have really grown and expanded, especially large state schools like UVA. Even though I am an in-state student, I know a lot of my out-of-state friends chose to come to UVA for it's integrating community, beautiful grounds, amazing education, and simply a fresh start in a new place. Nowadays, their home is a plane ride away. When the University was being established, the range of people t was open to was not only a social and racial issue. We can see from this sentence that it was also a technological issue, considering that it took exceeding amounts of time to even come from farther cities in Virginia. With cars and planes, we have made it possible for the University to be open to new perspectives such as people from different states.

    15. Slaves

      When reading through this report it is easy to forgot that Slaves helped build the University of Virginia. In the Empirical Engagement course I am enrolled in now called "Doing Fieldwork" I was assigned to a research group that studied how the Slaves who helped build this University are being remembered. The President's Commission on Slavery has a presence at the University of Virginia and its motive is to educate the University community about Slavery and its impact on the University of Virginia. So far they have plans to construct a Memorial to Enslaved Laborers that will be located right outside of Brooks Hall and serve as a means of remembering the individuals who served as Slaves while the University was under construction. Seeing the mention of Slaves in this report illuminates the fact that owning and utilizing slaves during this time period was common, and referencing them in this report was reasonable and expected. However, many students at the University of Virginia today are unaware of how much slavery impacted the formation of this school. Furthermore almost all undergraduate students at the University have no knowledge of the President's Commission on Slavery. This is concerning considering that one of the main platforms of the Commission is to spread the word about the schools past affiliation with slavery, yet no one seems to know about it. Could this be because we are still trying to hide from the past?

    16. And how much more encouraging to the atchievements of science and improvement, is this, than the desponding view that the condition of man cannot be ameliorated, that what has been, must ever be, and that to secure Ourselves where we are, we must tread with awfull reverence in the footsteps of Our fathers.

      I think this sentence is indicative of one of the overarching goals of the university: Progress. In this case, scientific progress is the way to better the lives of humankind. At the University of Virginia, finding ways to advance human society is a critical goal for all members of the community. Furthermore, reverence of the steps of our predecessors is also important, for progress comes from studying the past.

  2. Nov 2017
    1. encounter much difference of opinion

      The fact that Jefferson acknowledges that differences in opinion are an expected and obvious part of his University community is a very interesting idea. When we think of college or higher education in our current society, we think of a place that challenges ideals and values and forces individuals to encounter ideals different from their own. For many, this is the most amazing aspect of education and the aspect that makes it so worthwhile and influential in the lives of young people. Here, Jefferson says that even the commissioners and professors should expect these differing ideals. This shows just how open and accepting this university was meant to be, obviously not for minorities or women. It was never designed as a place to teach an ideology, but rather a place to learn and be exposed to multiple ideologies and challenge and demand more of its students, professors, and commissioners. This UVA ideal is still one that is alive today, with the many courses offered, the many students and professors living and learning here, the clubs and CIOs made by students, etc. It is still a place that values learning above all else and allows students to find their own values through their time here.

    2. It was the degree of centrality to the white population of the state which alone then constituted the important point of comparison between these places: and the board, after full enquiry & impartial & mature consideration, are of opinion that the central point of the white population of the state is nearer to the central college, than to either Lexington or Staunton by great & important differences,

      I find it both fascinating and absolutely horrifying that the deciding and final factor for the placement of the University I attend was its proximity to a white population. Charlottesville, in my opinion, is such an outstanding part of UVa its hard to imagine this school anywhere else. However, this school could have just as easily been somewhere else if the white population there was of 'greater and important differences' from Albemarle.

    3. And generally to form them to habits of reflection

      I like this piece of the document because I think it is extremely important that students today take the time to reflect and decompress. Stepping away from the grind of everyday school work periodically is essential for one's success. Many forget to practice the things they genuinely like to do in conjunction with the necessary practice of their studies. One must live, experience, and reflect back on these experiences in order to truly learn and develop their knowledge set over time. It is saddening to see hobbies and talents diminish in ones college years simply because they think there is not enough time for these non-academical activities. Self care is essential and doing the things one truly loves is a key component to practicing self care. This is something that has slowly diminished in the modernity of society and the its presence in the document shows that it is an important component of life and one's success. Additionally, it is one part of the document that is undeniably true or at least logical which in itself is worth noting.

    4. for example which are to form the statesmen, legislators & judges, on whom public prosperity, & individual happiness are so much to depend.

      This piece is interesting because it suggests that those who attend the university are being trained in specific areas in order to acquire skills that will lead to a small range of choices in profession. When the document was written professions were favored whereas today, graduates of the university will follow a broad range of career paths. Many of these do not follow typical professions such as doctors, lawyers, and architects as the articles below speaks about. Today, one could question if these professional jobs are disappearing and being replaced by millennials creating their own career paths such as with startup companies or temporary positions in companies. https://collab.its.virginia.edu/access/content/group/e8ce921a-5301-4957-adf9-0a6b90535b10/Is%20there%20a%20future%20for%20the%20professions.pdf

    5. 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

      This passage is very significant because it depicts some of what Jefferson would consider his most important values. He begins by citing the Constitution, a document that he has great respect for. Specifically, he refers to the Constitution's guarantee of the freedom of religion, under the Bill of Rights. Jefferson, during the drafting of the Constitution was an intense proponent of the Bill of Rights and saw it as an integral piece of American society. The freedoms in the Bill of Rights are of vast importance to Jefferson, as can be seen through this passage. It is curious to see him reference the idea of equality, seeing as the university was built using slave labor. It seems Jefferson only cared for the equality guaranteed by the Constitution.

    6. These institutions, intermediate between the primary schools and university, might then be the passage of entrance for Youths into the University, where their classical learning might be critically compleated, by a study of the authors of highest degree. And it is at this stage only that they should be recieved at the university.

      These lines indicate that Jefferson understood the importance of starting education at a young age and that he wanted the University of Virginia to be exclusively for top tier students. By requiring so much knowledge as a prerequisite for entrance, Jefferson ensures that these students need to begin school very early in life and be able to stay in school. To do so, students and their families must be able to afford to educate their sons rather than have them work. Thus, the students who were often able to achieve these high prerequisites were from wealthy families. This added to the education divide between the rich and poor, which in turn likely increased the income divide. These tough prerequisites, combined with a wealthy white male student body, led to the University forming a stereotype of a typical UVA student that lasts today despite efforts to create a more inclusive institution. We can also see that the University is expensive compared to other colleges, adding to the exclusivity of who can attend today. According to a forum on UVA’s website, “there is still a perception among some African-Americans that they shouldn’t even apply because they can’t afford rising tuition costs.” UVA has also become associated with white supremacists because of the rally, which has led to decreased early action applications from black students in 2017. This divide between the races due in education is seeing continued effects from the University’s selectivity that began with Jefferson. Because slaves were often prohibited any form of education, including reading, there was an immense education gap when they were freed. Jefferson's University had promoted the advancement of whites, allowing them to gain jobs and better incomes. In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Jefferson mentions that he believes Blacks to be naturally inferior, especially in terms of intellectual capacity. Whites obsession with keeping slaves uneducated, however, indicate that they understood that blacks had capacity to obtain the knowledge they were keeping from them. Therefore, by making these requirements that impacted the income and race of those who could become educated, Jefferson may have contributed to the economic divides between races today. https://news.virginia.edu/content/forum-examines-lower-numbers-black-students-uva https://newsone.com/3758977/black-students-university-of-virginia-acceptance-rates-decrease-post-charlottesville-white-nationalist-rallies/

    7. 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,

      I think that the emphasis Thomas Jefferson placed on the importance of ethical learning, shows a lot about his ideas pertaining to the make up of the University. His clear statement that there would be no "professor of Divinity" and instead a "professor of ethics" shows his strong thoughts about the separation between religion and public education. Additionally, the strong focus he placed on ethical engagement can be seen today in many of the foundational concepts taught in the classes here. This curriculum has an entire course requirement devoted to "ethical engagement," which may have stemmed from Jefferson's value of ethics. Furthermore, the attitude towards ethics and honor is strong at UVA, also stemming from Thomas Jefferson's values, which are clearly seen in this passage. It is fascinating how Jefferson's individual values have made up so much of the culture at UVA. Do other schools have a moral figurehead as strong as Jefferson at UVA? It would be interesting to look at those historical figures and analyze how/ to what extent they relate to the overall culture at that specific school.

    8. governing considerations should be the healthiness of the site, the fertility of the neighbouring country, and it’s centrality to the white population of the whole state:

      I found it interesting that he promotes having the university's location in close proximity with that of a majority white population. It's surprising because this decision is antithetical to the university's founding ideals of enlightenment and appealing to a candid world. Appealing to a candid world would mean the school would be inclusive to a diverse population, not just a white population.

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

      The University of Virginia strongly enforces this objective today and has continuously made changes to the curriculum in order to ensure this founding idea is upheld. Beginning in fall of 2017, first-year students (except Echols scholars) were no longer able to exempt themselves from the first writing requirement, as they had been able to do in past years. Although I am not sure the exact reason for this recent change, I am currently in a first writing requirement class and can speak on its relevance to upholding this objective. In my class, we have learned how to join the critical conversation about certain topics, either by agreeing, disagreeing, or adding to a scholar's argument. It has helped me be able to voice my opinion and express my ideas in a sophisticated, comprehendible manner. It is important that the University continues to want its students to have this foundation because strong writing is an important skill for almost all careers.

    10. Medicine, when fully taught, is usually subdivided into several professorships, but this cannot well be without the accessory of an hospital, where the student can have the benefit of attending clinical lectures & of assisting at operations of surgery.

      This sentence is significant and highlights the fact that having a teaching hospital was important the rockfish committee. It is interesting to see that UVA now has the most advanced medical center in all of Virginia and one of the most advanced hospitals in the entire country. Another thing that I found noteworthy about this comment was the progression that the medical field has made since the time of Jefferson and his colleagues. It is almost ironic think how primitive their understanding of medicine was at the time and how much the field has advanced since then.

    11. The 1st. duty enjoined on them was to enquire & report a site in some convenient & proper part of the state for an University, to be called the “University of Virginia.

      https://statesymbolsusa.org/symbol/virginia/state-name-origin/origin-virginia

      Names are very important to the identity of an institution. I often wonder about the context as to how and why certain things are named what they are named. From the posted link above, we know that Virginia was named after the virgin queen, Queen Elizabeth I. In 1818, were they aware of that? Or, perhaps, they simply named it the "University of Virginia" because it was located in Virginia, forgetting the origin of "Virginia" itself? When one mentioned UVA in 1818, did it conjure up an image of its patron, the queen, or did it conjure up an image of the land that was named after the queen?

      -dz3cz

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

      I find this sentence very broad, but I assume that "by transaction of his own business," Jefferson means that he hopes the university will prepare students to enter the workforce for whatever occupation they desire. I find this interesting because I recently read an article from the New York Times about how students from universities are not being taught skills that are conducive for workplace readiness. While a student might have extensive knowledge on the topics they studied in college, they may not be prepared for the skills needed for their specific job after college. The article discusses a study done from 169 different colleges and universities on 32,000 students. The study concluded that 40 percent of college graduates did not have the complex reasoning skills for their jobs, such as multitasking or the ability to work well with others. To me, this sentence says that Jefferson saw higher education not only as an opportunity to expand one's knowledge, but also to prepare students for the world they were about to be in: the workplace. And it is ironic that today, universities are not producing students who have the information needed for "their own business."

      Article:https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2015/01/26/why-are-so-many-college-students-failing-to-gain-job-skills-before-graduation/?utm_term=.9d679a66fbc8

    13. and to express & preserve his ideas,

      It is a comfort to see that one of the educational objectives outlined in this document stresses how important it is to not only become educationally enhanced, but also to grow as an individual. Learning to express ideas that are not created by another individual exhibits confidence in one's knowledge and initiative. Recently, in my ENWR class we reviewed and discussed a quote that related to the importance of developing as an individual while acquiring knowledge. Only when one sets themselves apart individually can they progress academically. Once an individual is able to express their unique ideas they can save them and use them for later reference. Growing as an individual and learning how to express and preserve ideas can also show how far a person has advanced with respect to their fields of study.

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

      The University of Virginia was clearly founded on institutions of white supremacy, but I think many forget the extent to which indigenous people suffered as a result of UVA's white supremacist orientation. In general, the colonization of what is now the United States came at a great disadvantage to our region's native inhabitants. It is also important to note, however, the extent to which our founding fathers (including Jefferson) were complicit in the systematic destruction of indigenous cultures and livelihoods. UVA was founded by a man who was very clearly detrimental to the region's indigenous populations.

    15. Some good men, and even of respectable information, consider the learned sciences as useless acquirements;

      I find this passage interesting, as Thomas Jefferson was one who valued the natural sciences, but certainly considered it to be less important than other subjects. This is evident from the neoclassical order of columns that Jefferson used outside of Pavilion I on the Lawn, which originally held instruction in the Life Sciences. Pavilion I has Doric columns, which are the second lowest order of columns. The fact that Pavilion I has Doric columns, and Pavilion III (which held instruction in Law) held Corinthian columns (which are the second highest order of columns) indicates that Jefferson considered certain academic subjects to be more important than others.

    16. the gratification & happiness of their fellow citizens, of the parent especially & his progeny

      This passage is very interesting since it seems to start out based on ideals of equality, though later corrects itself to ideas of lineage and family. It is obvious that the "fellow citizens" this line refers to is other wealthy white men, though the fact that the school wants to ensure students learn how to care for fellow citizens does show a sort of inclusive and caring environment. However, this idea is amended to ensure that students especially look to bring happiness to their families. At UVA today, I still feel that the gratification and happiness of fellow citizens is still something that students crave to find through the University. Our school is not only a very inclusive and familial place, but it is also an institution that reaches out to others and other communities trying to bring happiness on a broader scale. Also, still today, attending college and institutions of higher education is seen as a very strong way to bring happiness to your family, past and present. It's very interesting to see how this idea of what education can do is still an idea that is widely accepted and valued today.

    17. Education generates habits of application, order and the love of virtue; and controuls, by the force of habit, any innate obliquities in our moral organization

      I find this definition of education to be very interesting because of its differences in what modern day society perceives it to be. This phrase itself defines education as an improved style of conscious thinking and categorization that only arises in students as a matter of habit. I would argue that currently, education is becoming more focused in the acquiring of skills that will benefit a certain technical profession in the future. I see this shift in definition a result of modernization and technological advances, but am conflicted by which definition is 'better.'

  3. Oct 2017
    1. Various Vocations of life, needing more instruction than merely menial or praedial1 labor;

      By stating "Various Vocations" it is evident that the founders recognized education allows a person to feel a sense of self-worth (based on ability and success). Following that statement with menial and praedial, they suggest slave labor deceases not only the quality of life but makes them less worthy of recognition. By stating that they do not want their students to ever fall to such low levels of life, they indicate they understand that it is wrong for humans to be in that state. Thus, they do not consider slaves human or the same level of human that whites are. The writers understand that education can allow for critical understanding and freedom of the mind and that someone who is educated cannot be a slave. Therefore they understand that to keep slaves in submission they cannot be educated and whites will always need to be more educated than them, as to not become slaves themselves. Thus, it creates the question if the importance of having a university in the first place was to ensure the dominance of the white race and continuation of the master/slave relationship.

    2. and it’s centrality to the white population of the whole state:

      I want to focus on the idea of the importance of location to which students are admitted to the University. This statement makes it clear that physical proximity to their intended students (white citizens) was important to act as an incentive to draw more ideal students to come to the University. Location was therefore increasing admission. While physical distance acted as a barrier for students attending UVA during its foundation in terms of travel, thus inhibiting application, today location may act as a barrier for admission. For instance there is a difference between in-state and out-of-state admission, which may not contradict Jefferson's wishes as the University seemed to be intended for Virginians as the location to in-state white residence was the consideration. Likewise, someone's hometown location may affect what resources are available to them. For instance, small rural areas may not have opportunities for expensive science labs, AP classes, museums, or diverse communities (which can enhance experience and perspectives). These factors may contribute to lower test scores, worse essays, and less preparation for college. While admissions officers are supposed to take location into consideration, many students at UVA seem to be from affluent areas like Northern Virginia, have gone to private schools, have affiliation with the college, or have some exceptional circumstances. These factors and stereotypes may also decrease incentive to even apply to the University at all. Thus, location has altered to promote admission to acting as a barrier for application and admission. In part, this is a result of more applicants for college nationally, which allows for greater selectivity. In both the past and today, the University seems to benefit by getting its pick of ideal students (except for quotas on out of state students).

    3. By him the elements of medical science may be taught, with a history & explanations of all it’s successive theories from Hippocrates to the present day: and anatomy may be fully treated. Vegetable pharmacy will make a part of the botanical course, & mineral & chemical pharmacy, of those of mineralogy & chemistry.

      I find Jefferson's definition of a medical degree fascinating. He values the study of anatomy on par with the study of vegetable, mineral, and chemical pharmacy. He reasoning is that is allows the medical students to achieve full scope in their field through their studies. Furthermore, Jefferson intends for his medical students to be able to involve themselves in all aspects of human health, as reflected through the requirements of the medical degree.

    4. And it is at this stage only that they should be recieved at the university. Giving then a portion of their time to a finished knowledge of the latin and Greek, the rest might be appropriated to the modern languages, or to the commencement of the course of science, for which they should be destined.

      It is interesting to examine what Jefferson intended pre-university education to require. He desires for students to study writing with high priority with additional focus on science and foreign language. This is indicative of a tradition of liberal arts education at the university. Jefferson seeks a particular student that he believes has the foundation for success within the curriculum at UVa.

    5. an University, to be called the “University of Virginia.”

      The usage of the word "university" as opposed to "school" or "college" here is crucial. A university encompasses more than one school or college, by virtue of which lends itself to multidisciplinary engagement. The founders envisioned a multifaceted school that could equip scholars of a variety of disciplines, as well as accommodate research in a variety of fields. They may have even envisioned UVA someday reaching the level of an Oxford or a Cambridge, the two foremost universities of the western world.

    6. prescribed by the legislature

      This phrasing here shows that, from the getgo, the University and the Commonwealth are intertwined. UVA receives state funding, so they must also listen to Virginia's governing body. The school itself is responsible to taxpayers. In this modern era, every now and then, a headline will pop up wondering if UVA will go private. After seeing how closely influenced this founding document was by the state legislature, I think it would be a shame to destroy that 200 year relationship with privatization.

    7. it cannot be but that each generation succeeding to the knowledge acquired by all those who preceded it, adding to it their own acquisitions & discoveries, and handing the mass down for successive & constant accumulation, must advance the knowledge & well-being of mankind: not infinitely, as some have said, but indefinitely, and to a term which no one can fix or foresee

      In particular, this statement stood out to me the most in terms of reflecting the overall purpose behind the academics and education at the University of Virginia. The authors of this document are focusing on how important it is for learning to continue throughout a person's life, even after graduation from college. Also, the transmission of knowledge from one generation to the next is stressed in this statement. One of the most important aspects of learning in the eyes of the University's founders is that knowledge is built on and that there is never too much to learn. They encourage students to analyze discoveries made by others and too build on their ideas and formulate their own opinions about certain topics. This is how advancements and innovations are created, by individuals critiquing the knowledge of their predecessors and building on their ideas. I find it intriguing that the writers use the word "indefinitely" to explain how advancements are made. By using this word they are making it clear that there is no limit to how much knowledge can be expanded by future generations. It is not a possibility that advancements will be made, but rather a guarantee.

    8. 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,

      I find this paragraph very interesting because I think it highlights an important quality of the university today. What I take this thought to mean is that music and the arts are still extremely important, even if they are not the main focus of a higher level education. In a broader sense, it's important to have passions and interests in a vast array of subjects, as opposed to one linear path. UVA today has a reputation of being an extremely well rounded school for students who are motivated, intelligent, social, and more. Without the arts, which "furnish amusement and happiness," the student is considerably more two dimensional than they would be otherwise. The stress of the 'renaissance man' ideal is still felt at the university today.

    9. And that the said Rector & Visitors should at all times conform to such laws, 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.

      The stress on legislation in this sentence is important to recognize, as this principle of conformation to law and justice is one of Thomas Jefferson's most valued ideals, as he was one of the founding fathers of our countries. I think that it is interesting to see the parallel between the Declaration of Independence and the language used in the Rockfish Gap Report, as both of them clearly share ideals held by the same man. The idea of democratic legislation (as opposed to an elite few) was essential in creating an ideal university in Jefferson's eyes, and knowing how he felt about these principles in the Declaration of Independence helps to emphasize this.

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

      Mentioning the Constitution in "The Rockfish Gap Report" highlights how focused the creators of this document were on establishing an institution that reflected American ideals and the nation as a whole. They want to "conform to the principles" because they want to uphold the ideas of our founding fathers and preserve the message behind texts such as the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson's opinions clearly shine through in this statement as it discusses the necessity for religious freedom. As Thomas Jefferson was the primary author of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, his belief about freedom in relation to religion is being sustained. Establishing this principle is important because it reflects the true intentions of Thomas Jefferson and is a cornerstone for what the University of Virginia stands for and supports. Specifically recognizing the freedom of religion to be offered at the University of Virginia illuminates how focused Thomas Jefferson was about providing a learning community that unites and accepts all individuals, no matter their religion.

    11. enlarge their minds cultivate their morals

      The report consistently gives reference and importance to the student's morals. I think that this is ironic because the morals of the university have changed so much since the commencement of the university. It was acceptable in 1819 to consider slaves as property, not people. This was something that did not exist on student's moral compass until about 1953, when the first black student stepped on grounds. And even then, students and faculty pushed Mr. Gregory Swanson (the first black student at uva) to leave because of all the ridicule he dealt with. So, was the university truly built on morals if we could not accept all? Morals of the university have thankfully changed over time.

    12. Dormitories, sufficient each for the accommodation of two students only, this provision being deemed advantageous to morals, to order, & to uninterrupted study

      I think it is interesting that the lawn rooms at the commencement of the university were "deemed advantageous to morals, to order, and to uninterrupted study." Now, the lawn rooms not only represent these aspects of the University, but they also represent the students at UVA that participate in so much more than studying. Yes, the lawn rooms are reserved for some of the smartest students here, but they are also for students who are the most involved and influential in their extracurricular activities. I think that this aspect of living in a lawn room has changed a lot, especially since there are more dorm spaces than just the lawn rooms.

    13. Antient

      This is a new word for me, or perhaps "old." My first thought was that it was a misspelling of the word "ancient," but after looking it up, it was apparently the original (now obsolete) was of spelling the word "ancient." I'm curious as to how and why this changed, as well as how the original pronunciation changed (or didn't).

      • David Zhang (dz3cz)
    14. Th: Jefferson

      I was curious as to why certain initials have colons, while others opt for periods, and even others opt for neither. There are no repetitions in names, so I don't see why there isn't a standard. Perhaps it has something to do with ranking? Although there is no evidence to suggest so. Google did not help in answering this question.

      • David Zhang (dz3cz)
    15. Indeed we need look back only half a century, to times which many now living remember well, and see the wonderful advances in the sciences & arts which have been made within that period.

      The Industrial Revolution, which began in America in the late eighteenth century and continued throughout the nineteenth century, was the transitional period from agrarian and rural societies to industrialized urban centers. Some of the wonderful advances that the founders could have been referring to are the steam engines, cotton gins, steam boats, batteries, vaccinations like small pox, steam locomotives, photographs, etc. Living through these major advancements and experiencing the change from farms to factories first hand could explain why one of the objectives of the university was to “To harmonize & promote the interests of agriculture, manufactures & commerce.” The founders wanted the university to support America’s roots in agriculture while simultaneously being on the forefront of invention and industrialization for America’s future.

    16. Ideology is the doctrine of thought

      After taking the Debating Islams engagement with Professor Al-Rahim, I understand why the University’s founders wanted there to be a study of ideology. Through this class’s analysis of the ideology of political Islam, or Islamism, I have come to see the potentially dangerous power and pull certain ideologies can have over peoples' minds and actions. The problem with ideologies is that often times they have deep intellectual and moral roots which compel people to feel virtuous and righteous by way of them and this leads to close-mindedness and intolerance of other views of the world and the way it should work. Close-mindedness and intolerance can quickly escalate into violence, war and hate, so it is vital that universities teach students about such doctrines of thought. Although currently UVA does not have a specific ideology major or minor, the school does a great job incorporating ideology into a diverse range of disciplines like religion, history, anthropology, political science, etc., and now the engagements of the new curriculum.

    17. greater security against fire & infection;

      This relates back to Thomas Jefferson's education at the College of William and Mary. At the time in which Jefferson was a student at William and Mary, almost all activities took place in one building, called the Wren Building. Thomas Jefferson not only thought this wasn't conducive to educational and academic success, but he thought that it was unhygienic and dangerous (especially in regards to fire; the Wren building has burnt down multiple times historically). Therefore, it makes sense that the Academical Village has more wide distribution of University functions. The library is located in the Rotunda, classrooms are spread out between 10 Pavilions, and students stay in multiple dorms with different entrances. The University's functions were more spread out for hygienic and safety-related reasons.

    18. Latin, Greek and Hebrew

      It is interesting to note that the University of Virginia was supposedly founded on freedom of religion, and yet the Rockfish Gap Report indicates that students at the University should be educated in Hebrew, the language in which Christian scripture is written. This could indicate that there is a disconnect between Thomas Jefferson's concept of religious diversity and contemporary understandings of religious diversity. Whereas today religious diversity would be defined by a wide variety of religious beliefs, it is implied here that Thomas Jefferson's concept of religious diversity involved having multiple shades of Christianity represented at the University, not multiple types of religions.

    19. What, but education, has advanced us beyond the condition of our indigenous neighbours? and what chains them to their present state of barbarism & wretchedness,

      Here we have an obvious example of the supremacist ideology that makes Jefferson such a controversial individual. We see here how he views himself and the young, wealthy, white students of his University as a higher class than the "barbaric" indigenous neighbors. He states how his university will be democratic and accepting, though here he shows absolute bigotry and discrimination to this group of people. Maybe this was the same way in which he looked at the black slaves he used to build and create this university. Jefferson is looked to as this great figure, the man our University is accredited to, however one can't forget that he showed ideals of white supremacy and racism through owning slaves and only pushing towards emancipation for economic growth. This university has a rocky past, but a past that needs to be known. We should read these words written here by Jefferson and realize that this school was made for a certain population, a certain group who saw themselves as so much better than all other people. I think that this is one of the most important lines of this report because it opens our eyes to the negative aspects of our university's start, but it also shows how far we have come, not only as a country but as the University of Virginia.

    20. propose such general provisions

      Jefferson's attention to the future of his University is dashed throughout the document. He keeps in mind that though his idea of how the University should run is strong, he also acknowledges that provisions can only help his vision. In this way he places a portion of the school in the hands of it's future students, visitors, and presidents. He strives to have a University that runs as well as it possibly can, and he understands that in order for this to happen some changes might need to be made. He wants the University to constantly improve and not be tied down by the laws and rules of the past, showing just how invested he is in the future of this project. In this way we can see a connection to the Declaration of Independence, that some times there is a need for a new way of government or organization, and here Jefferson shows that he is on board for any of these future provisions that need to be made. This is a duty or responsibility to make sure the University runs at its best even if this means it needs to run differently than in the past.

    21. It is supposed probable that a building of somewhat more size in the middle of the grounds may be called for in time, in which may be rooms for religious worship under such impartial regulations as the visitors shall prescribe, for public examinations, for a Library, for the schools of music, drawing, and other associated purposes.

      Jefferson's decision to not have a church at the center of the University stands out from other universities constructed at the time. For example, Christianity formed a large part of the foundations for the College of William and Mary. At UVA, the chapel seems to be located in an odd place, slightly off the lawn and does not seem to be constructed in a meaningful and planned spot. When I looked into the construction of the chapel, I found that it was built in the 1880s after a successful campaign to address the spiritual needs of the University community. I also found it interesting that after the chapels dedication a professor proclaimed that while the Rotunda represented “in cold though classic beauty the outlines of a pagan temple,” the chapel aspired to heaven with its “pointed window” and “flying buttress.” The architecture of schools such as William & Mary, Harvard, and Princeton seem to resemble more of the traditional christian buildings, while the architecture of UVA does not. This serves as evidence of Thomas Jefferson's ideas for a university with learning, rather than religion, at its center. https://explore.lib.virginia.edu/exhibits/show/architecture-after-jefferson/the-romantic-picturesque/8

    22. These institutions, intermediate between the primary schools and university, might then be the passage of entrance for Youths into the University,

      I thought that this phrase from the report was fascinating because it made me question what, in 1819, admittance to a university entailed. With less prestigious schools and less opportunities for extracurriculars, it seemed that in the early 1800s admittance to a university would be much less competitive. The Rockfish Gap Report seemed to explain that a requirement for admittance to the University would be the District or preliminary schools, and then these, "might be the passage of entrance for Youths into the University." It seemed that almost if the student attended these preliminary schools they would have immediate access to the University, considering they had the money and means for it. This way of accessing a higher education that was present in the day seemed to be very limited to a category of rich, white, males. This group of people would be the only ones able to access these secondary or district schools, and therefore the only group of people who would even have a chance for admittance to the University. I wondered if remnants of the ways of admittance in the foundation of the university has contributed to the stereotype of white elitists that has been present at UVA for many generations.

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

      It is interesting to note the connections between the country's constitution and the founding "rules" of the University of Virginia, but at the same time the similarity seems very natural. Being Jefferson's university, it would make sense for the school to have principles similar to that of our nation at its foundation. Jefferson played such a vital role in the formation of our country, and many of his core values that are present in his writings for the states are present in the school. Freedom of religion, as well as more specifically separation of church and state, is one of the main reasons for the creation of the United States. This "conformity with the principles of our constitution" also explains a few other values present in the early days of the University. Most of the students that attended the school were the sons of wealthy land owners, who were very much a part of the slave culture of the country. Their treatment and outlook on slaves, as well as freed slaves, lines up with the outlook held by much of the nation. This attitude was no where banned in the constitution, and would not be absent at a institution that aligns itself with that document. Luckily, this school has changed over time, just as our nation has. While it has taken many years for black students, and then women, to be able to even apply to the school, UVA has grown just as the United States has. While the school, and the country, are far from perfect, it is interesting to note the connection to the constitution and America's core values even today. I think this line, while maybe not intentionally, is important in trying to ensure a conformity in the school with the values of our nation, and an ability for us as students and citizens to change them.

    24. 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;

      One of UVa's most unique features, especially in its early days, is that the school is not centered around religion. Most schools were set up with a church at the center, while the University of Virginia was built with the Rotunda, which was originally a library, at its center. This focuses the teaching on rational thought - facts, experimentation, data - more than intangible beliefs, making the school more secular and allowing for a unique freedom when it comes to education. Members of the University could ask questions and complete research on topics that may not be allowed in schools that determine their core beliefs from a religion text. This quality of separation of church and state (or in this case education) goes hand in hand with the foundation of our country. The colonists wanted to be able to practice what ever religion they desired, as students at this university should be able to practice any religion they desired. While it is likely that the church was still a large part of the daily lives of students, professors and administrators at the university, it was not dictated that any class or subject should be connected to or limited by certain religious beliefs.

    25. These are the objects of that higher grade of education

      This list of goals for all students of the university truly reflect that Jefferson wanted to mold well-rounded citizens, considering this list contains skills varying from business to math. I think it's important that while he recognized that students would differ in their specialty or major, he aimed to have every student know at least the basics of every area of study. I think it's also important that he didn't mention the practice of a specific religion as a goal; he only hinted at the values that certain religions have. Thus, the university started out being able to produce more open-minded graduates than competing institutions from the start.

    26. We have proposed no formal provision for the gymnastics of the school

      This part of the document is consistent with many others in that it is yet another facet of the university that was not officially decided on when it was founded. I find this to be reflective of the fact that Jefferson had a vision of a progressive and constantly evolving university in which he trusted its future leaders to do what they viewed as best for the time. This founding concept is seen not only here but in many other parts where there were pieces of the university not set in stone. It is this progressive outlook that may have led to the eventual acceptance of women and minorities into UVA.

  4. Sep 2017
    1. To harmonize & promote the interests of agriculture

      This quote is significant because it highlights the importance of agriculture at the time period. Jefferson believed that the United States should be a group of small farmers and not a place that centered around urban planning and development. It was a very agrarian-centered society. This contrasts to the University's ideals today because there is not a huge press on an agricultural program. The word we picked is culture because it involves the people of Virginia's priorities at the time: farming.

    2. we have proposed no professor of Divinity;

      This segment of the report is an affirmation of the rejection of a national religion in the constitution. The University is choosing to not have an official religion and placing the issue of religion in the department of ethics. This is representative of Jefferson's views on the relationship between religion and the state. Although religion is discussed in the declaration of independence, Jefferson did not want to include it.

      This represents a shift towards a more rationalist style of education by placing the authority of education in the hands of humans instead of God. Instead of being based on faith and belief, education would focus more on logic and facts.

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

      This point highlights that the purposes of the university were not simply academic, the goals included teaching their youth how to think and be the ideal citizen. It kind of brings up ideas of the "Renaissance man," the founders weren't just trying to create an educated student but a well-rounded and ethically virtuous citizen. There are also religious undertones in the language, while they're trying to avoid religion in their founding, it still shines through culturally in the language. (Group Annotation)