30 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2017
    1. 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

      Though this passage directly refers to the "difference of opinion" concerning what should be taught at the University, as can be read right below it, I think it is interesting that this passage is included and the University today still prides itself on true difference of opinion. I think it is absolutely necessary that every opinion on grounds has a platform, even if some may be uncomfortable for some members of the community. If students graduate the University wanting to argue for their own ideas, it is absolutely essential that they have been exposed to the entire range of arguments on any given issue. I think that overall, this passage is important, and says a lot about the University's "character" as a whole.

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

      I found this particular "object of education" extremely interesting as I think morality should be at the center of any education. As one of the goals of UVa since its founding, it is evident that Jefferson and those who wrote the Rockfish Gap Report wanted to create individuals who are competent to change society around them to better coincide with moral values of the time - this, in my mind, should be at the heart of any education, particularly a public one. I also think that the use of the word "faculties" is interesting here, because it seems to suggest that the University will teach its students to embrace their vulnerability - maybe even just acknowledge it - at times, rather than fight it. To teach each student about his or her own morals and faculties is a goal that any and very University should aim for, and I think it is somewhat uplifting (though obviously this goal hasn't always been carried out perfectly) that these words were included in the Rockfish. - Ben Kava

    3. It may well be questioned whether fear, after a certain age, is the motive to which we should have ordinary recourse. The human character is susceptible of other incitements to correct conduct, more worthy of employ, and of better effect.

      This aspect of the document reminds me of UVA's policy with regard to Honor Code violations. Rather than a catch-all expulsion or other disciplinary policy, the University makes allowances for students to turn themselves in with lesser consequences and be counseled and tried by their peers through the Honor Committee. Although this wasn't established until later in the University's timeline, it's intriguing to me that this idea of understanding, rather than punishment, as a means for discipline is so deeply rooted in the culture of the University.

      Annie Parnell

    4. To instruct the mass of our citizens in these their rights, interests and duties, as men and citizens,

      I like that he referred to the students as citizens. This shows how Thomas Jefferson truly thought he was creating a community rather than a school. Also, these students had rights and interests that the University should uphold and these are constantly being tested today. As students, we should question if the University is giving is the rights we all deserve. Also important to note that he said men as women were not yet part of the school. I wonder if UVa had trouble outlining women's rights here as men's rights were established first. -Ella S. (es4vr)

    5. Ethics

      The fact that Ethics was one of the main areas of study that Thomas Jefferson thought of shows how much he valued a liberal arts education. Also shown throughout the document, he really wanted the University to be a community. I wonder if he thought there was a direct relationship between creating a community and ethics. In my Engaged Citizenship class we discussed how now we believe that ethics and citizenship (or being part of community) go hand in hand and we do see that aspect a lot at UVa. TJ may have thought about this first simply with creating a community who should value studying ethics. -Ella S. (es4vr)

    6. hat education like private & individual concerns, should be left to private & individual effort; not reflecting that an establishmen

      I found this to be a very interesting line that I had looked over the last time I read this. This, personally, is a subject I feel strongly about. I am a big proponent of public education, and I disagree with the people they describe here that believe education is a private concern, because education is most definitely a public concern. This gives me more respect for the writers of this report and Jefferson for wanting to create a public university that would make education a public, and not private, effort.

    7. that education like private & individual concerns, should be left to private & individual effort; not reflecting that an establishment

      This is an interesting take on the relationship between an individual and an institution. The writers of the Rockfish Gap Report are saying that what an individual at the University wants to do with theirself is entirely up to that individual and the actions of that individual do not have any reflection upon the values or beliefs of the University as a whole. On one hand, this makes sense as individuals have free will to do as they please and an institution like a University shouldn't really compromise that. However, one could also see it that the University is a governing body responsible for its members and their consequent actions. Therefore, the University could be liable for the actions of its members. Either way, the University's job is to educate its members and should uphold a certain code of conduct - for decency's sake.

    8. express & preserve his ideas

      I find the word "preserve" thought-provoking and fitting in this context due to the fact it highlights an often taken-for-granted and overlooked aspect of writing's multifunctionality. While writing, I usually focus on expressing my ideas and concentrating on my diction/syntax to best convey my ideas. However, I forget that the writing is actually preserving my thought processes and will extend past my lifetime to future generations if published. The authors of this Rockfish Gap Report did have in mind the function of their writing as a way to preserve their ideals past their era to shape University of Virginia. How do you think they would react that knowing that some of their preserved ideals by the Rockfish Gap Report were no longer followed and to what degree does writing help extend our ideas and knowledge past our own minds? -Kristin Putman

    9. And generally to form them to habits of reflection, and correct action, rendering them examples of virtue to others & of happiness within themselves.

      This objective seems a bit ironic to me especially considering the kind of exclusivity of the type of students that attended when UVA was first founded. Also, it's hard to ignore the fact that at UVA they are meant to "correct action" and "render themselves examples of virtue to others", both good moral values, except while African Americans were being oppressed and not given the same opportunities as these men attending the University. Lauren L.

  2. Nov 2017
    1. 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.

      I found this statement interesting because it demonstrates the never-ending trend of society continuously advancing and moving forward. It is almost comical to think back how in 1818, when the document was written, the writers believed that their society and educational systems were so advanced. Looking back, this was obviously not the case; however, it is true that they had made many advances from previous centuries. Furthermore, today’s society has surpassed the first generations of UVA by a remarkable amount, not only in the technological and educational regard, but also in the moral regard, considering the original UVA was a school for solely white men of high status. The “indigenous” neighbors the document goes on to mention who the writers perceive to be less advanced than themselves are described as “barbaric and wretched.” This description is ironic considering the low moral standard of these founders who are almost barbaric and wretched themselves. Finally, it is again ironic that the writers are calling themselves “advanced” when they still have ignorant and amateur views about themselves and others.

    2. I Languages Antient 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 VIII Government III Mathematics Pure Algebra Political economy Fluxions Law of Nature & Nations Geometry elemental History (being interwoven with Politics & Law[)] Transcendental IX Law Municipal Architecture X Ideology Military General grammar Naval Ethics IV Physics-Mathematics Mechanics Rhetoric Statics Belle Lettres & the fine arts Dynamics Pneumatics Acoustics Optics Astronomy Geography

      In comparison to the list of courses offered by the University today, the core component of a religious department is missing. The reason for this is explained in the document, but it is still interesting that Jefferson did not think it wise to offer an opportunity to study all religions. Religious equality and freedom is about offering insight and opportunity in all sects of all religious backgrounds, rather than exempting religious opportunities from education altogether. Because the population at the time was, however, primarily Christian, it is understandable why Jefferson exempted its teachings from the University for the sake of a separation between church and state.

    3. the care of the grounds

      Many students here at the University have no idea why we refer to the grounds in the way we do, myself included. It just seems to be tradition. Here in the Rockfish Gap report, the term "grounds" appears a whopping 2 whole times! I assume that it's from this document that we derive our tradition of calling our university "grounds." It's crazy how something so small has become so engrained in our student culture.

      It may be worth questioning as to whether or not this term invokes a sense of superiority and/or pretentiousness through its use both in the student body and in an outsider's view of the university.

      Jedidiah Park

    4. Education, in like manner engrafts a new man on the native stock, & improves what in his nature was vicious & perverse, into qualities of virtue and social worth

      This is an interesting way to describe education. It suggests that Thomas Jefferson was surely knowledgeable in philosophy, as he takes on a very philosophical approach to education and its value. This statement carries with it hints of Plato's Allegory of the Cave and the concept that virtue and rebirth as a philosopher king arises when one educates himself. -Avery Finkelson

  3. Oct 2017
    1. 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,

      I find it interesting that this section is so narrative - more than just establishing what the commissioners decided on, it lays out when and how the decisions were reached, and in what order. This shows a lot of attention to detail - it seems like this board really wanted to have all their bases covered.

      Annie P

    2. advantageous to morals

      While triple rooms certainly wouldn't be the most comfortable, I also can't quite wrap my head around why those writing this report have deemed housing only two students per dormitory as "advantageous to morals," but I additionally can't see why this is considered so important that it's the first item on this list of advantages. Avoiding arguments and peer pressure, sure, but was this really that major of a concern (especially considering 'maintaining order' is already on the list)?

      Annie P

    3. 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 like this quote because this is an example of how we can use our positive fundamental historical beliefs to fight against our negative history. Education is extremely value and UVa is constantly trying to expand knowledge, especially shown through this New Curriculum. Through expanding knowledge and education to help form our morals, we can learn to balance our controversial history with recent events and fight to be a culturally aware and genuinely progressive University. If students are aware and knowledgable, there's so much a student body can do to progress out society. -Ella S.

    4. 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.

      Even in our formation of the University, we believed higher education meant supremacy. When UVa didn't allow black people into the school, we believed we were superior and they weren't allowed to have the higher education we have. Even now when we look at demographics, the minority percentage is so low, it seems as if we still follow this superiority complex of education for white people. -Ella S.

    5. as well as from the obvious sense of the Legislature, who, in the same act make other provision for the primary instruction of poor children, expecting doubtless that, in other cases, it would be provided by, the parent, or become perhaps a subject of future, and further attention for the legislature.

      Yet another form of exclusion is present here. This statement reveals a preference in the higher classed individuals. As to say that those who are poor did not receive an education and that it falls on their parents to teach them. Chances are if they are poor they most likely have parents who are trying hard to support the family and may not have time to teach their kids much or their parents are just not around. Many may want to peruse a higher form of education but the classifications for the university purposely omits them.

    6. each dormitory about $350, and Hotels of a single room for a Refectory, & two rooms for the tenant necessary for dieting the students will cost about $3.500 each. The number of these pavilions will depend on the number of Professors, and that of the Dormitories & Hotels on the number of students to be lodged & dieted. The advantages of this plan are, greater security against fire & infection; tranquillity & comfort to the Professors, and their families thus insulated; retirement to the Students, and t

      The formation of the houses on the lawn from back then to today is extremely exclusive. It's kind of strange how expensive it seems now but we must keep in mind that the amount of money they are referring to back then most likely means it was just as pricey considering the value of money. The plan states that there is intention to keep the area secure against fire and infections, but looking at the lawn now, it seems like the exact opposite. For such a private and elite area it is far too public and open to too many germs, the idea of it being located on an entire field of grass just makes it more prone to a quick spread in fires as well. I think the plans they had in mind, other than keeping it extremely exclusive to live on failed.

    7. these Languages being the foundation common to all the Sciences, it is difficult to foresee what may be the extent of this school.

      I find it interesting how, up until fairly recently, the ancient languages of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew were so fundamental to a quality education. These languages were important to all aspects of learning, including math, science, and literature. In fact, at this time the ancient Romans and Greeks played a huge roll in the founding and development of the American governmental system. You couldn't be considered educated until you had mastered the classics. I can't think of any language that has such broad importance in academia today. For people in other countries, learning English might have a similar importance, as it's on of the main languages used in the global market. Katie N.

    8. with him

      The way language was used back then gives a good index of what cultural views were back 200 years ago - especially on the subject of gender. It would be difficult to say whether or not the founders of the University were explicitly sexist based on the language used in the Rockfish Gap Report, but it we can conclude with a fair amount of certainty that men were typically seen as those who held positions of power.

      Jedidiah Park

    9. Military Architecture, includes Fortification, another branch of that art

      Although it may seem strikingly odd that a subject called "military architecture" would be put in a list with many other subjects we are used to seeing taught in a university, it actually is very fitting given the time period. America was a new country and a strong military was something seen as necessary to protect sovereignty. To this day, America puts a lot of emphasis on military strength and many branches of engineering put a focus on defense and military. So in a sense, military architecture is probably still taught, just under a different name and different conventions today.

      Jedidiah Park

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

      Here, as others have mentioned, Jefferson shows his intolerance for people of other cultures and races. I assume the "indigenous neighbours" he refers to are the Native Americans that we as Americans kicked out of their land and homes. To answer his rhetorical question, obviously things other than education have advanced people beyond their condition: race, for one thing, allows white people to gain a great advantage over indigenous people, whether educated or not. In addition, there are many types of education, as can be seen earlier when Jefferson discusses the inevitability of people arguing over what types of education should be mandatory at UVA, saying they will encounter "much difference of opinion." Therefore, who is Jefferson to call them less educated just because they are educated in different ways than white people? Sometimes it is easy to be blinded from some of Jefferson's less likeable opinions, and it is important to recognize these qualities when learning about him and the University's past. Matt F. Discussion

    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.”

      I find it interesting that they put convenient and proper together when describing where they wished the University to be built upon. What considered a place proper versus improper to the men who contributed to the Rockfish Gap Report? I'm assuming vicinity to well off white communities would have contributed to the proper-ness of a location for the University. Also, what made the founders feel that Charlottesville, Virginia was the most convenient spot for such a prominent site for education?

      Lauren L.

    12. same advantages to youths whose education may have been neglected untill too late to lay a foundation in the learned languages

      When thinking of the creation of the University I imagine privileged white boys attending the University, so when I read this excerpt, I found myself wondering what they meant by "youths whose education may have been neglected". Does this mean young boys who simply were not at the same education level as some of their other peers or perhaps boys of the middle and lower class were also allowed to attend the University if they had the means to attend? I'm assuming it is the first explanation I gave rather than the latter, but I could be mistaken. Nevertheless, the opportunity for whoever it was to catch up and be on the same level as their peers in certain subjects was a smart decision to allow more students to thrive in their studies.

      Lauren L.

    13. I know this has been a popular phrase to annotate, but I can't read it without commenting. The phrasing of the entire preceding passage I find odd - the fact that they would place this line about slaves after explaining the entirety of the physical property of a possible university in Lexington I think says a lot about the nature of the racial climate at UVa's founding. It almost sounds like the slaves are less important or valuable than even the land which is mentioned before them. The fact that the word "also" is used, signals that these slaves were an afterthought, and reinforces the notion that the University was founded with the core principal of providing education in a central location to the white population. I wonder, though, if Jefferson thought about how the University would survive after the inevitable abolition of slavery and of the University's place in the fight to abolish it. -Ben Kava

    14. To expound the principles & structure of government, the laws which regulate the intercourse of nations, those formed municipally for our own government, and a sound spirit of legislation, which banishing all arbitrary & unnecessary restraint on individual action shall leave us free to do whatever does not violate the equal rights of another.

      This passage, though seemingly intuitive and well- meaning, was very troubling for me. What I found troubling about it was not in the words of Jefferson and the other founders, but rather in how those principles are carried out at UVa today. In essence, I agree with Jefferson - students at UVa should be taught to understand the "principles and structure of government" and in particular their own government. I agree with him in that I think we should all have a right to be free from unnecessary restraint. However, when he says that we shall be free to do whatever does not violate the equal rights of another, I cannot help but think of the events on August 12th. It seems to me that in protecting freedom of speech by allowing these people on our grounds, we also blatantly disregarded one of our founding principles. Do confederate and nazi flags not violate the rights of blacks and jews respectively? -Ben Kava

  4. Sep 2017
    1. Also the whole of his Slaves amounting to 57 in number.

      The location of this number relative to its surroundings in the document reflects how slaves are described by Jefferson in his Notes on the State of Virginia. His feelings that slaves lacked human qualities and were better treated as property than anything else are certainly represented in this document. "Slaves" is capitalized in the document just as the names of plots of land are; there is no technical differentiation between the plots of land and the slaves. This statement highlights the paradox of our University's founding; while its founder champions liberty (specifically, in this case, in the form of academic liberty), his slaves built the institutions in which we acquire it. Avery Finkelson, Matt F

    2. To seek this finishing elsewhere, must therefore be submitted to for a while.

      It is interesting that UVA's now extensive medical program and hospital did not seem to be prioritized at the time of the University's founding. Because of cost and space issues, there was, at first, no avenue for constructing a hospital. It is, however, honorable that the founders of the University still incorporated the intellectual aspect of a medical education into the school's curriculum. I researched the development of the University's health program, finding that UVA first constructed a dispensary in 1895 and opened its first hospital in 1901. https://uvahealth.com/about/health-system-info/history Avery Finkelson, Matt F

    3. To understand his duties to his neighbours, & country, and to discharge with competence the functions confided to him by either.

      This phrase stands out to me as something that Thomas Jefferson found extremely important to have in his University's values. Jeffersonian public philosophy put a huge emphasis on a society based on small communities and civic virtue. Jefferson believed that the only was for this new democracy can survive is for all citizens to be enlightened with civic virtue. By including this in the Rockfish Gap Report, Jefferson was further ensuring that this nation would survive long after he was gone.

      Katie N.