4 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2017
    1. And generally to form them to habits of reflection, and correct action, rendering them examples of virtue

      Virtue is defined as having high moral standards. As we delve into UVA's past, the presence of these supposed moral standards is lacking in one area: equality. The attempted justification of our university's participation in the discrimination against people of color and women is over. The white supremacy that existed during that time still exists today, as UVA accepts less and less black students, as Sullivan sends out contradictory emails, as white supremacists march on the place we call home. The white supremacist attack on August 12th was a wake up call, though discussions about UVA's dark history should have been started a long time ago. To worship our founder is to worship his actions of discrimination and abuse. As students, it is time we take responsibility for UVA's past as well as our individual complacency and inaction. Discovering new virtues and adhering to them is essential if we truly desire to change the course of our university's future and direct this institution towards genuine equality and authentic responsibility.

    2. ndividual action shall leave us free to do whatever does not violate the equal rights of another.

      Oh the irony. What the writers of this document meant to say is that students are allowed to do what they desired as long as it does not violate the equal rights of white men. UVA's history of slavery, a founder who was racist and abused his slaves, and the university's role in advancing eugenics blatantly and horrifically violated equality. The normality of slavery during that time period does not mean that such injustice should be excused. Hence, if this institution intended (and they did) to utilize slaves to build this school and then deny them the right to enroll, then this sentence should never have been written. It is almost as if the writers of this document were aware of the inequality they participated in, but when that era came to an end they could point to this sentence and announce how they were blameless since the document establishes UVA's perspective of equality.

  2. Oct 2017
    1. And, in general, to observe with intelligence & faithfulness all the social relations under which he shall be placed.

      This sentence caught my eye due to the term "social relations". After all, societal structures shape people both implicitly and explicitly. UVA's founders desired for the university to be progressive, unique, and make its own path. The founders prided themselves on creating an institution that was so vastly different from others in terms of goals and expectations. So why was this sentence written? Shouldn't a progressive institution encourage students to defy social norms and forge a new path towards a better and brighter future? If the sentence was simply "...observe with intelligence all the social relations..." then one would understand that students must not adhere to the social constructs but seek to break down what limits them and remain aware. Yet, the implementation of the word "faithfulness" causes me to interpret this sentence as encouraging students to be obedient, to not create any ripples, and to do what society expected of them. After all, creating ripples could lead to true progression, and true progression could topple the delicate system of oppression that was ravishing the country.

    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:

      What is perhaps the most highly controversial sentence within the entire document boils down to one word: white. Linguistically, the word is a simple label for race. Yet, in the context of this document, the message of the entire piece changes. Suddenly, "white" converts this document into one full of racist undertones. To see such discrimination so nonchalantly expressed causes the reader to stop in their tracks and reevaluate the mentality of the writers. Therefore, the questions remains: What if the word "white" was not included within this document at all? Surely, racism and the enslavement of African Americans would not change or vanish, however, would the environment of UVA be different today? The Rockfish Gap Report bred a culture of subtle white superiority that has permeated each and every year and class since UVA was founded. It was only until actual white supremacists marched across UVA's lawn that the community actually decided to take a good look at itself. Disturbingly, the evidence of white supremacy can be traced back all the way to UVA's founding document.