The Jefferson Council emailed University of Virginia administrators September 16 asking that they “Publicly denounce the destruction of the YAF flag tribute.” They also requested that a formal investigation into the incident be launched.
The Jefferson Council is an organization made up of various alumni and stakeholders with a shared goal of promoting intellectual diversity and preserving Thomas Jefferson’s legacy at UVA.
On the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Young America’s Foundation reported that UVA’s 9/11: Never Forget Project flag display had been vandalized. A table was flipped, flags were trampled, and a sign was found on the ground outside of a bar.
UVA responded with silence, which The Jefferson Council described as “deafening.” In response, they sent the following message to UVA administrators on September 16:
Dear Rector Clement, the Board of Visitors, President Ryan, Provost Magill, and Acting Dean of Students Caruccio:
Please read this addendum to my earlier message. We have three pertinent additional items we would like to bring to your attention:
As you probably know, Washington University experienced a similar desecration of their 9-11 memorial this past Saturday. Chancellor Andrew Martin, Rector Whitt Clement’s counterpart, came out with a brief comment calling the act “reprehensible” the same day. A more extensive, strongly worded response was released on Sunday that is posted on their website:
Below is an excerpt from Chancellor Martin’s statement:
“I want to make it very clear that, as an institution, we find the actions of this student to be reprehensible. The removal of the flags impeded the ability of individuals to commemorate the lives lost on 9/11 and to process the trauma of that day. This act was seen as a personal affront by many, at WashU and beyond, and as an affront to the ideals of our institution.”
We do not understand why an immediate condemnation of the UVA incident was not issued within 24 hours, similar to Washington University, stating as they did that a thorough investigation will follow with details concerning the consequences for the perpetrators.
The UVA Parent’s Facebook page posted the YAF article that was sent from their national headquarters the evening of Saturday, September 11 detailing the destruction of their UVA chapter’s memorial. That article is cited and highlighted in my original email below. The UVA parents’ comments are universally negative, repulsed by the malevolent intent that motivated the perpetrators to commit such a heinous act.
UVA student and The Jefferson Independent writer Aly Buckner wrote an excellent editorial Tuesday entitled “To Those Who Vandalized the 9-11 Memorial.” Ms. Buckner’s piece perfectly captures the sentiments of those loyal Americans who view September 11 as a sacred anniversary. Our freedoms were attacked by radical Islamic terrorists who abhor our way of life. Whoever destroyed the YAF memorial clearly does not share our democratic values or mourn the victims as the rest of America does.
The above three groups represent constituencies that the UVA Administration and Board of Visitors should care about: peer quality university Boards, UVA parents, and UVA students. All three responded quickly expressing anger and disgust at the desecration of the 9-11 memorial. It has now been five days since the UVA memorial was ruined. The silence is deafening.
We urge you to issue an unequivocal condemnation similar to Washington University Chancellor Martin’s also referencing that there will be serious consequences enacted for the perpetrators.