View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

From Rugby Road to Vinegar Hill

U.Va. has a reputation as a conservative school, but it's not. I mean, it's not nuts like Harvard or Berkeley, but nowadays it's about as liberal as the average college. I never thought I would see the day when the Cavalier Daily would be seized by a bout of conservative common sense, though.

Two incidents. First, a University Hospital employee evidently used the "N-word." Now, he didn't actually call anyone the N-word. He didn't even refer to any specific set, or subset of people as the N-word. In fact, the sentiments expressed, that a team called the Redskins is about as appropriate as a team call the N-words would be, would be heartily approved by the NAACP. They'd probably be endorsed by a higher percentage of blacks than Indians, but that's beside the point. The point is that while Julian Bond calls for re-education camp, and President John Casteen finds a way to cluck and bite his tongue and talk about "inappropriateness," and the Univeristy employees' union stages a protest, the Cavalier Daily actually calls for some restraint and the application of common sense. This is a paper that, when I was in school, campaigned against the Single Sanction for honor offenses on the grounds that the standards were those of a dead white Southern aristocracy, and that blacks really couldn't be expected to understand subtle concepts like stealing other people's work.

Then, two days running, the paper editorializes against something called a "Diversity Center," to replace the student lounge. The purpose of the proposed "diversity center" is to promote social mixing of people of different ethnic backgrounds. Funny, but the student lounge actually used to do that. I used to play pool and ping-pong, and used to see pretty much everyone down there studying or watching the big-screen or listening to videos or what-notting. I remember watching the 1985 NCAA Basketball finals down there, the one where Villanova beat Georgetown, and it seems to me it was a pretty mixed crowd.

One editorial makes this point, and the op-ed piece uses the "Diversity Center" as a jumping-off point for questioning the value of the whole notion of diversity. There may be hope yet.

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