The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

EDITORIAL: Love, 134th Editorial Board

Looking back on the highs and lows of the year, and what mattered to us most

For the 134th term of The Cavalier Daily, the Editorial Board wrote 19 lead editorials.  We are aware of the platform we have, and the privilege that comes with it — as such, we have attempted to speak for and, more importantly, to students at the University. We have advocated for issues that matter to us, called for change and explored diversity, equity and inclusion and free speech. And, while the Honor Committee might disagree, we attempted to provide a nuanced view of student self-governance at the University. For those who missed it, here’s a recap of what the Editorial Board wrote about during the year. 

Support and serve

We argued that the University stifled diversity by not providing monetary compensation to RAs back in September. This lack of payment sends a worrisome message — in the eyes of the University, RAs are expendable. This is an area in which we have yet to see any progress, and we urge the University to follow in the footsteps of several other undergraduate institutions and pay the people who transform dorms into homes.

In November, we celebrated Swords into Plowshares’ work to repurpose Confederate memorial statues, such as the Robert E. Lee statue that once stood in Market Street Park. We are not the first Editorial Board to speak on this subject — in 2017, the 128th Editorial Board argued that the Lee Statue should not be taken down, and in 2022, the 133rd Editorial Board spoke out in favor of SIP. We hope that the conversations around symbolism in our community continue to progress until our shared values are accurately reflected in the statues we erect and the art we display

We also criticized the University’s Thanksgiving break schedule — which leaves students only one day to get home — and proposed solutions including Zoom classes. We will admit that most of us on the 134th Editorial Board went home early — now, did we write this editorial just to assuage guilt about our own absenteeism? No comment. Notably, however, we had our Editorial Board meeting on Zoom, so at least you know that we practice what we preach. Hopefully next Thanksgiving, the University will also practice what we preach.

University administration — our target audience

Our critics often label us "whiny” because of our articles about University administration. Still, we're proud to have called for the University to think critically about artificial intelligence and how the advent of this technology will impact the educational landscape. To the University's credit, it has treated this issue with urgency, assembling the Generative AI in Teaching and Learning Task Force to help ensure that we adapt to AI. But despite this progress, our call remains — there is still so much that we do not know about AI, but we do know that it’s is something we must continue thinking and talking about.

This Editorial Board also touched on safety on and off Grounds. We demanded more transparency with crime reports and security plans from Associate Vice President for Safety and Security and Chief of Police, Timothy Longo, and the rest of University administration. As the University prepares to release the Nov. 13 report, we hope that the University and the nation as a whole are guided towards solutions that involve fewer police and stronger gun control policies.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t also note progress. In our Mar. 16 lead editorial, we advocated for the University to be permanently test-optional to increase economic diversity and equity among future classes. Wonderfully, the University will be test-optional through 2025. We hope, however, that a future board is able to write a lead editorial truly celebrating the permanent implementation of test-optional applications. 

The 134th Editorial Board also commended the University in our last editorial, noting their impressive financial aid and recruitment initiatives to enroll more first generation and low income students. While we acknowledged this as a strength, the numbers of the New York Times College Access Index compelled us — and should compel students — to advocate for more extensive efforts to create an inclusive and institutionally supportive environment for FGLI students. 

In our lead editorial following the Israel-Hamas war, we noted the need for the University to take a more active role in providing nuance to this humanitarian crisis and criticized President Jim Ryan’s response, which neglected to use the word “Palestine.” Today, we commend Ryan for releasing another statement with more explicit resources for students and a more balanced perspective on the crisis. In short, while we have several opinions about the University, we always acknowledge its ability to grow.

Biggest hits — and hate

While free speech policies and DEI initiatives are not remotely the same thing, the 134th Editorial Board often finds hate mail in our inboxes following articles on either of these topics. Perhaps it’s because recent discourse around free speech seems to be about how close conservatives can get to enacting overtly racist and transphobic policies while using the First Amendment as cover. We won’t dwell on this. We’ll only say that we stand by our criticisms of the Supreme Court’s affirmative action ruling, our defense of diversity, our growing concerns about the Board of Visitors that began with Bert Ellis’ appointment and our sentiment about free speech as a whole — “Free speech does not guarantee comfort.” 

An ode to student self-governance

Maybe the centerpiece of our coverage has been the conversations we have had surrounding the importance and fragility of student self-governance. 

Demonstrating our commitment to student self-governance, the 134th Editorial Board endorsed the 2022 Honor referendum which implemented the University’s first multi-sanction Honor system. Alongside annual endorsements, we called for the Honor Committee to be more intentional about inviting students to play an active role in shaping this multi-sanction system. While there is still much work to be done in terms of refining the University’s Honor system, we are hopeful that the next few Editorial Boards will be able to endorse even more of the Committee’s actions. 

This year we encouraged increased engagement with all three pillars of student self-governance. As voter turnout slowly but surely increases, as the Student Council works toward an infrastructure for its own endowment, as the University Judiciary Committee continues to promote safety, respect and freedom on Grounds — we double down on our support for the tradition of student self-governance. These institutions are privileges and should not be taken for granted. 

This Editorial Board has written almost every week for the past two semesters, and we have enjoyed every minute of it — especially the hate emails which cry “cowards!” for never placing our names in the sign off. Even though the 134th Editorial Board’s members can be easily found on this very website.

So, here we are — the students, the journalists and the cowards that make up the 134th Editorial Board of The Cavalier Daily — signing off one last time.

The 134th Cavalier Daily Editorial Board is composed of —

Executive Editor Nate Onibudo, Editor-in-Chief Ava MacBlane, Opinion Editors Grace Duregger and Shaleah Tolliver Senior Associate Editors Dan Freed and Naima Sawaya and Columnist Songhan Pang. 

The Board can be reached at


Latest Podcast

From her love of Taylor Swift to a late-night Yik Yak post, Olivia Beam describes how Swifties at U.Va. was born. In this week's episode, Olivia details the thin line Swifties at U.Va. successfully walk to share their love of Taylor Swift while also fostering an inclusive and welcoming community.