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This year, The Cavalier Daily Editorial Board endorses five candidates running for College of Arts and Sciences representative for the University Judiciary Committee — second-year Lisa Kopelnik, third-year Ineke La Fleur, first-year Allison McVey, third-year Ronith Ranjan and second-year Melinda Wong. Each of these individuals demonstrates dedication to improving UJC, a strong platform that prioritizes the safety and well-being of students on Grounds and the desire to maintain the UJC’s commitment to education and rehabilitation.
This year, the Cavalier Daily Editorial Board endorses two candidates running as College of Arts and Sciences representatives for Student Council — second-year Jason Almas and second-year Andreas Masiakos. In addition, we endorse one candidate running for Student Council School of Education and Human Development representative — third-year Makana Brooks — and one candidate running for Student Council Batten representative, third-year Lillian Rojas. Each of these candidates demonstrated a commitment to expanding accessibility to resources and provided realistic steps for increasing student engagement. Most importantly, each candidate emphasized their dedication to prioritizing student needs such as mental health resources and financial aid.
This year, The Cavalier Daily Editorial Board endorses four candidates running for College of Arts and Sciences Honor representative — third-years Hamza Aziz and Nishita Ghanate, second-year Laura Howard and third-year Rachel Liesegang — and one candidate for School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Honor representative, first-year Alexander Church. Each of these candidates expressed strong support for the proposed multi-sanction system and they all incorporated transparency and rehabilitation into their platforms — ideals that will guide the Honor Committee as it looks to create a robust sanctioning system.
Last week, the Honor Committee passed a new constitution that outlines a multi-sanction system. For it to take effect, the student body must vote to ratify the constitution in the upcoming spring elections. Decades of attempts, culminating in last year’s truly historic reduction of the single sanction to a two semester leave of absence, have led us to this pivotal moment. This Editorial Board thinks the proposed multi-sanction constitution is a step in the right direction — a step towards a more rehabilitative Honor system. Students must rise to the occasion and vote in favor of Honor’s new constitution this March. But this is not the end of the conversation — Committee members have work left to do to ensure the successful evolution of our Honor system.
The Virginia Board of Education recently voted to advance the latest draft of its history and social science standards for K-12 education. What began as an effort to merge standards drafted under Gov. Youngkin’s administration with standards drafted under the previous administration has morphed into a politically motivated takeover of our history curriculum that ignores the needs of Virginia’s students. The standards advanced this February not only stifle students’ learning through censorship, but also undermines efforts to use the curriculum to develop critical thinking skills useful well beyond our K-12 classrooms. The Board of Education should reconsider its decision to advance these standards before they are finally approved at their meeting in April.
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The year is new, but this conversation is not. In the upcoming days, a committee of state senators will vote to confirm Governor Glenn Youngkin’s recent slate of appointments to the Board of Visitors. Among these appointments is Bert Ellis, Class of 1975 alumnus and president of the Jefferson Council. If confirmed, Ellis seems positioned to try and “reverse the path to wokeness that has overtaken our entire university” — those are his words, not ours. Student and faculty leaders — such as the Student Council Executive Board, Student Council representative body, University Democrats and Faculty Senate — have remained consistent in their opposition to Ellis’ appointment. This community demands better. We, the 133rd and 134th Editorial Boards of The Cavalier Daily, call on our state senators to refuse the appointment of Bert Ellis Jr.
Despite the efforts we have made to heal and move forward as a community from the events of summer 2017 and the centuries of racist history preceding it, there are those who continuously try to hinder this progress. One of these community efforts at healing, Swords Into Plowshares, is an ongoing project by community leaders to melt down the Robert E. Lee statue that once stood in Market Street Park. The project would transform the Confederate monument’s materials into a new piece of public art. The original proposal came from the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center after the statue was finally removed in 2021. This removal followed years of local protests and organizing efforts, including a petition authored by fourth-year College student Zyahna Bryant, who was a high schooler at the time. As an Editorial Board, we wholeheartedly support SIP. We are eager to see it take materials of hatred and turn them into tools of reclamation spearheaded by the community itself — to, as the proposal states, “move history forward.”
Once again, we are writing about the Honor Committee. In just a few days, the Committee is planning to begin the first-ever Constitutional Convention. This comes after a historic vote last spring to change the sanction for committing an offense from expulsion to a two-semester leave of absence. Since the announcement of this convention, however, Honor has looked especially disorganized — defaulting on established promises, failing to communicate with the student body and reducing the event to an unrepresentative, unelected congregation of delegates. If the Committee is truly dedicated to meaningful reform, it must ensure the transparency and accessibility of this process. This convention — much like the Committee that plans to host it — belongs to us, the student body.
We are less than two weeks away from Election Day — 35 Senate seats and all 435 House of Representatives seats are up for election, potentially affecting the current House majority. Residents should be cognizant of recent changes to congressional boundaries in the Commonwealth. Rep. Bob Good and challenger Democrat Josh Throneburg are competing for the District 5 seat, which contains localities stretching from Charlottesville to the North Carolina border. After reviewing both candidates' platforms and policies, The Cavalier Daily’s Editorial Board endorses Josh Throneburg for Congress.
Last semester, Kappa Alpha and Phi Gamma Delta committed dangerous — and illegal — actions against other students in the name of brotherhood. As a result of the hazing, both fraternities’ Fraternal Organization Agreements with the University were terminated, and Phi Gamma Delta’s charter was also revoked. One Phi Gamma Delta pledge was injured after an egg struck him, and brothers did not call for medical assistance. At Kappa Alpha, pledges were covered with hot sauce and flour, were instructed to smoke packs of cigarettes, partake in case races, perform push-ups and wall-sits, drive current brothers around and clean the chapter’s house weekly. A Hazing Misconduct Report also states pledges were beaten with coat hangers, smeared with hot sauce, instructed to drink 30-packs of beer and covered in flour after being sprayed with water.
Citizens across the country will go to the polls or mail in their ballots to elect representatives for each congressional district in less than a month. On Nov. 8, citizens will decide which candidates to entrust with congressional power. These elections also have the potential to flip the political majority in Congress, as Republicans hold 212 seats and Democrats hold 220. For these elections to be a complete and accurate representation of the views of the American public, every citizen must vote. There are extremely close campaigns that need citizen participation across the Commonwealth — for example, the reelection campaigns of Elaine Luria and Abigail Spanberger. Even in Charlottesville, there is a competitive race between our current Republican incumbent Bob Good and his Democratic counterpart Josh Throneburg. Good scraped by in the 2020 election, winning by less than six percent. Since then, he has made it apparent he will not work for Virginians — denying the 2020 presidential election results, calling the pandemic "phony" and opposing LGBTQ+ rights. With all of this in mind, we urge each and every reader to do research on candidates and understand the importance of these midterm elections. Identify your polling location, solidify your voting plan and, most importantly, vote — early, if you can.
Over 1,000 Virginia high school students staged a statewide walkout in protest of Governor Glenn Youngkin administration’s transphobic policies Sept. 27. Charlottesville High School students conducted a 45-minute walkout on Sept. 28, joining fellow high schoolers across the state in outrage against Youngkin’s policymaking. The Cavalier Daily’s Editorial Board stands in wholehearted solidarity with Virginia high school students protesting Youngkin. We oppose the implementation of these recent policies, and we condemn the transphobia that informs this administration’s actions.
Self-governance is a tenet on which we pride ourselves, but it is an empty ideal without effort from both the institutions governing us and the students they represent. The University Board of Elections has had a difficult few semesters within its organization, and voter turnout remains low. Self-governance, which requires the elections that UBE organizes, must be taken seriously — by both UBE and the student body. This year’s elections are critical. The Honor Committee is hosting a Constitutional Convention to rewrite its constitution after the largest change in its history. Student Council provides resources critical to student success. The University Judiciary Committee must continue to hold community members to high standards of citizenship. Ahead of this year’s election cycle, we call on UBE to invest in member retention, voter education and social media outreach to better improve voting participation.
After a lengthy wait, changes to the newly-renamed Whispering Wall were finally unveiled last week. Formerly named the Frank Hume Memorial Fountain, this structure was built as a memorial to Confederate soldier Frank Hume, who was neither a student nor faculty member at the University. The Board of Visitors first created a committee to decide whether the wall should be removed or rededicated back in September 2020. A year later, this committee recommended the University remove the inscription and replace it with blocks of contrasting colors, rename the memorial and supplement these efforts with digital contextualization. The Board of Visitors approved this recommendation. Today, not only are we dissatisfied with the state of the Whispering Wall, but we are also frustrated with the lack of communication on the University’s digital contextualization project.
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We’re on the doorstep of a new and truly unique semester. After over two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, fourth-year students will begin their school years much like first-years. We will all gather on Grounds with a renewed sense of normalcy — as many University traditions can safely resume this year. All of us are looking toward our first fully in-person, on-Grounds college experience. While fourth-years can still impart helpful, experienced advice on first-years, there will be much less distance between all of us. In a way, we’re all first-years — anticipating what this school year could possibly be like.
In an interview reflecting on the five-year anniversary of the “Unite the Right” rally and progress made since, University President Jim Ryan emphasized the importance of preparing students to be citizen leaders. For Ryan, citizen leadership requires exposure to local history, awareness of challenges to democracy and preparation to offer solutions to those faults. We subscribe to this mission — this cultivation of the next generation of student leaders. Still, in order to truly create citizen leaders, we believe the University must educate its students on University and Charlottesville’s history and create a physical environment that reflects our commitment to equality and our disavowal of white supremacy.
Last February, we criticized several unsolicited changes that Governor Glenn Youngkin’s administration implemented on Grounds. Today, we again speak out against the actions of state leaders and stand in staunch opposition to Youngkin’s appointment of Bert Ellis to the Board of Visitors. It is worth noting that the Board of Visitors governs not only the University’s long-term planning, but also the approval of a more than $4.5 billion annual budget, operations of the College at Wise and the U.Va. Health system. In short, Ellis’s appointment affects more people than the 30,000 students who go to class here every day. All the people who live, work and study here have entered the University knowing that its mission statement reads it is committed to supporting a “collaborative, diverse community bound together by distinctive foundational values of honor, integrity, trust and respect.” Bert Ellis is anything but that, and Youngkin’s appointment of him only confirms what he has already demonstrated so far throughout his governorship — a blatant disregard for the University’s core values.
We all knew this was coming, but the news is no less nauseating. On Friday, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The case — Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — leaves abortion in the hands of state legislatures, meaning each state will have different, complex procedures to access abortion. University President Jim Ryan sent out an email Friday detailing what this ruling means for University students, clarifying that under existing Virginia law, there will be no immediate changes to abortion accessibility. As such, U.Va. Health will maintain its current services. While this is good news for now, it does not ensure protection in the future.