37 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2017
    1. What, but education, has advanced us beyond the condition of our indigenous neighbours?

      I think this idea of being more "advanced" than "our indigenous neighbors" is very interesting when thinking about our history as a nation. It is a common theme in our history that the whites did not believe that the indigenous people were as educated and "needed" the whites for this reason, and this idea is somewhat reflected in this part of the report. Tana Mardian

    2. this cannot well be without the accessory of an hospital, where the student can have the benefit of attending clinical lectures & of assisting at operations of surgery.

      I feel like this idea of needing a hospital was advanced for the time. The founders of UVA recognize the need for hands-on activity, especially when it comes to a field like medicine. This seems to translate into UVA as we see it now with all of the research opportunities and different ways to get involved with passions and careers. Tana Mardian

    3. It is at that age of aptness, docility & emulation of the practices of manhood, that such things are soonest learnt, and longest remembered.

      Agreed. In times of learning, say in college for instance, there will be particular aspects of school that we will never forget, and this is because we are still in our learning stage. Our brains are still developing and trying to figure out how to do certain things. When learning how to become a grown man, or woman, we take what we learn habitually and hold it in our minds forever if it sticks with us.

    4. To enlighten them with mathematical and physical sciences which advance the arts & administer to the health, the subsistence & comforts of human life

      I appreciate this statement because the founders were right in putting their observations of education on these aspects. They included math, science, and health, and these aspects cover much of what the world needs to have solved. They focused on which subjects would be the most beneficial to human life, and I appreciate their thought process with this.

    5. The considerations which have governed the specification of languages to be taught by the professor of Modern Languages were that the French is the language of general intercourse among nations, and as a depository of human Science is unsurpassed by any other language living or dead: that the Spanish is highly interesting to us, as the language spoken by so great a portion of the inhabitants of our Continents, with whom we shall possibly have great intercourse ere long; and is that also in which is written the greater part of the early history of America.

      I found this excerpt very admirable, as it emphasizes the importance of teaching and learning different languages. This not only broadens the possibilities for someone, but in this day and age, it is necessary to be at least bilingual given the amount of languages people speak in the U.S. alone.

    6. the erection, preservation & repair of the buildings, the care of the grounds

      The inclusion of the importance of the architecture in this document does not surprise me, as UVA takes great pride in being known as one of the most beautiful universities in America. They are constantly working to improve the look of buildings, hence why there is always some form of construction going on. However, the university remains with the same Jeffersonian architecture look, since that is what it is known for. Of course many universities work of preserving their buildings; however, the fact that this needed to be incorporated shows that UVA wants it to be known how much they care for the grounds.

      • Katherine Palencia-Monterrosa
    7. To instruct the mass of our citizens in these their rights, interests and duties, as men and citizens,

      This is a powerful statement, implying that men come out of this university becoming good "citizens." When I think of its goal to create these types of students, it is disturbing when connected to who is allowed to attend this University. If individuals are not allowed to attend the University, the University does not see them as "able" to become notable citizens.

    8. But in this point of View the Anglo-Saxon is of peculiar value. We have placed it among the modern languages because it is in fact that which we speak, in the earliest form in which we have knowledge of it. It has been undergoing, with time, those gradual changes which all languages, antient and modern, have experienced: and even now, needs only to be printed in the Modern character and Orthography, to be intelligible in a considerable degree to an English reader.

      The View of the Anglo Saxon is emphasized in these set of sentences. It is described to have peculiar value, harboring top educational value. Anglo Saxon views are synonymous with traditional white views. I find it disturbing that this is of utmost value for the English reader, because it shows other diverse values as insignificant. Unfortunately, throughout high school English, the focus is predominantly on older white writers. Diversity is of great value, and should be emphasized in education.

    9. It is supposed probable that a building of somewhat more size in the middle of the grounds may be called for in time, in which may be rooms for religious worship

      This central building sounds like it could have been the Rotunda. It's strange that a place for religious worship would be considered at the center of the grounds since Jefferson always put so much emphasis on a university focused on academics rather than religion. It makes sense that there would be a church, but having it in the center when this document directly addresses an absence of religious studies is very contradictory.

      -Wei Guan

    10. These innocent arts furnish amusement & happiness to those who, having time on their hands, might less inoffensively employ it; needing, at the same time, no regular incorporation with the institution,

      There wasn't any mention of an arts department earlier in the report where the different classes were mentioned. There are a lot of arts classes today, but at that time, they were seen more as pastimes or hobbies. Maybe there were art schools dedicated specifically to these subjects or they were more informal. I have noticed that the Art Grounds is separated from the central grounds, where many of the classes mentioned in the report are taught. In Art Inside/Out this semester, I learned about the function of art and there is a lot more to it than enjoyment and happiness.

      -Wei Guan

    11. the erection, preservation & repair of the buildings, the care of the grounds & appurtenances and of the interests of the university generally

      It is fascinating to me that they were so concerned with the buildings themselves. I would have thought that taking care of the buildings and the grounds would have been a given, but it was important enough to include in this document. Caroline Peterson

    12. they are of opinion that it should consist of distinct houses or pavilions, arranged at proper distances on each side of a lawn of a proper breadth, & of indefinite extent in one direction at least

      This description of the proposal for the lawn is very specific. Since I am in an aesthetic engagement currently, I noticed how the idea wanted it to be symmetrical. The lawn today is very symmetrical; sometimes if I'm standing in the middle by the lawn rooms and I can't see the Rotunda, I'm not sure which direction it is because both sides look the same. At most college campuses, some individual buildings are symmetrical, but in contrast, the entire plan for the layout of the university was symmetrical.

    13. To understand his duties to his neighbours, & country, and to discharge with competence the functions confided to him by either.

      I agree with this statement because even though educating the youth is important there are other things in life that are more significant to being a person. In this case, it mentions how crucial it is for the person to work with others to achieve something greater. In addition, it states that we have to be together as a country and help each other in times of need. This can be related to current day such as voting and self run student government and honor system. -Alexander An

    14. To develope the reasoning faculties of our youth, enlarge their minds cultivate their morals, & instil into them the precepts of virtue & order.

      The main goal of a higher institution or university is to educate students and the youth to make a future brighter. In addition, they want the future generation to build a better place for everyone. I agreed with this statement because it illustrates that even though education is significant having morals and order as or more equal to being intelligent. I personally think it is important for a person to be kind and smart. Because if we have only smart people but indifferent people then no one will help each and no one will agree with each other. -Alexander An

    15. To improve by reading, his morals and faculties.

      In my current engagement, "The Individual and Society", we touch on the concept of moral relativism: the idea that morals can be right or wrong depending on the time period and the culture evaluating them. To the writers of the Rockfish Gap Report, the morals of the University of Virginia were sound, so the selection of readings by professors would bolster the morals of the students attending. However, in the reading of this report, and common knowledge of what the University stood for at its inception, we adamantly detest the racism and misogyny that was allowed, if not praised, during the separate time period. This raises the question of where we should be getting our morals from; in 10, 20, 100 or even 200 years, what will be seen of the morals that we take from our families and our University? Will students at the University read our annotations as part of the quadricentennial celebration and be appalled at our morals and what the University was trying to teach us?

    16. What, but education, has advanced us beyond the condition of our indigenous neighbours?

      The subjective implementation of the word "advanced" strikes me. The writers of the Rockfish Gap Report claim that those privileged to this education would be more "advanced", but there are only very few aspects in which this is fully applicable; today we observe how they were not advanced in morality and they were not advanced in looking to the future as they claim. If they were advanced in comparison to their indigenous neighbors, then why was the Rockfish Gap Report only written for white males? The writers claim that it is "preposterous...to look backward for better things", but it is quite apparent that this group is living in the past and has no desire to leave it.

    17. 4. The best mode of government for youth in large collections, is certainly a desideratum not yet attained with us

      For as important as student government seems to be at UVA, I am surprised it is not mentioned more explicitly. Perhaps this was a quality of UVA that came later. I think that Uva is somewhat centered around student governance - however good or bad it may be - and because it is used as such a defining aspect and selling point I was really expecting it to be more present in a document as crucial to the foundation of the university as this one. I would not have thought it would come alter and just be added in to the university's important qualities list. Jefferson also already had clearcut plans for the Academic Village and where certain buildings and facilities were to be placed as outlined in this report. This is another central quality to UVA and it exists right here from the start. Where is the concept of student government?

    18. What, but education, has advanced us beyond the condition of our indigenous neighbours?

      I completely missed this phrase and the connotation behind it the first time I read through this report. It is possible I missed it because I was distracted by the racism near the front of the report on the importance of the university’s proximity to white people. At first, I thought this sentence was just as inconsiderate and reflective of the time period in which the Rockfish Gap Report was written and in which our university was founded. However, upon further analysis of the question I realized that it seems as though the writers of the report are insulting themselves, in a way, with this choice of language. While I personally do not believe comparing oneself or others to indigenous neighbors is insulting, at the time it was not a common thing to do and would not have been taken as a positive comparison. However, in this sentence, the report’s authors seem to be saying that the only thing separating them from the Native Americans or “indigenous neighbors” is education. I find it very intriguing that the founders would write this, especially because of the connotation it would bring at the time. However, perhaps it is purposeful and a way to stress the importance of higher education and furthering oneself to remain advanced. Education can be tied to the many differences between the white man and the natives such as guns, housing differences, and clothing. I can’t forget to mention though that the education of the Native Americans on how to grow crops in North America is what allowed the early settlers to survive. Education was important in this area too. Maybe education does not differentiate these two groups as much as they may think. I think education in different areas of expertise is what mainly separates the men in this report from their indigenous neighbours. While they choose education in school and on more worldly matters, their neighbours are more education in the ways of the land and survival and both are important for each group's’ way of life

    19. Education generates habits of application, order and the love of virtue; and controuls, by the force of habit, any innate obliquities in our moral organization.

      This is a very powerful statement regarding the purpose of higher education. The commissioners of the university clearly had a vision for how the education that the university provided should affect its students. However, the statement is somewhat idealistic in that it includes the idea that education will drive out any "innate" or subconscious deviations from morality. We all know that this was certainly not achieved at the time of the university's founding, when the practice of owning slaves was perceived as moral, and also has not been achieved today, although UVA has introduced many new efforts to combat this problem. Through the university's response to the Unite the Right rally this summer, the numerous implicit bias modules and presentations it offers, and the engagements themselves, our "innate obliquities" are being discussed and brought to light so that we as a university can take deliberate steps towards achieving this ideal view of education put forth by the commissioners of UVA. Claire Waterhouse

    20. In conformity with the principles of our constitution, which places all sects of religion on an equal footing, with the jealousies of the different sects in guarding that equality from encroachment & surprise, and with the sentiments of the legislature in favor of freedom of religion manifested on former occasions, we have proposed no professor of Divinity

      I find this point in the document to be forward-thinking, particularly considering the time period it was written in. It is well known that Thomas Jefferson wanted to create a university centered around learning rather than religion, which is why the Rotunda (a library) serves as the center of the university rather than a chapel or church, as was common among other colleges at the time. This concept of religious freedom and equality is especially intriguing after taking "Can a text be ethical?" with Professor Spittler this semester. Just as the commissioners of the university proposed not to force a prescribed set of religious beliefs on its students who may not have similar religious backgrounds, many of my discussion groups in the ethical engagement came to the conclusion that the New Testament cannot be used as the sole basis for an ethical argument, because not everyone holds the New Testament to be a sacred and valid text. Claire Waterhouse

    21. To instruct the mass of our citizens in these their rights

      The founders of this University had the goal of making their students outstanding citizens. The list included above shows us today what a "citizen" was thought to be back then. A lot of what the Commissioners thought of as the tenets of a good citizen are thought of in the same way today, however now days many of these things are learned before or without a college education. Today higher education is more about advancing one's knowledge and getting a job than becoming a good citizen. The goals of and reasons for attending college are much different today than they were when this university was founded, but I believe that today's graduates become better citizens without that goal in mind.

    22. Spanish is highly interesting to us, as the language spoken by so great a portion of the inhabitants of our Continents, with whom we shall possibly have great intercourse ere long

      The Commissioners thought it important to speak Spanish so they could interact with the societies around them. It's important for those in positions of power to be able to communicate with others in similar positions in different countries. This will make for better foreign relations, as it is easier to communicate, and a sign of respect to speak in the other's native tongue.

    23. To give to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business. To enable him to calculate for himself, and to express & preserve his ideas, his contracts & accounts in writing.

      Upon reading through the report again, these two sentences really struck me for two reasons. First, they highlight the goal of self-sufficiency and independence that is still very much a part of the University and higher education in general today. Second, only the preposition "he" is used, demonstrating the unavailability of said self-sufficiency and independence (especially in business matters) to women at this time. Furthermore, the expression of thoughts is specified to be in writing as opposed to speech, which belies the sense of permanence we equate to the written word as a species.

    24. Education generates habits of application, order and the love of virtue; and controuls, by the force of habit, any innate obliquities in our moral organization.

      I think this an interesting point considering how casually some may view education to be. Once we learn new information, especially that which sparks our interests we begin embedding it into our everyday actions and/or thoughts. And not only does it change our personal lives, but it contributes to how we treat those around us. - Kayla Thomas

    25. Education, in like manner engrafts a new man on the native stock, & improves what in his nature was vicious & perverse, into qualities of virtue and social worth; and it cannot be but that each generation succeeding to the knowledge acquired by all those who preceded it, adding to it their own acquisitions & discoveries, and handing the mass down for successive & constant accumulation, must advance the knowledge & well-being of mankind: not infinitely, as some have said, but indefinitely, and to a term which no one can fix or foresee.

      In my engagement "Individual and Society", we center our discussions around the importance of one over the other and its pros and cons. With this phrase, it is definitely obvious that the importance of unification is crucial to our human existence. We cannot survive off of merely being here but rather incorporating the values and teachings of those who come before us. Granted we use current knowledge and beliefs to tweak these ideologies and we often times make them our own. But it is imperative that we give credit to those who set the foundation for us to discuss and challenge what we hold as human truths. - Kayla Thomas

    26. Some good men, and even of respectable information, consider the learned sciences as useless acquirements; some think that they do not better the condition of men; and others that education like private & individual concerns, should be left to private & individual effort

      It is interesting to see the acknowledgement of those who would oppose the creation of a public university. It is a gesture that displays the maturity and certainty of the founders. They know that their goals for their university wouldn't settle well for many people. However, they still called them "good men" with "respectable information" suggesting they are surprised that intelligent men can still disagree with their plans, yet they are respectful of their opinions. Instead of trying to persuade them to side with their plans, they cleverly resolve to allow them privately and individually abide by their opinions. Education is difficult to define for many people and the founders were well aware of that. -Yuki Zheng

    27. Medicine, when fully taught, is usually subdivided into several professorships, but this cannot well be without the accessory of an hospital, where the student can have the benefit of attending clinical lectures & of assisting at operations of surgery. With this accessory, the seat of our university is not yet prepared, either by its population, or by the numbers of poor, who would leave their own houses, and accept of the charities of an hospital. For the present therefore we propose but a single professor for both medicine & anatomy.

      With the vision of creating a top university, the difficulty for the founders resides within accepting their limits. As they stated, medicine is an advanced field requiring different elements. The founders were aware of the fact that their institution and community were not ready for a full-scale medical field. The acknowledgment of their status is impressive. Progression is a key factor in the creation of the university and the founders were smart enough to wait until they know they were ready. Now we have an incredible medical center that was able to fully set its reputation through preparation. -Yuki Zheng

    28. A subscription has also been offered by the people of Lexington and its vicinity amounting to 17,878 dollars; all which will appear from the deed and other documents, reference thereto being had.

      Lexington's monetary contribution struck me as a representation of the agreement and unity of the state of Virginia as to the formation of the University. I say this because Lexington was ruled out as far as a location for Grounds. The fact that they are still willing to make a considerable donation shows their complicity in this decision.

    29. the commissioners are aware that they have to encounter much difference of opinion

      I interpreted this statement as the founders of the University recognizing how the students who will attend the school will come to face many different views than their own. Students may encounter this “difference of opinion” both inside and outside of the classroom, as these views can foster debate within Discussion sections of classes or within political debate forums. The evident variety of opinions creates a well-rounded student, as they learn to consider many different points-of-view to gain a better understanding of a subject. -Komal Kamdar

    30. What, but education, has advanced us beyond the condition of our indigenous neighbours?

      Personally, when I read this I interpret it as implying that their "indigenous neighbors" were not educated. I think this statement is slightly rude because education can be subjective. Not everyone is versed in the same fields. Morgan Negron

    31. Also the whole of his Slaves amounting to 57 in number.

      I had previous knowledge that the University has a unique history with slavery, yet I found it interesting how the author chose to list the slaves mentioned here as property alongside the other land acquisitions. The 57 slaves noted in this line were dehumanized and treated as property to be bought and sold. The evidence of slavery literally being in the founding document of this University demonstrates how although the school has a racist past, we can move forward today by recognizing, addressing, and recontextualizing the past dehumanization of individuals. -Komal Kamdar

    32. In entering on this field, the commissioners are aware that they have to encounter much difference of opinion

      I interpret this as saying that in coming to the university, one will encounter many different people who may or may not agree with them. I can say, as being a current student, that this statement is true. In being election season, I have come to know this very well. Morgan Negron

    1. To enable him to calculate for himself, and to express & preserve his ideas, his contracts & accounts in writing.

      This sentence illustrates the university’s purpose to allow the students to be in a school where they truly express themselves. This is quite ironic since the school was built by slaves and it was populated mostly by a white population. Thus this goes against the idea that they can be unbiased since the community is not that diverse at all. -Alexander An

  2. Oct 2017
    1. Also the whole of his Slaves amounting to 57 in number.

      In a portion of the document that lists areas of land that will be used by the University, it is shocking to see the inclusion of a group of people. By associating the 57 slaves with pieces of land, the document and its author imply that the slaves have an equal status to the purchased land--they could be owned, bought, and sold at will. In planning the University, Thomas Jefferson had shown his progressiveness for the time period in which he lived--by choosing to place a library rather than a church at the center of grounds, for example. However, this small, concise sentence reverses any sense of forward thinking that the audience may have had up until this point in the document. For all the discussion at the beginning of the document regarding the University's goal of enriching their students--teaching them to act morally and with fairness in their communities--the founders still refuse to recognize the immorality of their treatment of slaves.

    2. It will form the first link in the Chain of an historical review of our language through all its successive changes to the present day, will constitute the foundation of that critical instruction in it, which ought to be found in a Seminary of general learning

      It is particularly noteworthy that the authors thought to use Anglo Saxon to teach about the development of language over time. Since this was the language spoken by most of the prospective students, tracking its changing history would provide an engaging demonstration of the dynamic nature of language. In other words, by using Anglo Saxon, students would be able to identity their own contemporary role in the timeline of an always developing language. Having this knowledge, students would (perhaps unconsciously) attain an understanding of how all art, not just language, can change meaning over time. This could help students in time grasp the developments occurring to their university which is, in many ways, a work of art in itself.

      -Joe S.

    3. To enlighten them with mathematical and physical sciences which advance the arts & administer to the health, the subsistence & comforts of human life:

      I believe this sentence very accurately characterizes the intentions and the foundations of the New College Curriculum; The New College seeks to provide students with a core knowledge of the arts (especially how they are applied in our society) that can be further strengthened and complemented in studies of math and science should students so choose in the future. This sort of foundation, outlined in both the document and the mission of the New Curriculum, is important because it can allow students to examine a wide range of academic fields before studying concrete methods of applying those fields practically. Since I am taking the Art: Inside/Out Engagement, I also sought to interpret this sentence in taking "arts" literally to mean art in its various expressive forms. In this way, this sentence helps develop the important concept that art and maths/sciences in no way exist in conflict with each other; while many believe these two subjects to be on opposite sides of an academic spectrum, this section of the Rockfish Gap Report helps to remind that art and science can freely interact and engage with each other to work for the benefit of both.

    4. The objects of this primary education determine its character & limits. These objects would be, To give to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business. To enable him to calculate for himself, and to express & preserve his ideas, his contracts & accounts in writing. To improve by reading, his morals and faculties. To understand his duties to his neighbours, & country, and to discharge with competence the functions confided to him by either. To know his rights; to exercise with order & justice those he retains; to choose with discretion the fiduciaries of those he delegates; and to notice their conduct with diligence with candor & judgment. And, in general, to observe with intelligence & faithfulness all the social relations under which he shall be placed.

      This portion of the document is extremely important because it addresses the purpose of the University, but is also somewhat ironic regarding what was stated earlier in the document. In the first paragraph, it is revealed that the University's location was chosen based on its centrality to the white population in Virginia. Although this statement implies a bias against non-white Virginians, the listed purposes of the University and what it hopes to impart to its students paint a different picture, one in which a student would use his education to behave morally in society. In this light, the purpose of the University can be interpreted in different ways, either as a way to serve the white population so that they may "preserve [the] ideas" of the time Oppositely, students could use the knowledge they gain to "improve [their] morals," and work to bring about change in society by educating others about the ethical way to interact with people of all races.

      Claire W.