4 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2017
    1. Pride of character, laudable ambition, & moral dispositions are innate correctives of the indiscretions of that lively age; and when strengthened by habitual appeal & exercise, have a happier effect on future character, than the degrading motive of fear; hardening them to disgrace, to corporal punishments, and servile humiliations, cannot be the best process for producing erect character.

      This section of the reading describes the preferred method of teaching for students. The philosophy for the way of teaching essentially promotes praise as opposed to criticism when motivating students to push further and gain a bettered sense of intellect and character. I see this as a very positive aspect of what the founders of the university sought to implement in the teaching style of the university. It is important that there is a positive relationship between teachers and students. During this young-adult phase, positive reinforcement is much more effective than discouraging criticism. I personally respond better when my teachers and authority figures criticize me constructively, and encourage me to reach further and offer me insight as to how I can be a better student and individual. This method of reinforcement is especially important among diverse communities, such as that of UVA, where members of minority groups pertaining to race, gender, and sexuality feel vulnerable to discrimination and degradation. During my experience at UVA, I have felt that my teachers really do exercise this effort to encourage me in constructive ways. As a member of the Hispanic demographic, as well as being a woman, I feared feeling looked down upon and discriminated against by my professors and peers; however, this has not been the reality. Just as the founders of the university intended, the faculty at UVA generate positive energy in the classroom, promoting a great sense of ambition and passion towards their respective subject areas. They choose to commend us for our successes and motivate us to improve on our weaknesses, rather than discouraging us and having us live with a sense of fear that we as individuals are not enough to succeed at UVA. -Estefania Salume

    2. What, but education, has advanced us beyond the condition of our indigenous neighbours? and what chains them to their present state of barbarism & wretchedness, but a besotted veneration for the supposed supe[r]lative wisdom of their fathers and the preposterous idea that they are to look backward for better things and not forward, longing, as it should seem, to return to the days of eating acorns and roots rather than indulge in the degeneracies of civilization.

      I have noticed the several implicit and subtle racist comments made throughout the report but this is the first segment that bluntly exhibits the authors’ ingrained racism and superiority complex. It seems both unnecessary and unprofessional to include this type of comment in such a “serious” document and it makes me wonder on what principles this university was founded. This seems like an important topic to explore since usually the image that comes to mind when we think of racism is an attack on African Americans but we mustn’t oversee the racism that has taken place against Native Americans for even longer than the racism directed towards black people in America. What the authors are trying to say in this section (but fail to do it in a decent manner) is that they would like UVA to provide an education that looks forward rather than to the past and that builds upon the knowledge of previous generations rather than limiting themselves to hang on to that knowledge only. It seems fine that they adopt this philosophy of how knowledge and education should be; but what I don’t agree with is the way that they use Native Americans as an example that they shouldn’t follow and degrade them by saying that their ways are “barbaric” and “wretched.” I was just recently made aware of this type of racism in America in my engagement class Making the Invisible Visible where we explored the several types of racism that still exist today and are usually overseen or disregarded. A black-Native American farmer came to talk to us about the racism that he receives on both grounds (his black and Native American backgrounds) and how Native American techniques on farming are often looked down upon by whites (despite their efficiency and good results). This shows how the racism that existed back in the 1800’s still prevails in this minority’s present. As this report states, it is important for us to look back on previous generations in order to better our future and avoid the same mistakes. For this same reason, UVA students should be able to make racism against Native Americans and other minorities visible in order to stop it.

      -Estefania Salume

  2. Oct 2017
    1. 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 under such impartial regulations as the visitors shall prescribe, for public examinations, for a Library, for the schools of music, drawing, and other associated purposes.

      In the nineteenth century when all other universities were religiously affiliated, it seemed odd that rather than having a church at the center of the campus, UVA would have a Library as its focal point. This plan reflected Jefferson's belief that the church should be separate from the state and since this was a state school, it had to be in accordance to this ideal. Therefore, the Rotunda, which was the building that ultimately replaced the typical church, represented/ symbolized the "Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom" because it separated the school from any specific religious affiliation, allowing for a free expression of faith on campus. This plan also reflected the idea that knowledge should be the driving force of humans and is the most important and powerful weapon one can have. The Rotunda can be defined as a "temple of knowledge" because it celebrates education.

      Further, in my engagement class, Making the Invisible Visible, we discussed how some locations are places while some other are sites. The difference between these two is that places evoke familiarity and are meant to represent something important in people's lives while sites resist familiarization. The Rotunda could therefore be considered a place because it draws people in and it has certain features that makes it a memorable, unique place. The grandiosity of this building makes people feel like learning is an awesome thing, which accomplishes Jefferson's goal of celebrating knowledge over all things.

    2. banishing all arbitrary & unnecessary restraint on individual action shall leave us free to do whatever does not violate the equal rights of another.

      This passage was one of the most baffling ones I found in the Rockfish Gap Report because it is not only ironic but it seems to be very untrue. I do realize that the meaning of "equal rights" during the time of UVA's construction and founding is not the same as today's meaning, the one I am most familiar with. But I believe that as educated scholars and active members of the community, the authors of this document and founders of this university were aware of the inequality that existed at the time. In my engagement class, Making the Invisible Visible, we have discussed issues regarding Thomas Jefferson's thoughts on slavery. After analyzing some of his personal texts, we concluded that he was aware of slavery's perverse end and he knew that it did not contribute to equality among all human beings. However, he believed that in order to keep the structure of society, slavery had to exist. Thus, I believe it is very hypocritical that, knowing the inequality present in a society where slavery was still prominent, the authors of this report still decided to include "not violate the equal rights of another." I would feel more comfortable if they had not included this part or if they had specified who "one another" meant, which obviously meant "whites." Nonetheless, I understand that the report's intended audience was all educated white people, thus it must have felt useless to specify who "one another" meant if only one specific group of people was supposed to read it.