Students, faculty and alumni from the University of Virginia are protesting the appointment of former White House Legislative Director Marc Short as a senior teaching fellow at the university’s Miller Center.
An online petition to block Short’s hiring has gathered over 2,100 signatures as of Wednesday. It must be noted, however, that anyone can sign the online petition, not just people associated with the university.
“We ask that the appointment of Marc Short to the Miller Center be revoked, and that a full review be held to understand how this appointment was made,” the petition reads.
According according to its website, the Miller Center “is a nonpartisan affiliate of the University of Virginia that specializes in presidential scholarship, public policy, and political history and strives to apply the lessons of history and civil discourse to the nation’s most pressing contemporary governance challenges.”
Doesn’t seem like it would be living up to that mission if it refuses to hire a faculty member based solely on his political leanings and policies.
While the protesters have been gathering most of the attention, campus conservatives and the Miller Center administration have stood by Short.
“The addition of Marc Short, a senior Trump Administration official with intimate knowledge of interactions between the White House and Congress, deepens our scholarly inquiries into the workings of the American presidency,” Howard Witt, director of communications for the Miller Center, said in a statement. “And his presence reinforces our commitment to nonpartisan and bipartisan dialogue among scholars and practitioners of good will who may nevertheless hold strongly opposing personal political viewpoints. We understand and respect those UVA faculty members and other critics — even some from within the Miller Center — who disagree with the decision to name Marc Short a senior fellow.”
“One of our core values is fostering robust, but civil, debate across our nation’s bitter partisan divide. At the Miller Center, we don’t just talk about nonpartisanship, we live it. We believe it’s not really genuine nonpartisanship if the only contrary viewpoints you are willing to allow are the ones you can personally tolerate.”
Who would not want the former spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security to be teaching at their school? Short’s resume is indeed impressive, except for one part in the eyes of the protesters: his association with the Trump administration. Based on the protests, this one line in his resume has made the rest of it void.
The liberal bias inherent in universities around the country is obvious. Liberal professors outnumber conservative ones 12:1, a 2016 study found. I always thought it was the university administrations at fault for not diversifying their staffs. But based on the students and alumni protesting at UVA and the school administration’s continued insistence for nonpartisan study, it’s not that clear anymore.