Governor Youngkin Urges College Presidents to Hire Faculty with More Diverse Political Perspectives in Letter to Presidents of Virginia’s Public Universities – The Cavalier Daily

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In a statement sent to presidents of Virginia’s public universities, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin called on schools to increase their commitment to free speech by hiring more faculty from “diverse political perspectives” and by supporting events and forums that enable the civil exchange of ideas.

Sent Tuesday, letter begins with an acknowledgment of the added strain the pandemic has placed on students in terms of their “mental health, academic achievement, social and emotional development, and sense of community.” Beginning his suggested plan towards normalcy, Youngkin listed a set of changes under various themes, which he hoped leaders would implement in their universities’ current operations.

In a section titled “Vibrant Campus Life,” the governor calls on university leaders to fully restore in-person addiction, as well as keep campus safe by partnering with the Violent Crimes Task Force program de Youngkin, citing the need to “continue to support our police and first responders.

The University recently undertaken its own measure to tackle crime on and off the grounds, by creating the Community Focused Police Squad, which includes officers from the University Police Department stationed in areas near the grounds considered to have high crime rates. The program faces criticism for being an inadequate approach to crime, with critics instead advocating greater investment in social and economic investments in the community.

Youngkin also calls on universities to encourage greater “free inquiry” and increase their commitments to free speech. Youngkin’s first recommendation is the development of a joint statement that supports free speech, citing the University of Chicago declaration of freedom of expression. Approved by the Board of Visitors, the University published her own statement affirming its commitment to freedom of expression and freedom of inquiry.

Freedom of expression has been a heated topic of discussion recently following a editorial published by The Cavalier Daily which collected national Warning. The editorial was addressed to the impending former Vice President Mike Pence to visit to the reasons.

Youngkin also asked university leaders to prioritize hiring staff and faculty with “diverse political perspectives,” as well as supporting events that facilitate the civil exchange of ideas.

University spokesman Brian Coy told the Cavalier Daily in an email that diversity is an “essential” part of the university.

“The students, faculty, and staff that make up this community come from a wide variety of places, perspectives, and backgrounds,” Coy said.

Youngkin’s letter goes on to ask university leaders not to raise tuition fees by cutting costs and being “creative and strategic problem solvers.” The letter further suggests a review of staffing as well as majors and course offerings. In December, the Council vote to increase tuition fees for the academic years 2022-23 and 2023-24 following a tuition Freeze for the 2019-2020 and 2021-2022 school years.

“We are also working hard to do a U.Va. an education that is as accessible and affordable as possible for our students, which is reflected in the University’s consistent rating as one of the best public institutions in the country, both for the experience we offer students and for the value we provide. ‘they get for their tuition,’ Coy said.

Finally, Youngkin urged leaders to change what they consider a success. Arguing as another measure of overall college success, he asked university leaders to track post-graduation results by job and salary in addition to tracking the graduation rate already done. He also called for a greater commitment to non-traditional pathways for Virginia students, including strengthening “pathway programs,” which serve as a pipeline for underserved students to receive a college education.

The letter ends with Youngkin mentioning the high interest that Fortune 100 companies typically take in graduates from Virginia universities and urged university leaders to maintain the high-quality education that makes graduates optimal candidates for employment.

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