Yeardley Love

It goes without saying that many of us alumni were devastated by the news that a young female student at our university was allegedly killed by someone who was also a UVA student.

I graduated from college a long time ago, served 30 years active and reserve duty in the Army and taught for many years at the collegiate level. I would not pretend that I fully understand the student climate at UVA or elsewhere today. At the same time, it is clear that the apotheosis of athletes that I witnessed at my undergraduate institution (not Virginia) and at UVA while I was a four-year graduate student in the late ’60s and early ’70s has not changed—and that it is just plain wrong. The climate that allows my university to recruit and support a young man who clearly does not have the moral character to be a real Wahoo simply has to change. 

I am confident that [the University] will be conducting a thorough investigation to see where such things “fell through the cracks,” as they say. I am also confident that gifted athletes will continue to escape punishment for their misdeeds unless our university shows the strength to do what the U.S. Naval Academy just did—kick a star athlete off the football team for his violations of Naval Academy rules.

I remember very well my orientation to the Honor System when I first became a University of Virginia student in 1968, and I remember being so impressed by the implications of it. Have we so watered it down that verbal and physical assaults no longer warrant the sanction afforded by the Honor Code? I hope and trust that such is not the case.

James T. Currie (Grad ’69, ’75)
Alexandria, Va.

 

As a graduate of UVA, I find all of this media speculation into the death of Yeardley Love sickening. This is not a new situation at UVA. It is probably not new at many colleges and universities. And it is certainly not new in the world of professional sports. What it boils down to is the mentality of a rich, male athlete. They are the superstars of their sport, are recruited by UVA to attend. People—coaches, professors, fellow students—tend to bend over backward to accommodate these men. 

What happened to Yeardley Love is absolutely horrible. And it can happen to anyone as long as these superstar athletes are allowed to do as they please.

Anne Grochmal Zickefoose (Col ’00)
Mount Pleasant, S.C.


The Builder

John Casteen was my classmate and a wisecracking, ironically observing and acerbically remarking friend of mine. Now his tone is wistful more than triumphant. And nothing is more endearing than that this linguistics student and professor should ponder how “so long” came to mean “goodbye.” So typically and thoughtfully John.

He is himself a bright example of determination and audacity for new generations of bright young Wahoos. Thank you, John, for what you did in your time to sustain this place where freedom finds its roots.

Anniece Ross (Grad ’68)
Address unavailable

 

I read the wonderful story about “The Builder,” President Casteen. I have marveled at his accomplishments and relentless dedication and contributions to the University. UVA has been blessed with a visionary whose leadership and commitment to the University will forever be a legacy. President Casteen is to be commended for a job exceptionally well done. Thank you, President Casteen.

Susan L. Stephenson (Nurs ’80)
Richmond, Va.

 

I read with great interest the article concerning the extraordinary things President Casteen needed to do to improve the academic quality and reputation of the University. Indeed, the article is a reprise of the governing theme of the magazine—and all University communications—for the last 20 years and more: The University is always getting a lot better. It is depressing to me to think what a provincial, academic backwater the University must have been when I attended and graduated from the College in the 1960s (one class behind John Casteen). Back then we were told how academically distinguished the University was, but I guess that was just confidence-building hype.

Especially, we were told how distinguished the Law School was. In light of all the buzz about the Elena Kagan nomination—how only graduates of Harvard and Yale law schools are good enough to be appointed Supreme Court justices—I guess that even the talk about the distinction of the UVA Law School was hollow. Poor Mr. Jefferson must be rolling in his grave to see that after nearly two centuries his University has still not been able to place its graduates in the very top echelon of the republic that he founded.

Kent Emery Jr. (Col ’66)
South Bend, Ind.

 

After reading about retiring President Casteen’s career as “The Builder” (Summer 2010), [I felt] compelled to e-mail you.

Could you research and explain how/why the state only contributes 6.7 percent to the operating budget of its ostensible “flagship” university? If that is accurate, it leaves me incredulous. And how does that compare to other top state universities like Michigan or Texas? Second, could you articulate the mission and expose the financial workings of the University’s $4.6 billion endowment? If it is not maintained to provide financial assistance to worthy potential students, what is it for?

Mark Heckler (Com ’77)
Cambridge, Md.

Virginia is not alone in the trend of dwindling financial support for public higher education (state funding will compose just 6.3 percent, or $150 million, of UVA’s $2.38 billion budget for 2010-11, down from 6.7 percent last year). The University of Michigan received 7.9 percent of its 2009-10 total budget from the state, representing a 13 percent decline over the past eight years. State funding made up 16.2 percent of the University of Texas’ 2009-10 budget—in 1984-85, the state supplied 47 percent of the budget.

The draw on UVA’s endowment will provide 5.5 percent ($131 million) of this year’s operating budget. About 71 percent of the endowment is restricted to donor-designated purposes.

AccessUVa, the University’s financial aid program, offers loan-free packages for low-income students, caps on need-based loans for all other students and a commitment to meet 100 percent of demonstrated need for every student. The program keeps a UVA education affordable for the lowest-income students and also addresses the concerns of middle-income families who are squeezed by the rising cost of tuition. The projected 2010-11 cost of AccessUVa will be $80.1 million.

For more on the University’s budget challenges, see page 14. —Ed.


Historical Issues

I am afraid I must take issue with some of the captions for the photographs in the story “Then and Now: An illustrated journey through time” (Spring 2010). Some are in error and some simply miss the point, for lack of a better way of describing it.

“University Circle,” the first photograph, is an example of the latter. While Mrs. Manahan certainly was of interest to the sensational press, she was of no significance to the University. The great William M. Thornton, dean of the School of Engineering and for whom Thornton Hall is named, is far more worthy of mention as a resident of University Circle.

“Memorial Gymnasium.” I believe, though I could be wrong, that the unfortunate reflecting pool at the Memorial Gymnasium, which truly was a disaster when I entered the University in the fall of 1951 and which I remember as a disaster when I was a child, was not filled in before the winter or spring of 1953. There was a practice track around it (the real track was at Lambeth Field) and I am pretty sure I remember running on it during my second year, which would have been 1952-53. The track was done away with when the reflecting pool was filled in.

“Ivy Road.” Lady Astor indeed was born in Danville, but she was raised at “Mirador,” her family’s house in the western part of Albemarle County, and she always claimed that as home, not Danville. She took a keen interest in the University and in Albemarle County for much of her life in England and made gifts to both—the Lady Astor Squash Courts, for example, now used as storage, were built on the other side of the unfortunate reflecting pool and moved to their present location next to the tennis courts when the University Bookstore and Parking Garage was built.

“The Anatomical Theater.” The Anatomical Theater was a Jeffersonian afterthought. When Dr. Dunglison, hired as the first professor of medicine, and his wife arrived in Charlottesville shortly before the University opened, they were horrified to learn that cadavers were to be kept in the first floor classrooms of their house, Pavilion X. Dr. Dunglison had become close to Jefferson as his physician, and when he complained about the dissections that were to take place downstairs, Jefferson saw his point and designed the theater.

The Anatomical Theater was never known as “Stiff Hall.” That building, which was roughly where the north wing of Newcomb Hall and the Clemons Library are now, survived, in part, into the 1950s. My father took anatomy there during his first year in the Medical School, just before the cadavers were moved to the new Medical School buildings at the Corner. 

The Anatomical Theater appears never to have worked as an anatomy classroom and at some point fairly early on (before the Civil War) Stiff Hall was built as a replacement. The Anatomical Theater then became the University Dispensary. In later years, the Anatomical Theater was a kind of all-purpose but rundown storeroom, which was its state when Alderman Library was built and it was taken down.

“University Dispensary.” The University Dispensary opened at the end of the session of 1895-96, less than a year after the Great Fire that destroyed the Rotunda Annex and burned out the interior of the Rotunda. It was built of brick salvaged from the ruined Annex. There was no proper hospital in Charlottesville and the dispensary functioned as a hospital for both the city and the University.

It also, as the article points out, served as a teaching hospital for the Medical School before the University Hospital opened. It was never adequate as a hospital and was intended as a temporary undertaking until the proper hospital at the University was finished in 1901.

“West Street.” A small point, but to those of us who have been around Charlottesville and the University for a while, it is “Observatory Mountain,” not “Observatory Hill.” “Observatory Hill” was an unfortunate error of the late 1960s or early 1970s, unhappily perpetuated in the student dining hall known as “O-Hill.”

Alexander G. Gilliam Jr. (Col ’55)
University Protocol and History Officer
Charlottesville, Va.


John Yoo

I read with interest the article in the April 2010 e-newsletter about John Yoo’s speech and the attempts to sabotage his presentation. It was very instructive but not unexpected to read that the same hypocrites who would defend the rights of terrorists to be tried in federal courts would silence the voice of someone with views contrary to their own.

If nothing else, is it not the duty of a University student to examine points of view contrary to his own? Is that not part of the learning process? I would like to think that those protestors were not enrolled at UVA, but, sadly, suspect that not to be the case. This is not one of the University’s prouder moments.

Dr. Robert A. Appel (Med ’81)
Fayetteville, N.C.

 

I do not know John Yoo. Nor am I an expert on the legality of the interrogation methods deployed in the defense of our nation. But I know enough about the situation to find it appalling that you would label him a “torture defender,” as you did in your recent online edition.

Reasonable lawyers can disagree about whether Yoo’s analysis was sound.

But there is no room for disagreement regarding the following facts: (1) our country was brutally attacked on 9/11 by jihadists who have dedicated themselves to our destruction; (2) in the wake of 9/11, there was enormous concern that other devastating assaults would soon occur; (3) those responsible for ensuring the safety of our country had to make tough decisions, including how best to interrogate “high value” enemy combatants; (4) before doing so, our leaders turned for guidance to some of our brightest lawyers (including Yoo), who had no purpose or motive other than to render what they thought to be sound advice regarding difficult legal issues; and (5) those who delivered the advice (including Yoo) acted in the utmost of good faith.

Lewis Powell III (Law ’78)
Richmond, Va.


Dudley Memories

William Henderson’s letter in the Summer 2010 issue struck a responsive chord with me. Probably memories of Bill Dudley’s amazing football career, both college and professional, are hazy if not non-existent in the minds of most current UVA fans. However, as Virginia’s first consensus All-American, and arguably the most versatile football player the school and the state have ever produced, I feel strongly that the memory of his accomplishments deserves enhancement above and beyond soon-forgotten obituary tributes.

Mr. Henderson suggests renaming the stadium in his honor. While this may not be feasible, a life-size statue in the stadium precincts surely would be. I would be glad to make a contribution to help finance such an endeavor, and I believe that others would, too. Perhaps the Alumni Association would be the appropriate body to spearhead the effort.

Richard H. Dilworth (Col ’51)
Richmond, Va.


Grammar Citation

In the Table of Contents page of the Summer 2010 issue of Virginia Magazine is to be found a couple of sentences summarizing an article on John Casteen. One says that he “helped create a University that’s much different than the one …”

“Different than” is incorrect; “different from” is correct.

Keep striving.

Andrew S. Ryan Jr. (Grad ’76)
Richmond, Va.