Dan Addison

Gov. Bob McDonnell is making his mark at UVA, both through policy and in person. McDonnell came to Grounds in mid-March on a two-fold visit: to sign two education bills at the Curry School and to speak to students in a government class of politics professor Larry Sabato (Col ’74).

The bills establish funding for universities to create laboratory schools, which are joint efforts with local school systems that give teachers the opportunity to continue learning and provide University students with innovative teaching tools.

“This University, and the Curry School of Education, are preparing the next generation of teachers and education leaders for our schools,” McDonnell said. “This legislation will enhance that effort.”

McDonnell was the ninth Virginia governor to share insights and quips with one of Sabato’s classes—and to answer some probing questions from students. The topics ranged from energy issues such as offshore drilling to McDonnell’s actions earlier in the month regarding anti-gay discrimination.

In the wake of a letter by state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli advising universities that their anti-discrimination policies could no longer protect gays, McDonnell issued an executive directive stating that the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause “prohibits discrimination without a rational basis against any class of persons.”

UVA President John Casteen hailed the directive, saying he was personally grateful for McDonnell’s action.

“This had become an uncommonly troubling issue, one that cuts to the core of our common claims to the most fundamental kinds of personal security under the rule of law,” Casteen said in a University-wide e-mail.