UVA Center Hires Trump Ex-Official, Many Faculty Disapprove - Higher Education
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UVA Center Hires Trump Ex-Official, Many Faculty Disapprove

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Dozens of University of Virginia professors are outraged at the university’s decision to hire a former member of the Trump administration, according to an NBC-29 news report in Charlottesville, Va.

Marc Short, a former White House director of legislative affairs who has an MBA from UVA, has been hired as a senior fellow at the UVA-affiliated Miller Center, it was announced last week.

A petition written by faculty demanding UVA revoke Marc Short’s offer reached its cap of 150 signatures. Another petition on change.org had 2,000 signatures by early afternoon Monday.

UVA history professor John Mason was among the many critics of Short’s appointment, referencing a White supremacist-led rally in Charlottesville nearly a year ago that ended in a clash between protesters and counter-protesters that left a counter-protester dead. President Trump’s statement that there was bad behavior by people on “both sides” angered many people.

“How the Miller Center can bring in somebody who was at the very heart of the Trump administration, the very heart of an administration that is pursuing racist qualities, that is undermining democracy, that is empowering the ultra-right. It’s an absurd move on the part of the Miller Center,” Mason said. “And they should be deeply ashamed of what they’ve done.”

The center specializes in presidential scholarship, political history and public policy and says it “strives to apply the lessons of history and civil discourse to the nation’s most pressing contemporary governance challenges.”

The center also said it has hired former presidential staff members from both Republican and Democrat administrations and is committed to nonpartisan study of the presidency.

In an email to Politico, Howard Witt, director of communications and managing editor at the Miller Center, said, “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.”

Witt added that the addition of Short “deepens our scholarly inquiries into the workings of the American presidency. 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. Moreover, Short can offer insights into the Trump administration that are not currently available to our scholars or the public at large.”

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