The new president of the University of Virginia plans to uphold the appointment of President Trump’s former director of legislative affairs as a senior fellow at the school’s Miller Center, despite professor resignations and widely circulated petition condemning the hiring.
“I think it was the right call,” UVA President James Ryan told the Washington Post on his first day in the new gig, adding that Marc Short would be able to contribute valuable insight to the campus center — that focuses on U.S. presidents and policy — as “someone who has been on the front lines of this presidency, who can help us try to understand it.”
Short, who left the White House last month, is set to starting teaching at the UVA business school and serve as a senior fellow starting in August, but two UVA history professors have already resigned from the Miller Center in protest of the appointment. A group of professors and alumni started an online petition last month, asking the university to revoke the appointment and not allow the school to be used as a “waystation for high-level members of an administration that has directly harmed our community and to this day attacks the institutions vital to a free society.”
The petition — which, as of 8:00 a.m. ET Thursday, had accumulated 3,389 signatures — also cited the Trump administration’s botched response to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last year, when Trump said both sides were to blame for the violence that left a counter-protester dead.
“It is unconscionable that we would add to our university a person who served in a high-level position for the administration that first empowered, then defended, those white nationalists,” the petition said.