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Yesterday’s post registered my concerns about a report that the trustees of the University of Virginia were actively considering an ideology dashboard to measure the political opinions of students and employees on campus, presumably to enforce a predetermined “balance.”

While I stand by the concerns I raised, Brian Coy, a university spokesman, reached out with a response that’s worth quoting directly.

I read Matt Reed’s post this AM regarding the discussion about ideology at UVA and generally thought it was fair and interesting. One point—I don’t think it’s accurate to say UVA as an institution is considering an ideology dashboard. One Board member (Doug Wetmore) suggested the idea, and another (Bert Ellis) endorsed the idea.

 Several others questioned the legality and/or opposed it. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea or that it didn’t come up, but I worry the way it’s framed makes it sound like there’s an official effort underway there, when there isn’t. 

The other item is the statement that President Ryan indicated he’d be open to such an idea. I do not believe he reacted to such a specific proposal at all, other than to say he agrees with the goal of welcoming greater ideological diversity and raising concerns about how to measure or track it, especially on the legal front. 

I think it’s accurate to say a couple members of our Board are considering such an idea, certainly, and I don’t think that undermines the greater point about why some may find that to be cause for concern. Thanks! 

I’m glad to hear all of this, but particularly that several other board members “questioned the legality and/or opposed it.” They should. And I owe thanks to Mr. Coy for the clarification. Here’s hoping that public attention to the proposal helps folks realize just how central to the mission of the university free inquiry actually is before they do serious damage.

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