EXCLUSIVE: UVA alumnus calls out 'cult' like 'groupthink' promoting 'partisan' agenda

A University of Virginia alumnus blasted his alma mater for promoting a "partisan" political agenda.

The alumnus shared an email he received from the university's Miller Center CEO, which he says is evidence of this.

A University of Virginia alumnus is calling out his alma mater after a college official inadvertently sent him an email that he says highlights the school’s political bias. 

Stan Gordon shared with Campus Reform the email he received from UVA Miller Center Director and CEO William Antholis on December 10. In the message, addressed to “Slade,” Antholis presents the idea of hosting a “nonpartisan” discussion on impeachment. The email was sent just days before President Donald Trump was formally impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. 

During an exclusive interview with Campus Reform, Gordon said that upon conducting some research, he believes the email was intended for former U.S. Republican Sen. Slade Gorton of Washington State. 

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”What I have in mind is a private late afternoon or dinner seminar-style gathering with you and a handful of sitting senators on each side of the aisle.  We could pull this together right after the New Year, if there was an interest,” Antholis wrote in the email. “My gut instinct would be to do one session for Democrats, and another for Republicans.  I’m reaching out to Tim Kaine and Mark Warner on the Democratic side, and to you and to Ken Duberstein to see if there is interest for a similar gathering on the GOP side.  I would welcome your thoughts on this.”

Antholis went on to name several sitting Republican senators, including Mitt Romney, Cory Gardner, Martha McSally, Thom Tillis, Lamar Alexander, and Lisa Murkowski, whom he said would be “open to a conversation about whether this is in fact an impeachable set of offenses.”

”I select this list as a group of people who have expressed concern about the president’s actions,” Antholis wrote. 

Gordon told Campus Reform that he is “appalled” by the email, which he said “promotes a blatantly partisan political objective.”

”As an alumnus, it just is not acceptable in terms of what the university stands for...It’s a strange culture, or what I would term a ‘cult’ of groupthink there that has resulted in this type of behavior where they simply just do not seem to be looking for input from what constitutes half the American population,” Gordon said, referring to the estimated number of Americans who support Trump. 

Gordon criticized UVA’s Miller Center for describing itself as “nonpartisan” and using taxpayer funds, while not seeking input from anyone aligned with the sitting Republican president. 

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”If they do reach out to Republicans it is typically in the form of Never Trump-er Republicans,” Gordon told Campus Reform.

Gordon said the director’s email “appears to immediately put in motion an effort to convene meetings ultimately designed to promote impeachment both amongst Democrats and to influence any Republicans.

”By getting these Republicans to vote against Trump it would create simple majority votes that may put in motion actions to stretch out the impeachment process for months on end,” Gordon told Campus Reform. “While knowing the Senate would not remove the President as that requires a 2/3’s vote, they nevertheless would continue to attempt to damage the President going into the 2020 election.”

Antholis told Campus Reform during a phone interview Thursday that, “in this case, what we are very interested in is presidential impeachment and we are particularly interested in whether and where there may or may not be consensus across the political spectrum about what is appropriate or inappropriate presidential action.” 

Campus Reform asked Antholis if any consideration was given to engaging senators with impeachment viewpoints more favorable to the president, so as to include all sides of the impeachment debate. Antholis responded with a non-definitive answer. 

”We focused our efforts on bringing a broad range of expertise at the center to students and faculty and the public events that we hosted in Charlottesville. If you look at those events they included a range of perspectives and I think it upheld our standards of nonpartisanship and we feel very good about the efforts we took in that regard,” he added. 

Asked whether the center ever hosted the event proposed in the email, Antholis first said the center “never followed through, but when asked to clarify if he intends to host the event in the future, he added, ”we did the events that we did. I’m not going to discuss anything that we might be doing and I’ll keep our other conversations confidential.”

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