Two UVA Professors Quit After Former Trump Aide Given One-Year Fellowship

Caleb Tolin | July 30, 2018
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Two history professors at University of Virginia handed in their resignation letters after a former Trump aide was awarded a one-year fellowship at the college. 

In a joint resignation letter, William I. Hitchcock and Melvyn P. Leffler both resigned from their positions at UVA because former Trump aide Marc Short was given a one-year fellowship at the Miller Center for Government Affairs.

Short served as Trump's White House Director of Legislative Affairs in 2017.

“The university should not serve 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 very thing that the University of Virginia, as an institution of higher education, is meant to protect,” the professors write in their resignation letter.

The two historians also cite Short’s compliance “in the erosion of our civic discourse" as a reason for their departure.

Leffler used to be the dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the university and Hitchcock is a New York Times bestselling historian and author as well as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize according to Politico.

The Miller Center for Government Affairs felt the need to explain its decision to offer Short a senior fellowship after it received backlash. 

"This appointment also speaks to a greater challenge for all of us: welcoming someone back into our community to begin a robust and hard conversation about the future of our democracy, and doing so in an environment that prioritizes rational and respectful discourse,” William Antholis, director and CEO of the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, said in a statement.

Antholis added that the fellowship was offered in the hopes that Short "can help Miller Center scholars better understand the Trump presidency and the challenges facing American politics."

The faculty was not the only group to push back on Short's appointment. Students at UVA created an online petition in protest of granting a fellowship to Short that has almost reached its goal of 2,500 signatures.

(Cover Photo: Flickr - Daniel Latorre)

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