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Interview of Annie Gladchuk by Ross Youell
R: I guess the first question – why did you want to participate in this such a class like this, like the one that we’re in.
A: Well, I needed another class when I was choosing my classes and this one was I think added later than the other ones, so it wasn’t filled up yet, I think that’s like where, it just showed up in the filter, so I was like oh, this looks interesting, and after I looked at the uh course description and everything it said that we’d be doing interviews, which I had taken a class on before and wasn’t very good at them, so I wanted to definitely get better and try to learn a little bit about all of that. It’s been really, it’s been what I expected so far, it’s been if anything better because it’s really really interesting the course matter for me, and also because I didn’t know, I was in Spain when this whole thing happened over the summer during June and everything, so I didn’t know much about it and I wanted to, as a community member at Uva I wanted to know more about what was going on.
R: So the idea of you being a community member was a big part of it
A: Yeah, I just figured I go here and I am active in clubs and sports and everything, and when people ask me what happened and what’s my opinion on it I wanted to be able to say, I didn’t want to say I didn’t know anything about it.
R: So you wanted to be informed about the situation? So like you talk about your clubs and stuff like what, what is your involvement with UVA and this community.
A: Well, I am on the dance team that performs at basketball and football games, so I am really involved with those two, our major sports, and really involved in the school spirit, we do a lot of appearances and that’s where a lot of my school spirit stems from, it’s the appearance of this school, the reputation and all of that which this, which was greatly affected by this. And I’m also in, I’m the choreographer of Mahogany Dance Troupe which is another dance group on grounds. And yeah, so I’m just taking 3rd year classes and involved in academics as much as I can be uhm outside of class
R: So like, you talked about reputation being big, what was your immediate reaction and how do you think of the crisis, that is, and how do you think UVa’s reputation changed in those seventeen days in June?
A: Well the, what affected my opinion immediately was I read the email kind of discarded it because I was like okay this is crazy, they’re gonna take care of it, I wonder what happened, cause it didn’t really say. Then I started looking on Facebook and seeing my coach posted something about how she went here for 5 years and now the Board of Visitors was “shitting” all over its reputation, to quote her Facebook. And so I, that really got my attention, it got me kind of trying to read into it to see what happened and I still really couldn’t figure out why she had been forced to resign so I figured I mean I had read obviously philosophical differences which means they fired her and they didn’t like what she had to say, which is what, those were my thoughts at the time. So then I came back and I was, I starting working at my Dad’s restaurant, hosting, and it’s a small place so a lot of the customers are regulars and everything, so when I would go to sit them down they would ask, you know, “how are you doing, what are you doing now” and I’d say I’m back from school on summer break and they asked where I went of course, and when I said UVa, I didn’t get the same response I normally got, which was “oh wow, good for you, congrats that’s a great school,” I got “oh my goodness, I’m sorry” because of the whole thing that had happened, and that’s when it really also hit me, when a customer told me they were sorry I went to UVa because of this whole crisis that was going on and I was like wow I really didn’t know that it was that big of a deal honestly because I hadn’t been on grounds since it happened.
R: Now, what was your reaction when they said “I’m sorry”, was it just shock or was it…
A: Yeah, I was really shocked, I honestly didn’t say anything I just kept pouring his water (laughing ensues) I, yeah, I, from then it was like oh my gosh you know what I came here for was, I saw this place the campus was so beautiful or the grounds, sorry, it’s so pretty here and every time I told someone yeah I’m applying to UVa, honestly they would say oh, I mean good luck, you’re out of state, you’re not gonna get in basically, so the whole appeal is that this is a great place to be, the sports are big, the school spirits huge, it looked like they had everything under control, but I didn’t know much about Teresa Sullivan until this whole thing happened, I didn’t know anyone had a problem with her other than the fact that compared to Castine, apparently he was so, you know amazing that it’s just hard to follow him, but, but yeah I was just really shocked, and from then you know I’m really happy that this course came along to kind of clear a few things up for me, but…
R: So, you were more or less indifferent towards Sullivan as president before this, before this whole crisi took place?
A: Right, even though I’d been going here for two years, honestly I kind of felt somewhat of a connection with her just cause, because I came in, she came in the same year, uhm, and that kind of means something to me for some reason I honestly don’t even really know why, but we would have been like her first full 4 years graduating class, or we will be now, but yeah so I did feel kind of some kind of connection with her there, and that for me is like which is the kind of thing where if somebody asked me, I would say, I would defend her, you know and I’m still pretty much at that point just because of that connection, because of some of the other things that I’ve heard but mostly because of my spirit for the school, and spirit for…
R: Okay, so, spirit plays a lot, and the UVa brand plays a lot into it. (A: definitely) So, you mentioned that you were in Spain when it happened, how did you kind of keep up with the events while you were halfway across the world?
A: Well, so I was studying abroad, which means that I really didn’t have too much time, you know I wanted to go out and get all these experiences from being in another country, I’d never been before, and the school work there was like, I mean it was really nothing compared to here, I had two classes, it wasn’t anything, but for me it was like oh my god, I have to sit down and do this work now, so sitting down for like another half hour looking through all these magazine articles online and look, you know, look at the Facebook page, and all that was like not, I wasn’t really interested. I would have rather gone out, and you know, done Spain stuff, so, I really didn’t even get interested in this stuff til I came back and I was pretty much just bored at home, and decided it’s now time to like kind of clear this up for myself, but yeah, for me, even going to UVa and having like the school spirit that I do have, I just, it wasn’t of high priority to me, because summer came first, essentially.
R: Exactly, and uhm, so, as you learned more as you came back, did your reaction or indifference to the event change at all, or, like, was it kind of more of the same?
A: So when I came back, I spoke to a few of my friends who had been there, at the rallies and everything, and all they said was, “It’s really cool” It was really cool to see, and I’m assuming (these were the girls that were on the dance team with me), so obviously everyone getting together and protesting for a big cause together gets them, you know, really excited too, and it’s, it’s cool, like they said. So, my only thing that really, I mean, a lot of things changed about how much I know about it and everything, but one of the biggest noticeable changes, and just my attitude towards it, was that it really just brought this school together, and like, it’s just a big controversy now. It’s a big controversy and it’s not, I mean, obviously everyone’s like “Helen Dragas is wrong, Theresa Sullivan shouldn’t have been fired,” but I just am seeing it like honestly, it’s kind of exciting, this big thing that’s going on, and everyone’s opinions on it, and it’s obviously a huge part in our lives right now, it’s one of our classes, and yeah, so my opinion went from not TOO interested in it, just because of my other circumstances, to now I’m back, now I’m in the setting, and now we’ll see, and now I’m kind of, I’m really nervous for her, for Theresa Sullivan, because, the same way I was nervous when Obama got elected, like okay, now he, he’s gotten over this big feat, we have a black president, what’s he gonna do, ya know, so it’s like she came back, she, you know, everyone’s pretty much on her side, as far as I can tell from reading the articles, talking to students, uhm, so now, I’m nervous that, you know, it’s kind of, I kind of feel like she has to do something big, I feel like she, there’s pressure on her to do something big and really positive for this school now, not that I mean as a president you shouldn’t always be thinking that way, but of course in her situation, it’s like a little bit of added pressure, to not mess up, so yeah, that’s…
R: So what was, along those lines, what do you think she can do to kind of, I guess, authenticate who she is and authenticate like uh, her, her presidency at the University?
A: I suppose just get out there in the community and do a couple more things to honestly make herself more personable, maybe. Because I know, I mean, that’s a huge reason why everyone was so behind Castine, is because you know, he was cool, everyone thought he was like a nice guy, and all that; as far as like policies and everything goes, that’s up to them… I don’t think that she would do anything not, you know, to decrease from the attraction of this school or the success of this school, so, yeah, as far as she, as for her maintaining a level head and everything, I think that to add onto that, she can get more in the community, and we’ve seen like, it’s nice to see her at, for me of course, on the football games, at the football fields, looking up at Hoo Vision and seeing her up there saying, you know, Let’s Go Wahoos, and being so proud of UVa like she is, and that means a lot to me, and I think that like stuff like that is gonna help her get back into, ya know, normalcy now.
R: So through this Crisis, she is almost seen as more personable than she was? (A: yeah, I think so, definitely). Okay.
A: It’s added to that, especially to get her kind of out of Castine’s shadows, and yeah everyone’s supporting her now, which I don’t know, I mean, rather it’s right or wrong, we still really don’t know the full story of who was in the right, who was in the wrong, but I think that it’s nice to have, you know, she’s back now, so let’s deal with what we have got, and it’s nice to have everyone on her side and, yeah.
R: So, along those same lines, we see at schools like William and Mary, where the president is fired and nothing happens… so I guess, were you personally surprised that Sullivan was reinstated because this was kind of like a, a monumental thing where she established precedent for the future almost.
A: Definitely, I was definitely surprised. Like you said, it can happen, presidents have been, or have resigned, you know, have even been fired, and life goes on… no one really cares, and when I first read that first email, I assumed that was going to happen. We were gonna get a new president, and that was gonna be it. Then I started seeing all the articles, and I mean personally, there was no, in her fire for me reading this email, until I saw all the media that was surrounding it, and all the controversy that it was causing, and that’s what, I mean I know this is a special circumstance, which kind of leads me to believe that yeah, Helen Dragas was wrong, or else there wouldn’t have been all of this you know, controversy surrounding it, and the people that are really, really involved in that, I mean I’m not as interested in the politics or you know, that aspect of things, so I’m not necessarily up to date with all of our new policies and all of our, you know, honor code and all that stuff. Of course it means something to me because I go here, but in the end, I thought this was just gonna blow over when I first read the email, and I was really, really shocked when things started getting crazy, they got out of control.
R: So, like, you talk about the fact that you thought she was going to stay, potentially fired for the most part. What do you think the media’s role and the community’s role kind of combined was in, uhm, reinstating Sullivan? Like how did they work, how do you think they managed to pull it off? Because like, the media, as we see through the Facebook events, through the virtual rallies and stuff like that, it was so important. So how do you think that affected things?
A: It, I mean I think that it made it possible at all. Because, uhm, one of the first stories that I read was talking about how uhm, Helen Dragas was about to hire a really expensive PR firm to pretty much, you know, undo what she had done to her image, and just all that pressure on her coming from the students that were angry, the community members that were angry, all the angry articles coming in towards her and like yeah, the fact that she needed a PR company to help her out with her image (laughs). Obvisoly, the media had so much to do with that, and the, you know, power of the students in the rallies and all of that has so much to do with that too, so there was a lot of pressure on her, and I think that in her position, and just, I mean like I said, I don’t know much about politics, but you don’t want people to hate you if you’re in a position of power like that. You don’t want them to not like you, because then they’re not going to listen to what you say as much, you know, and she has a whole board that has to be on her side kind of, so I think that it really made it possible for her to, like… as soon as I saw the rallies and everything that was going on, I was like there’s no way she’s not going to get reinstated. As soon as I heard that that was an option, I knew that it was going to happen, just because there was so much power behind it.
R: So you talked about the media and Dragas. Do you think that it was fair for the media to portray Dragas as kind of, like… as we’ve seen in our class, like Dragas is almost perceived as a devilish figure almost, like the bad guy. Do you think that is fair, and do you think that the media took away from her humane characteristics, or not?
A: Honestly, from what I’ve heard about her, and obviously this has all been through the media; I don’t know her personally, I’ve never heard her, you know, personal life story, but from what I’ve heard, it’s that she did have a couple of meetings that were secret, and obviously you know, you’re not supposed to do that. So, I think that… no one deserves to have like, so much horrible media backlash, but I do think that she was portrayed as someone who was kind of sneaky, and from some of the facts, if we can even call them that with everything so much in the air still, but from some of the facts, like I said, she went behind people’s backs and had secret meetings, which you’re not supposed to do, the fact that she was so gungho about getting her image, you know, fixed and everything, yeah I do think that she was portrayed as she should have been, as someone that was kind of going behind everyone’s backs, and as someone that really wanted this, kind of for like a personal gain.
R: Right, so you think for her it was all about impression, and outward appearance, to others.
A: I still don’t know her motives or anything, but from the, you know, that ‘philosophical differences’ quote again, why are her philosophical opinions correct? Why should she have a say in that, you know, and that’s my opinion on it, so…
R: So, we talked a lot about those 17 days and we’ve talked a lot about the Crisis, but can you pinpoint one certain situation or action that personally bothered you the most about this whole situation? Like one characteristic of the Crisis in particular?
A: Honestly, I am out of state, and so the difference between the in state and out of state tuition for me is insane. It’s crazy, and my dad was SO nervous for me to try to accept this, because my financial aid didn’t actually come through until the day we actually had to send out our commitments to schools, and I had gotten great offers from other schools, and I have, you know, three brothers, and the younger two still have to go through college, so I didn’t want to put that stress on my family, or myself, you know, after I graduate, and once I found out that they were gonna need to, how much money that had spent finding Theresa Sullivan, and how much money they were probably going to need to find a new president, and how much they were spending on the media, covering this whole thing anyway, that was really like wow, they need to get their stuff together, and move on with this, because I don’t think that’s where our money should be going. And that’s what, like personally, that’s where I got really interested, and got kind of angry thinking about it.
R: So, this kind of touched with you on a personal level.
A: Right, and it wasn’t even that I was like get Sullivan back, you know, I was just like, figure it out, because this is a waste of my money, and if my tuition is going to go up because of this next year, then I’m transferring schools. As much as I love this place, it’s just not fair to do that to the students.
R: So, as for like, you talked a lot about your personal issues with The Crisis and how it affected you. Now, as you’re in this class, is there anything that has bothered you about the same, or even more, with the whole situation… like a miscommunication, or a lack of coherency between the Board and her… like is there anything that bothers you as greatly as that personal strife that you were talking about?
A: Well, being in this class has kind of actually… I haven’t felt any, like different opinions than I’ve already had about any of this stuff that we’ve learned or talked about or discovered through looking at the articles and everything; it’s more for me this class has been kind of just an inspiration and a, uhm, every time I go to class, I see students that really want to delve into this, and I love their passion for this school, and I am really, I mean that’s why I am passionate about going here, it’s people taking a stand for something and getting really involved in it, and so, whatever we uncover, whatever we come to as our class opinion if we can ever decide on that, it’s just really inspiring, the fact that we all really want to delve into this, we really want to take the time and get the interviews and do this research and find these articles, and that’s what has been really beneficial for me.
R: Now, the Crisis: you mentioned how inspiring it was for you in this community. Now, do you think that inspiration can be broadened to a national sphere, and do you think our significane in this class can be broadened to a national sphere, or is it important at all, do you think?
A: I think it’s definitely gonna take some time to be broadened, but I think that, with the little local media coverage that we have gotten so far, even that, I do think really means a lot, because if I can be inspired, and you know, I’m someone who’s had trouble in the past getting motivated to do my school work, to get these things done on time, and to find interest in the classes that I am taking, but with this I’m not, and it’s, I like doing the work in this class, and going to this class, and talking to you all, and it’s really, really nice, and I think that yeah, if someone ever needs a protocol for something, they can look back at this class, and they can look at this stuff that’s going to be online soon, and say well, this is what they did at UVa, and I mean, I think we’re definitely on a track to getting over this thing and having it be in our past. I;m excited that we’re kind of in it now, that I’m part of it, but I think that yeah, just as we talked about other schools, how their presidents get fired, nothing happens, or how they change the public and private institutions and all of that, I think that people are definitely going to be talking about this for a long time, and the fact that we are the ones that are initially covering this kind of, and like getting the personal stories of everyone that was involved, I think that it really means a lot, and I think that what we’re doing is really, really important for that reason. I mean I am thinking that people are going to use this to look back on this event and learn more about it, from our schools and from other schools, too.
R: So, do you see the , I guess, the significance of this event, do you think, obviously you said that it will take time, but also, I feel as if, and I think others do as well, that we have the potential to make that immediate impact in our community. What do you think that immediate impact is right now, and how do you think we can further expand that impact?
A: Well, there’s always the question of, you know, getting it while it’s hot essentially. There is no reason to punish someone a year after they commit a crime; they are not going to learn… so I think that it’s really important that we’re doing this now, so close to the fact that we’re not saying we’re embarrassed, let’s hang our heads and say yeah, our administration kind of messed up. We’re taking this and we’re turning this into an educational experience for everyone, and I mean that in itself is great, it’s the small lessons that can be learned from this, or just, when you mess up, learn from it, you know. When something’s not right, you feel, research it and find out for yourself, and also, just the fact that we’re getting everyone’s story is to appreciate everyone’s role in our community and to appreciate everyone for what they bring to the table, so there’s a lot of little, I mean life lessons that stem from this class, other than the obvious facts that we’re doing a lot of educational work to get our stories out there.
R: Do you think… How do you think the community prospers, and I guess the… because we talked a lot about the public university, and it coexisting with the community. How do you think this event in particular kind of combined those forces and maybe will make things better in the future?
A: So our public… sorry, I kind of blanked out for a second there… so the fact that we’re setting the (25:25… what does she say??)… how that’s gonna
R: How… let me rephrase it… We talk a lot about the unifying characteristics of a community, and with the public university… we talk about how that relationship is so important, and do you think before this event, that that relationship was lacking? And if so, how did this event change that relationship?
A: Well, I don’t think it was lacking because otherwise it would have been difficult to get these rallies and everything together. I don’t think that it was as apparent as it is now. I think now, we’ve seen, wow, people really care about this place, people that live here, they might not have even gone here, really care about UVa; this school is huge for Charlottesville, it’s huge for Virginia, it’s huge for this country even, and I think it’s important to know, I mean, regardless of whether it strengthened or weakened our bonds with the outside community, it did show us how strong it already is, and I think that’s really important for morale and for maintaining that school spirit that a lot of us come here for in the first place, and yeah, so I think, I mean, I’m sure that it probably strengthened it a bit, but I think more so what it did was remind us that it is there, those ties within the community and the school.
R: So it kind of made the outside world know how big of a community this is and how united we were.
A: I definitely think so.
R: Okay. So going back to ‘the recent unpleasantness’ as Sabado so eloquently stated, do you think the Board… did you know the Board of Visitors before the summer? Like had you heard of them at all?
A: No. I was like, who is Helen Dragas? It sounds like a character out of Harry Potter or something. (Laughs)
R: Yeah, right, so uhm, for you, what did that mean? A corporate structured, I guess… Board, that is taking care of this University; now that you know the Board of Visitors is so important, how does that impact your thinking as to how this university is run?
A: Well, before that, not that I had necessarily you know, thought every day, ‘I wonder how our presidency is going,’ you know, I just assumed it was our president; she made the decisions and that’s what happened, so I really didn’t even know that the Board of Visitors honestly even had a presence in our administration, so I think that this whole thing is also really good, you know all the events surrounding the events is also really good, that people know that now… and that it’s like really apparent, so… so just that we know how our school is being run, the people that we do need to appeal to in order to get what we want as a community, you know? And yeah, I also just think it’s really important to remember that there’s always… there’s always someone else that’s, uhm… to answer to… there’s always… it’s not, we can’t always blame one person for one thing, and the same with Helen Dragas. I’m sure that she had people telling her, advising her on what to do. It’s not just her fault, you know, one person doesn’t have all the power, and yeah, it brought it to light, the fact, you know, who’s really in charge. That’s important for people to know in a public university… and I mean any university really, who’s in charge, who you’re gonna turn to, who’s making the decisions, so that if you do ever want to change something, or develop something, then yeah, it can be done and you know who to go to.
R: Okay, so now that we know the Board of Visitors exists I guess, as for the relationship between the Board and how much power they have, now that you know a little bit more about the situation, what do you think the role of the Board of Visitors should be?
A: I’m going to have to think about this one for a little bit… well obviously I think that they should be there to definitely communicate with our president; they both obviously have a huge role in making decisions for this university, and that’s so key in everything; in every part of life, you need to be able to be communicating with people if you want to make changes or to get anything done. So I think that they need to communicate better with each other, I think one of the improvements that you know, gain from this event, and as far as their role in the community, I mean they need to remember that they aren’t head of you know, not… they’re not head of just any school. It’s UVa, you know what I mean? (Laughs). But it’s true; it’s the state university, it’s a big school, we have a reputation, there’s a lot on the line, there’s… you have students coming in, you want to appeal to students in the future, so you… they need to keep in mind all of the factors that they will be affecting if they make decisions. Any decision; whether they think it’s positive, or negative, or anything… I don’t see why they would make a negative decision, but, you know, regardless, I think the communication definitely needs to be more open, and they need to… they need to remember their role in this community, which is… they have a lot of power in directing this school that means so much to a lot of people.
R: Right, so they, they need to communicate more, but also, they need to realize that they are a part of this community, not THE community.
R: Okay, so along those same lines, we talked a lot about the Jeffersonian ideals, and how this university was founded on Jefferson, and how his words and his quotes, no matter how cliché they are, they’re always seen at this university. What do you think the roles of those ideals of Jefferson are, both to the Board of visitors and the University as a whole? Are they even important at all, and are they pertinent?
A: I think that they are all honestly still really pertinent, and I think that life is much more complicated now, it was easy to say back then, everyone should have an education. But when it’s like thousands and thousands of dollars nowadays, it’s a different story. So yeah, I definitely…they’re much simpler than the times as of today, his ideals and everything… but… but they’re great, they make a lot of sense. You know, everyone should have an education, knowledge should be power, we should be an informed society and everyone should have the right to that, and so although they are… not necessarily outdated, but although they’re more difficult to achieve today, I think that we should still strive for that, because Ithink that’s a great focus to have in a public institution, especially one is… I mean, it’s huge for the state, for the country, like I said before, and… shit I lost my train of thought… but yeah, I just think they’re great ideals to follow, and to… to strive for. They’re not going to be 100% possible in today’s world, but what he said, I don’t think is ever going to lose, you know, its power, no matter what’s going to happen, because who can deny the fact that yeah, everyone should, you know, be educated? Everyone should… everyone deserves to have an education, and making decisions and everything should be based on the knowledge that you’ve gained in, you know, the process in making those decisions.
R: Now you, you mentioned the role of money, and the thousands of dollars, and I know we were talking earlier, we were talking about Spanish and how they dropped that minor, and you’re even a Spanish major, so how do you think… or what’s your opinion on the fact that this is a liberal arts college and state university, but they’re dropping those non-important subjects; like what… are… to me, I think that everything is important, because everything kind of counterbalances, and that’s what a liberal arts education is meant for; to show that everything is important and everything is intertwined. To you… for you, on a personal level, I guess, what does the fact that they are dropping these unimportant subjects mean?
A: Well I mean, first off, most, basically, for the students, it sucks, because you come here and you think, great, I’m gonna be able to study what I want to study, and then you can’t. And in the end, you can take your degree and do whatever you want with it; there are kids that can graduate from the comm school and not have a job, you know? Because you can not have the right work ethic for what you’re going for, you know, or you can just, it just sometimes doesn’t work out for you. If you get a degree in finger painting, you know, you can take that and do something with that if you have the drive, and you… here’s where you learn, you know, how to get that drive, and how to use that that drive in the real world, regardless of what your major is, but I do think that they should be, they should keep them there, because we come here to learn about what we’re interested in. It’s for us, you know, we are… yeah, the funding can you know, be tough to give out here and there, but we’re paying for it first off, so we should be able to study what we want to study. And second off, regardless of how pertinent the subject is in today’s world, the application of that subject is always going to be relevant. What you do with it, if you’re using it for good in this world, if you’re using it, and you go out and get a job, and you utilize it, then you’re doing what you love to do, and that’s what everyone strives for, is to get paid for doing what they love, and to, you know, never have to work a day in your life. So, the fact that they’re taking that away from people I really think is… yeah, it’s pretty messed up.
R: So uhm, on that same level, we talk in class about the role of the state government, and the fact that 8%, that the university is only funded by 8% of the state government, what does that mean? Can we even call UVa a state-run public university now? And along those same lines, what is the role of the government now? How much autonomy should they place over us in the first place?
A: So I think that, obviously if they give us more money, then they’re gonna want more of a say in what we do, so there’s always that issue, so I understand why we’re only accepting, you know, 8%. But at the same time, yeah, we are technically the state university of Virginia, so we should be getting more money than that. They’re… I’m sure that those, you know, political heads are proud to say, well maybe not since this is gonna happen, but… or for many reasons, proud to say, yeah, that’s our school… can… I mean, it’s like high up there in the ranks as far as public universities go, state universities, and so yeah , I know, I understand there’s probably a lot of technicalities of why we’re not accepting more, or why they’re not giving us more (37:03), but yeah, I think that in the coming years, as we get more informed as a society and as we get more informed as students, we’re gonna see why we get that much, or if we should be getting more, or if we should even be getting less or something, you know? So like I said, everyone has someone to answer to, and if they get more power in our school system, you know, maybe that’s not such a bad thing and it’s not such a good thing. We never really know. But I…like there’s… I undertand that there’s definitely more going on behind the scenes than we understand, but on paper, that totally looks really unfair that we’re the state university and we’re getting so little funding from our state.
R: Right, and on your perspective I’m sure, with respect to out of state tuition, I would feel as if… if the government… if the state government of Virginia invested more money in the university, then maybe your financial burden would be less in the first place, maybe.
A: I think, definitely. I think… yeah, because Virginia, this state school does not have those agreements with the neighboring states, which totally would make since, because I’m only two and a half hours away, you know? I’m closer than a lot of people that live in Virginia, so yeah, I think that that would, I mean I hope that is something they would consider changing if they did… if they were to give us more money, because that’s, yeah, just coming from an out of stater’s point of view, it’s SO much more expensive to do that. I wanted to take a j-term class, and I think it’s around $300 dollars to take one, or maybe for credit to take one for an in-stater, and it’s $1000 for an out of stater. So it’s really, really crazy… so that’s probably, I mean I hope one of the areas they would change if they ever do give more funding, so yeah.
R: Now, along those same lines, we talked a lot about the funding of state universities, and how because there’s less government interference, if you want to even call it that, there is more donor contributions, and with more donor contributions, we have more subject matter dedicated to essentially making money. Like, you make us money, you give us back some of the money you made so that our progam can run. Do you consider that contrary to the beliefs of a liberal arts college like UVa?
A: Yeah, I do. As you were asking that question, I was really just thinking about how… yeah, these are the reasons why we can’t follow Jefferson’s ideals anymore. It’s because we’re getting all these donations, and now we need to make those people happy… so there’s a lot of people that are involved in this process of getting this funding, and you know, maintaining it, because God forbid we make one of our donors upset one day and they stop giving us money, and that all plays a part, and I think that’s why it’s so difficult nowadays… you know, money runs everything. But it’s really difficult nowadays to make everyone happy, which translates into this being the best learning environment that it can be.
R: Exactly. So, I think we’re caught on the sphere of trying to make everyone happy who gives us money, versus we’re not making the students happy. So, do you see that as a student? Do you see that fact that okay, maybe donor is happy, maybe the state government is happy, but students aren’t. Can you see that in a real-life example?
A: Well, okay… this is uh… gonna be coming just only from my perspective, so obviously no one’s really gonna care about things like this… BUT on the dance team, they take the cheerleaders to the bowl games, and to any tournaments that our football or basketball team is in, but they don’t take the dance team. And we deal with that all the time, we’re always you know, really pissed off about it and stuff, uhm because that’s just something that other schools do get to experience, because that’s what they think is important, their athletics program. And I see that yeah, we’re getting a lot of money coming to our program from from all these different donors, and this is just athletics mind you, but I mean I’m sure this translates to school as well, but yeah, we’re getting all these funding from all these donors and stuff, and you know perhaps there’s… there are more donors that are more interested in the cheerleaders or the band, or you know, the baton twirlers or those other aspects of the spirit that they think that are to go to these things, but we’re sitting here and we’re working just as hard; we have more hours per week than the cheerleaders do… not saying anything bad about them; I love the cheerleaders, but it’s like we put in just as much work, and we’re not getting as many benefits. And basically that will definitely translate to so many students I’m sure, the majors thing being one of them, you know… they’re willing to go to these classes, they’re willing to write the papers, they’re willing to buy the textbooks, but they aren’t getting in return a diploma that says you graduated in ‘whatever.’ Even though that’s what they want.
R: Now, just a quick question: is the dance team considered a sport under title 9?
R: Okay, so I mean, if God forbid I was on the dance team, now I would feel mad because I would think that okay, it’s a sport, it’s legitimate, but we aren’t going to those games… going to those bowl games. Now, do you think that level of legitimacy and… but… there is a level of legitimacy , but there’s also a level of illegitimacy.
A: Yeah, I mean because you think about it, and it’s like, we are, you know, the dance team. We’re not the football team, and you think about it, and it’s… like some students are probably like yeah, I mean, a finger painting major (Laughs), like it can be whatever, it can translate to most anything, but yeah, we do… I mean, we can’t be that mad about it, because we first off signed up to do this, we signed up to come to this school in the first place, we signed up to do this, we auditioned for it, and us putting in the hours, I mean yeah it’s… I mean, we’re not allowed to miss stuff. We can’t miss things; if we miss like a practice, you have to sit out for a game, or something. There’s a lot of rules and regulations that we have to follow. We have to sign contracts at the beginning of the year. And we do get paid stipends by the athletics department, and so we do, like there are definitely rules that we have to adhere to just as much as the other sports teams here, but again, like in context, yeah, we are such a small part of this that we can’t be too upset, but we… I mean, we do really think that it’s unfair, a lot of the playing that goes on and decisions that are made.
R: Absolutely. So, along those same lines, you love this university, and do you love it even more so now because of what happened, and if so, why?
A: Yeah, I do. And like I said, it’s just because I’m really inspired that all of these students are like, you know, doing things that… in high school, and even now, just baffle me. The fact that they enough energy and enough, you know, power, and enough intellect I guess, and just knowledge of where to go to make these things happen. And that’s, it’s just inspiring that they’re so passionate about it, and that people care so much. And you know, regardless of what the media has been saying about our school, regardless of people disappointed in it, that are, you know, embarrassed for us and all that, like we go here, and as a community, we will go out and rally, and we’ll… those are things that I came here for in the first place, and it hasn’t been, this hasn’t been the best example of… or the most positive example I suppose, of students getting together to do that, but they came together in the end. We’ve come together as a community, and people, you know, we all have something in common more now than just our community. We were involved in this kind of, because we go here, so yeah, it has made me like it more, and just love it more and have more school spirit for it, just because it’s really, really inspiring to see all the young people that are coming out and supporting this, as well as, you know, other older community members, but just college students coming out and being a part of this.
R: Now, kind of like a last point, uhm… you are, as a member of the dance team, are you more proud to wear that ‘V’ on your chest than you were, or do you think that it has been tainted? Because like you said in the beginning, like with your dad’s restaurant, like people felt sorry for you. Do you, do you still feel that way, or do you feel more proud to be a part of this community?
A: Well, I’m embarrassed by our football… uhm (laughs)
R: I mean, I think everyone is.
A: For me, I’m wearing that ‘V’ sabre proudly to say yeah, I go here, and this is kind of my way of rallying and protesting and saying…
R: Wow, okay
A: So yeah, that’s… it makes me more proud to be a part of… it’s not making me more proud, but this is how I’m showing my involvement, and how I’m more proud to wear it now, because I have something to stand for, kind of. Yeah, so this is my way of kind of doing that.