“It is safer to have a whole people respectably enlightened than a few in a high state of science and the many in ignorance.”
That quotation comes from Thomas Jefferson, and he believed it so deeply that he devoted much of his public life to creating the University of Virginia. It became one of the country’s greatest public universities. On Friday, U.Va, as it’s known, named a new president, James Ryan, the highly regarded dean of Harvard’s education school.
Ryan’s appointment is a good time to point out that, in a fundamental way, the University of Virginia is failing to live up to Jefferson’s ideals. It has for years been one of the least economically diverse colleges in the country — of any kind, public or private.