Hurd, leader: Outgoing student BOV'er heads overseas

Hillary Hurd had been the student BOV representative for just a few weeks when the events that became known as UVA June thrust the school, its president and the Board of Visitors into the glare of the international spotlight.

"It was a baptism by fire, for sure," Hurd recalls of the experience.

Living and working in DC last summer, she learned of President Teresa Sullivan's resignation just hours before the news broke publicly, and watched, stunned, as the story made the front page of the Washington Post and the New York Times within days.

A double major in Russian and political science, Hurd had applied to the BOV not really believing she'd be selected, she says, and her "principal motive for applying was to understand more about how the university worked." She was about to get a crash course. As a Jefferson and Echols Scholar, she was accustomed to academic rigor, but the crisis unfolding put her in a situation she'd never experienced.

"I was trying as hard as I could to put as many pieces together as I could," says Richmond-native Hurd.

As reported in the Hook, emails from UVA rector Helen Dragas released through Freedom of Information Act requests showed that early in the crisis, she'd asked Hurd to recruit students who could post positive messages about the BOV on social networking sites. Hurd has denied ever engaging in such an activity, and her successor, Blake Blaze, says her performance during the crisis was inspiring.

"She handled last summer with incredible dexterity," he says.

As her year on the Board of Visitors winds down, Hurd prepares for the next chapter in her life as a Marshall Scholar who'll earn a master's degree in international relations at Cambridge University next year, then move on to earn a second master's at King's College in London the following year in, appropriately, peace and conflict studies. She says she wouldn't trade her year on the BOV– roller-coaster ride though it may have been.

"There are so many issues the board has to deal with," says Hurd. "As the student member, the best thing you can do is focus on those that affect you and other students directly."

So what does the more distant future hold for Hurd?

"I think I'm stuck between two paths," she says. "There's part of me that's always wanted to work for the State Department ever since I saw Nicole Kidman in Translator when I was 14. But I love being a student, and I could also see myself in academia."

One thing's for sure if she picks the latter: She'll know what she's getting into.


Let's be clear here.

Hillary Hurd's father is a strong conservative who donates exclusively to conservative politicians, including a recent gift of $1500 to Mark Obenshain's campaign to be Attorney General. Mark Obenshain. As in ultra-conservative.

And Hillary Hurd – as a UVa students – was a member of the Ronald Reagan centennial National Youth Leadership Committee. So, she's one of those young conservatives who subscribe to the Reagan myth. Yet Reagan piled up deficits and debt, cut taxes for corporations and the rich while increasing them on working-class citizens, engaged in subversion of the Constitution and U.S. law by selling missiles to terrorists, and obstructed justice by trying to cover it up.

When Teresa Sullivan was initially ousted by UVA REctor Helen Dragas and her cabal, Hurd "told The Cavalier Daily yesterday she had full confidence in the Board’s decision." And, she told the Cavalier Daily that "she did have advance knowledge of Sullivan’s resignation." But apparently Hurd did not reach out to and seek input from her constituency, UVa students. These were the people whose interests she was supposed to represent.

Even worse, Hurd's remarks following Sullivan's ouster – and before the blow-back started – were hardly "inspiring."

She told the Cavalier Daily that “This is a decision which I think will prove in time to have been a wise one, and that it’s hard now, on the Monday after the decision was officially released, to fully appreciate kind of what the Board was considering. Students would be best to remember that these Board members are people who know and love U.Va.”

Say what? The Board members who conspired and concealed their underhanded scheme actually engaged in this chicanery because they loved UVa? Yeah. Right.

Then, Hurd applied even more lipstick to the pig. She said this:

“That has made this decision all the more necessary with regards and respect to the president. It’s not so much the Board having this covert plan that they developed in the dark, it’s just them saying, we see a lack of a strategy. We see a lack of a plan from our president about how we’re going to keep pace with other higher-education schools.”

And then she went on repeat the Bob McDonnell-type nonsense about on-line courses being "innovative" and necessary to keep pace with the "competition."

Only AFTER the uproar from faculty, students and the community did Hurd try to alter her stance, dress up her image, and back off her support for the putsch of Teresa Sullivan.

Some may call that "dexterity."

Others might call it what it really is: looking out for number one.

There has been a notable shift in the content and tone of the hook's stories since the previous editor's leaving, and nothing could demonstrate that shift better than this article. It is very hard to believe that such an example of outright propaganda would find it's way into the hook's pages when Hawes Spencer was in charge of the paper. Indeed, this article was written by his successor.

It begs the question, who is being served by this misleading piece? Does the hook believe that inroads must be made into the UVa student population and that printing a puff piece about this woman will help accomplish that? Such a minor reason for publishing a piece that is so far from the Truth.

What is clear is that the hook has changed, and not for the better.

It doesn't "beg the question", it "raises" the question. Just sayin'

Another Advertorial by the new editor!

Ms. Hurd, if you go to Cambridge to be trained in international relations and King's College to be trained in peace and conflict and then you come back to work for my country's Federal Government, expect to learn more about conflict than you ever did in school. My ancestors didn't fight and kill and die for their freedom to let British trained Americans run our government. Your resume might impress a bunch of hoity toity angels but I have no intentions of letting British ideals and values be reincorporated into American government without a fight. Just know what you're getting into if you go the Nicole Kidman route.

I read this story--if you can call it that, because The Hook has fallen so low on any kind of journalism scale--and thought of this song: