UVA Student Council calls on Youngkin appointee, Bert Ellis, to resign
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The University of Virginia Student Council is calling for the resignation of Bert Ellis, who was recently appointed to the university's Board of Visitors.
Members of the council say the fact that he showed up to cut down the door sign a Lawn resident had put up should disqualify him from being on the board.
The student council says Ellis behaves in an "extreme and inappropriate manner" and that Governor Glenn Youngkin is “willfully rewarding behavior that endangers students."
"Our ultimate hope is that Bert Ellis will resign from the board,” said Ceci Cain, the President of the UVA Student Council.
Youngkin announced the appointment of Ellis to the UVA Board of Visitors on June 30.
Years ago, Ellis was caught in controversy when he showed up on Grounds with a razor blade to cut down a poster a Lawn student made containing profanity.
"She was utilizing her own speech on the Lawn to make a point there. And Bert Ellis reacted in his own way and in a way that a lot of alumni were outraged. And UVA reacted by putting panels up on lawn doors so that the way she utilized her speech would be against the rules in the future,” said Cain.
The student councilors say this type of behavior was not an isolated incident.
"This incident, in addition to other instances that we heard of from student leaders who had interacted with Bert, have demonstrated a pretty clear history of behaving fairly inappropriately when it comes to conflict and disagreements with students and we have very little faith that this is going to change,” said Jayden Evans, the Vice President for Administration on the UVA Student Council.
The Jefferson Council, a group of UVA alumni, of which Ellis serves as president, wrote a statement condemning the student council for aligning Ellis with racist oppressors, Nazis and KKK members. It says it's simply not true and defends Ellis by saying "No, Ellis hasn't marched in neo-Nazi rallies. He hasn't burned any crosses. He hasn't even used the N-word."
The council goes on to say "the statement is so cartoonish in its view of Ellis that it indicts itself."
The student councilors are also calling on Youngkin to be more mindful of future nominations.
"Any one of his staffers could have googled Bert Ellis and seen this incident. So I think this is an irresponsible and neglectful way to use his appointments," explained Cain.
Ellis has not responded to a request for comment.