CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A newer member of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors is once again under fire, this time because of text messages sent to other new members.

Governor Glenn Youngkin appointed Bert Ellis to the BOV last year and that appointment was confirmed by the 2023 General Assembly.

According to the Washington Post, pages of text messages Ellis sent were released under a Freedom of Information Act request filed by a Richmond-based author.

These texts appear to show Ellis attacking UVA’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

UVA has responded with this statement:

These text messages demonstrate a disappointing disregard for the hard work of UVA faculty and staff, as well as the University’s core values of civil discourse and honor. It is important to note that the messages were sent before these members attended their first Board meeting, and that they have since had many opportunities to witness firsthand the many ways this institution, and its employees, contribute to the Commonwealth of Virginia, our nation, and our world. 

President Ryan and the University’s leadership team take seriously their responsibility to work collegially with the Board of Visitors to serve our students, our community, and the people of Virginia. University leaders are grateful to the many dedicated employees who work hard to advance the University’s mission through world-class instruction, research, and patient care, and they are grateful as well to the many Board members who recognize and appreciate this hard work.

BOV members are appointed to serve four-year terms, with Ellis being joined by Stephen P. Long, Amanda Pillion, and Douglas D. Wetmore.

Ellis is an alumnus of UVA and has been at the center of other controversies on Grounds, including bringing a razor blade to the Lawn in order to cut down a sign posted by a student on the door of one of the rooms on the Lawn.

The UVA Student Council and some members of the General Assembly representing the Charlottesville area opposed Ellis’ appointment.