Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short

Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short
© Greg Nash

An online petition launched on Thursday urges the University of Virginia to halt its plans to hire former White House legislative affairs director Marc Short.

The petition was posted on Change.org as the one-year anniversary approaches of the violent white nationalist rally that left one counterprotester dead in Charlottesville, Va., where the university is located.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump threatens ex-intel official's clearance, citing comments on CNN Protesters topple Confederate monument on UNC campus Man wanted for threatening to shoot Trump spotted in Maryland MORE drew fierce criticism in the wake of the "United the Right" rally after he blamed "both sides" – white nationalists and counterprotesters – for the violence and failed to denounce the demonstration's racist motives.

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The petition opposing Short's hiring at the University of Virginia states that "[i]t should be eminently clear, as the one-year anniversary of August 12 approaches, why his hiring is unacceptable."

"The university should not serve as a waystation for high-level members of an administration that has directly harmed our community and to this day attacks the institutions vital to a free society – the very thing that the University of Virginia, as an institute of higher education, is meant to protect," the petition reads.

Short announced last week that he would leave the White House. He is joining the Guidepost Strategies consulting firm and will serve as a senior fellow at the Miller Center, a nonpartisan affiliate of the University of Virginia that focuses on public policy and presidential history.

In a statement to Politico on Thursday, Howard Witt, the Miller Center's communications director and managing editor, defended the decision to hire Short, saying that the center is dedicated to offering perspectives from both sides of the partisan spectrum.

"We understand and respect those UVA faculty members and other critics — even some from within the Miller Center — who disagree with the decision to name Marc Short a senior fellow," Witt told the news outlet.

"One of our core values is fostering robust, but civil, debate across our nation's bitter partisan divide," he added.

--Updated July 22, 2018 at 8:42 a.m.