Dear Members of the University Community:
Two weeks ago, I charged a University Working Group with the responsibility of reviewing the events that transpired on August 11 to understand how we could have responded differently. Today, I am writing to let you know that the Working Group has finished a report and presented me with its findings.
Led by Dean Risa Goluboff, the Working Group has identified a number of areas where the University can further strengthen its processes and policies to prevent a similar event from happening in the future. Please read Dean Goluboff’s message below for additional information and a link to the report.
We will be reviewing this report closely in the coming days, and will share additional updates as they become available. I am grateful for Dean Goluboff and each of the other members who have been involved in developing this report.
There is more important work to be done, and I encourage members of the University community to continue to visit the Working Group’s dedicated website — response.virginia.edu — to find the latest information and to share your ideas.
As the Working Group indicates, the University continues to move forward with its review of current University policies and other enhancements. This includes the work of Margolis Healy & Associates, the safety and security firm hired by the University to conduct a comprehensive review of our safety and security infrastructure, policies, and tools. We expect the firm to conclude its review early this fall.
I want to be very clear: What happened on Aug. 11 on our Grounds, while unprecedented, was unacceptable. But we will not let it define us. It takes time to heal as a community and we must do so together. This Working Group report is an important step. Going forward, we must recommit ourselves to our core values and further enhance our inclusive, diverse learning and living environment.
Teresa A. Sullivan
Dear Colleagues, Students, Friends,
I am writing to share with you information, observations, and recommendations related to the August 11 white supremacist march on Grounds. Now posted on the Deans Working Group website is a timeline of events of that afternoon and evening prepared by the University Police Department in conjunction with the Office of University Counsel. We have also included suggestions for how the University could have improved its response.
We are devastated that white supremacists violated our Grounds and put members of our community in harm’s way. Our goal is to prevent that from occurring again. Threats and intimidation have no place on our Grounds, and as the Rector, President, and larger University community have made clear, the University will not tolerate them. Reckoning with the events of the weekend of August 11 requires a long-term commitment to creating a safer, more equitable, tolerant, and inclusive university community. It also requires us to model for the larger society those values that make the University unique. Among those values are reflection and learning.
As the Deans Working Group turns to the next phases of our work — examining the University’s culture, climate, and landscape, and investing in research and teaching around the issues August 11 has made only more urgent — we will continue to solicit ideas and suggestions from all members of the University community. I welcome and urge your continued input.
Dean, School of Law