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A Message From President Teresa A. Sullivan

To the UVA Community:

I realize that this has been an emotional week for our University community, with anger, fear, and other emotions brought forth at least in part by the outcome of the election. Some members of our community have been the targets of inappropriate and even hostile insults. These acts of aggression have been directed at our faculty, staff, and students. Similar incidents have been occurring on college campuses and in other settings across the nation, and this sort of behavior is alarming wherever it occurs.

Some of the incidents at UVA have been verbal attacks related to the political beliefs, gender, or sexual orientation of a person or group of persons. These incidents may fall short of breaking the law, but they are troubling in a community in which we expect that every member will be treated with civility and respect. I hope that all of you join me in denouncing this behavior, and I encourage our faculty members to reinforce in your classrooms that this behavior is repugnant and that we condemn it.  Our shared values of inclusion, respect, and civility demand that we do so.

In addition to these verbal insults, we have received reports of incidents in which persons have threatened physical violence against individuals. We take these threats extremely seriously, and we are working closely with UVA Police Chief Mike Gibson to assess them and to respond appropriately. I encourage every member of our community to use the Just Report It system to report such incidents if you witness them. In this community of trust, we rely on our students to be active bystanders and to stand up for your classmates, regardless of their backgrounds or beliefs. As faculty and staff, we will stand with you.

As we approach the end of a difficult week, I encourage members of our University community to rely on each other as sources of support and encouragement. Our shared values and our commitment to decency and civility give us strength and resilience when we need it most.

Terry Sullivan