Speeches and Writings
Good afternoon. I’m pleased to see so many members of our University community here today. I want to recognize the University’s Rector, George Martin, and Board of Visitors member, Dr. Steve Long. Thank you all for coming.
Tomorrow we close what can be described only as a heartbreaking semester. As you head home to surround yourselves with family and friends, I wanted to take a moment to tell you how much you have been in my thoughts.
Today is the first day of final exams, and in a few weeks we will end a tumultuous fall semester. Three members of the Class of 2017 have died this semester, and the sense of grief and loss is palpable. In addition, many members of our community are grieving over the deaths of young black men in Staten Island and Ferguson.
The University of Virginia is aware of today’s reports from the Washington Post and the statement from Rolling Stone magazine.
The University remains first and foremost concerned with the care and support of our students and, especially, any survivor of sexual assault. Our students, their safety, and their wellbeing, remain our top priority.
The publication of the Rolling Stone article, and the passionate reaction of our students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, and community members, have caused many sleepless nights for those of us who care about UVA. The passionate reaction tells me this: the behavior depicted is not something we will accept as normal, and the actions by seven men as described in the story have betrayed us. We have a problem, and we are going to get after it.
Good afternoon. Thank you for assembling on such short notice.
This afternoon I want to address you from the heart.
The story in Rolling Stone is shocking. My initial reaction was numbness. That numbness quickly turned to anger. I want to make it perfectly clear to you, and to the watching world: Nothing is more important to me than the safety of our students. Not our reputation, not our success, and not our history or traditions.
Dear members of the University Community,
Over the past week many of you have reached out to me directly to offer your opinions, reactions, and suggestions related to combatting sexual violence on Grounds. I want you to know that I have heard you, and that your words have enkindled this message.
At UVa we speak in idealistic terms: honor and tradition inform our thinking, and balance our daily actions. And it is easy here, where success is demanded as much as it is sought, to let our idealism outweigh our reality.
Message to parents from President Teresa A. Sullivan and Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer Patricia M. Lampkin
To the University community:
I am writing in response to a Rolling Stone magazine article that negatively depicts the University of Virginia and its handling of sexual misconduct cases. Because of federal and state privacy laws, and out of respect for sexual assault survivors, we are very limited in what we can say about any of the cases mentioned in this article.
As we continue to search for Hannah Graham and to hold out hope for her safe return, I write to thank the many members of our University, Charlottesville and surrounding communities who have stepped forward to provide both emotional support and physical assistance.
Dear Faculty, Staff and Students:
The health of our community is important to all of us. Flu season has arrived, and we are aware of the occurrence of the Ebola Virus Disease in some areas of Africa and elsewhere, including in the United States.
The University continues to monitor closely the outbreaks of Ebola in West Africa and its transmission to other locations.
While the likelihood of a member of our community contracting the Ebola virus remains very remote, we want to make you aware of the proactive steps the University has taken in response to the situation.
Dear University Community Members:
This morning the University announced that Executive Vice President and Provost John Simon has been selected to serve as the next president of Lehigh University. The announcement about John's appointment follows this message.
John will remain at U.Va .through the end of the academic year, and will assume his post at Lehigh on July 1.
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court made a landmark decision not to review the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals' decision legalizing gay marriage in Virginia. This effectively allows same-sex marriages to be legally recognized in the Commonwealth.
To the University Community:
For more than a week, we have hoped and prayed for Hannah Graham and her family. Her safe return remains our highest priority, and I continue to urge you to share with police any information that might be related to the case by calling the dedicated tip line at 434-295-3851.