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Current Issues in Student Life and Available Resources

November 12, 2016
To: 
Parents of All University Students
From: 
Susan M. Davis, Acting Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer

Dear Parents:

We have arrived at the end of a tumultuous week for our country. The tensions witnessed nationally also are in evidence here at the University. Students are experiencing a range of emotions, with shock, anger, sadness, and uncertainty seeming to predominate. Whether supporting the winning side or the losing side, many students are navigating an intense environment right now. We acknowledge this current environment and ensure you that we are here to support all of our students.

Adding to the tensions of this week is deep concern stemming from an increase in bias-related incidents that have taken place over the course of the semester. These incidents, some of which have occurred in the residence halls, have affected students both directly and indirectly. We have forcefully condemned these hate-filled acts and have encouraged students to report them through the Just Report It system so that each incident can be investigated and appropriate action taken in response. In addition to individual investigations, we are undertaking three major initiatives in response to these acts. For more detail, please read the email sent to students by University Dean of Students Allen Groves on Nov. 2.

The election results and bias-related incidents carry their own form of stress, but we also are entering a point in the semester when the completion of academic work poses an already expected high level of stress. The professionals in Student Affairs, joined by other faculty and staff throughout the University, recognize that this unusual set of current challenges likely has an impact on students’ academic work. In a message sent earlier this week, Provost Tom Katsouleas shared his thoughts on the special role that faculty can play in supporting students, especially by incorporating a review of national events into their classroom discussions. Open, honest dialogue is something we are encouraging in all areas of student life, in settings large and small.

The numerous resources available to students are listed below. Please encourage your student to cultivate self-care right now while at the same time dedicating themselves to their studies. If they do need additional help or support, they should not hesitate to call on any of the resources listed below. In addition, you can find recent communications with students on the Vice President for Student Affairs’ website. Recent post-election messages from President Teresa Sullivan to students, faculty, and staff are available on the Office of the President's website.

The University of Virginia is a community where everyone does not have to agree. We do, however, hold dear certain central values – open inquiry, reason, honor, integrity, and mutual respect. We do not tolerate violence in any form, and we condemn hatred directed toward individuals or groups. If your student needs assistance, please encourage her or him to use any of the resources available to them.

Sincerely,

Susan M. Davis
Acting Vice President
   and Chief Student Affairs Officer

Resources for Students