Dear Members of the University Community:
As we continue to reflect on the events of August 11 and 12, my sincere hope is that the vibrant energy that comes with the beginning of a new academic year will help the healing process for our community. The University has welcomed more than 4,000 new students and many new faculty and staff to the Grounds and to Charlottesville. This year’s entering class is among the most diverse and brightest yet, bringing new perspectives and talents to the Grounds. The newest members of the UVA family include first-year students from 47 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, and from 73 foreign countries. I enjoyed meeting our new students and their families at our residence halls and at various welcome events over the weekend.
Many of you have expressed safety concerns in light of the hateful events of August 11 and 12. I have heard your concerns. I want to assure every member of the University community that your safety and well-being remain our top priority. We have already taken several immediate actions to enhance the safety of our learning and living environment. These steps include:
- Hiring additional personnel within the Ambassadors Program and expanding their presence by adding new patrols on Grounds;
- Hiring an outside security firm to review the University’s security and safety infrastructure; and
- An immediate review of existing laws and University policies regarding open flames and the public’s ability to access certain historic and open spaces such as the Lawn and Academical Village.
These initiatives will complement the efforts of the working group led by Dean Risa Goluboff, announced last Friday. We are determined to make whatever changes are necessary to protect our people and our Grounds.
We are reaching out to our students and employees who were injured by white supremacists and others who came to our community intent upon dividing us. University Police are actively investigating several incidents that occurred on the evening of August 11, and the University is aggressively asking for the prosecution of any and all violations of the law.
Thank you for your ongoing support of our University and our values. I ask that we continue to work together as we seek to build and foster a safe, caring, and inclusive community.
Teresa A. Sullivan