Important Update: Is UVa Addressing White Supremacy?

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Two weeks ago, UVa President Teresa Sullivan convened a Working Group composed of deans and other members of the university community to address the violence that transpired on August 11th-12th between white supremacists associated with the Unite the Right rally and counter-protestors. An email from the Group indicated brand new findings today.

The Working Group, chaired by Dean Risa Goluboff of the Law School, issued a five-page report concluding that the university lacked preparedness for the August 11th march on grounds in three major areas:

  1. INCOMPLETE INTELLIGENCE: “The intelligence sought, received, and acted upon by the University administration;”
  2. INSUFFICIENT POLICY PROTECTIONS: “The policies the University had in place to govern protests and demonstrations; and”
  3. INADEQUATE APPLICATION OF EXISTING PROTOCOLS AND ENFORCEMENT OF RELEVANT LAW: “Application of existing protocols for responding to a demonstration that did not conform to past pattern, i.e., a protest by large numbers of people carrying torches and acting in an intimidating and violent manner towards members of the University and Charlottesville community on Grounds.”

Because of these faults, the Working Group has developed specific recommendations to prevent a similar event of such magnitude from occurring as it did on August 11th. These suggestions include major policy changes such as:

  1. “Classify[ing] the Academical Village as a facility and explor[ing] similar classification for other spaces across Grounds.”
  2. “Strengthen[ing] the University’s ‘Open Burn and Open Flame’ policy and intensify[ing] its enforcement.”
  3. “Consider[ing] whether the University should adopt time, place, and manner regulations to govern First Amendment activities on University common spaces consistent with the University’s commitment to a pluralistic, open community.”

Other general actions are likewise being considered.

As Teresa Sullivan reminded the UVa community, the university has far more to work to do in regards to thoroughly dealing with the events that have plagued Charlottesville and made national headlines.

She reminded students and faculty that: “what happened on Aug. 11 on our Grounds, while unprecedented, was unacceptable. But we will not let it define us…this Working Group report is an important step.”

Margolis Healy & Associates, the firm hired by UVa, is expected to complete and release a review of university safety and security procedures early this fall.

For the comprehensive Working Group report issued by Dean Goluboff, click here. A detailed timeline of the August 11th events is also available.


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