Dear Students, Colleagues, Friends,
I am writing with an update from the Deans Working Group on the progress we have made since I last wrote.
As an important first step, we have created a website (https://response.virginia.edu) that will serve as a central information hub for our efforts. Currently, the site includes the mission of the Deans Working Group, a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the events of August 11 and 12, an update on the actions we have taken to date, and a Share Your Ideas form that welcomes your input. The contents of the website will evolve with our group’s efforts.
Looking forward, the website will include our plans – and those across the University – for investments, improvements, and programs that will comprise our ongoing response. We know you have thoughts and ideas about what those plans should include. We have heard from many of you, both directly and indirectly, and are already formulating proposed actions.
Our progress to date:
- The University has expanded police coverage across Grounds.
- The University has extended the Ambassadors program to provide on-Grounds coverage, including of the Lawn and residential areas.
- The University Police Department (UPD) is coordinating with schools and units in order to provide additional security support for upcoming events.
- The University has hired Margolis Healy & Associates, a highly-respected higher education safety and security consulting firm, to conduct a comprehensive review of our safety and security infrastructure, policies, and tools.
- UPD is continuing to collaborate with its counterparts in other agencies (e.g., Charlottesville Police Department and Albemarle County Police Department) to monitor activities and respond to emergencies.
- University Counsel is reviewing state laws and University policies governing weapons on Grounds.
- The University is continuing to reach out to our students and employees who were injured.
- UPD is actively investigating several incidents that occurred on the evening of August 11, and the University is calling for the prosecution of any and all violations of the law.
- The University is reviewing the application of its safety alert protocols in light of the August 11-12 events and will educate the community about such protocols and their application.
- Going forward, UPD will be informed whenever the Office of Environmental Health and Safety approves uses of open flame devices on Grounds. This will allow UPD to take appropriate action against use that does not have such approval.
- UPD is committed to full enforcement of section 18.2-423.01 of the Virginia Code, which states “any person who, with the intent of intimidating any person or group of persons, burns an object on a highway or other public place in a manner having a direct tendency to place another person in reasonable fear or apprehension of death or bodily injury is guilty of a Class 6 felony.”
- Ongoing programming is being developed by the various schools, the Deans Working Group, the Division of Student Affairs, the Provost’s office, and faculty, staff and student groups and individuals. Information about that programming will be updated frequently and will be available on the website.
As you can see, we are moving forward. As we continue to respond to immediate concerns, we are also turning our attention to longer term institutional plans. We look forward to hearing your ideas through our newly created web portal and to engaging you through other avenues. We promise to keep you apprised as we make further progress.
Dean, School of Law
P.S. For those of you who tried to email me after President Sullivan announced the working group last week and had your email bounce back, I want you to know there was a server malfunction. Please write again. For those of you who have written and have not heard back from me, please know that I am reading every email I receive even if I am unable to respond to each of you individually.