Arrest of Person for Underage Drinking in Charlottesville

Submitted on Mar 20, 2015 by James Sherlock (Col ’66)

I think that the University President has made a serious mistake by aggressively linking directly to the University the March 18, 2015, incident in which Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control agents arrested third-year student Martese Johnson. I do not know all of the details of what happened, but I respectfully suggest that neither does Theresa Sullivan. The incident did not happen on University property and no one linked to the University had any role in it other than the arrested student. Please explain to the alumni why we need to read “University of Virginia” in the headline of a story about an arrest in Charlottesville with a bloodied black man in the attached photo. People don’t read beyond the headlines. A question for Ms. Sullivan – is there a specific number of statute miles from the grounds that she uses as a guide to how far her writ runs? I strongly recommend that the University stop seeming to take responsibility for things it absolutely cannot control.

Comments (9):

  1. Carol Allen on said:

    Yet another example of the out of control drinking at UVA. Rape, beat them up. What next for the drinking …murder ? Going to college ..yes even at UBA needs to be about something other than drinking and partying. Voted best party school for ‘drinking’. Clean it up.

  2. Joe LaBella on said:

    Mr. James Sherlock is certainly entitled to his Jim Crowe opinion. My 21st century opinion is that our female UVA president is entitled to stand up for UVA students, whether they are on grounds, around the corner, or anywhere on planet earth. And any UVA student, with white, black or green skin, is entitled to not have his face tore open for the God awful crime of being drunk in public.

    • David A Gambiill on said:

      Mr. LaBella
      People might take you a little more seriously if you knew that the “Jim Crowe”(sic) that you invoked is actually spelled C-R-O-W.

  3. Leslie W. Dalton Jr ED 61 on said:

    The student was offended by the police officer’s actions and I was offended by the student’s language. His shouting obscenities became the focal point of the sound bites sent the world over. Mr. Jefferson taught us better than that!

  4. Donna Ridley (Ed 66, 68) on said:

    I quite agree with the comments above from my classmate, Jim Sherlock (Thank you, Jim). I think we’ve all seen the damage wrought by too many people in too much of a hurry to take sides or to ‘investigate this or that ‘ within minutes or hours of an event, before facts are really even known. Duke Lacrosse players and recent date rape scandal at UVA are two examples–these scandals harmed many people, and not necessarily those originally thought to be the victims. Why can’t Teresa Sullivan allow the local law enforcement to do their job, and see the outcome, first? Her role as President ought to be to preside over the University and intervene only when and if the
    local law enforcement is failing or hiding something. Time to ponder and stay calm, would better serve the cause of justice and the reputation of the University.

  5. Meg Glass on said:

    I agree with the statement that the school really should not be linked to this incident. It did not happen on Grounds. What ABC does should be something that the State looks into for sure. Also I really do think that The University needs to attend to the drinking and drug issue. I know that for a long time the Honor Committee overlooked lying about age to buy alcohol. It was well known and published in all kinds of books when I was applying. Seriously. More students have died in incidents that impaired judgment due to alcohol or drug impairment. And this is someone on the Honor Committee! This “overlooking” of a violation of the law that actually impedes ability to exercise prudence is the big dark secret of not just U.Va. but many other colleges. U.Va. just happens to be ranked at the top of many “party” school lists. I think it is time for change. I wonder about Yeardley Love…how sad that incident was and alcohol did not help that situation at all. I work with teens; some have been sent home from other Universities as deemed a problem. I have had student sent home from Colgate and told they could not come back until completely one year of sobriety. Perhaps it is time for Virginia to acknowledge there is a problem. I know the drinking is a so called rite of passage. I am a firm believer in 18 for beer and wine as it was in Virginia for so long but with the caveat that under 21 can’t drive while in school, or if driving then no alcohol. I do believe there is a solution to this challenge. I am proud the U.Va.stepped up about sexual harassment before that “so-called” rape scandal. I am 100% against Senate proposed Federal Law for colleges. This is not another legislative expense the taxpayers must bear. This is something that ALL colleges should have attended to in 1984 when it actually happened at U.Va. So now Virginia needs to take the lead on alcohol and drug abuse. If the students are not doing something they can be arrested for, then the State of Virginia has no business harassing the students.

  6. Allan Antley on said:

    I do not care about your race. I will tell you that if you fail to obey a Law Enforcement Officer’s direction, you are asking for a problem. Comply and fight later in court.

    LEO’s are trained for their personal safety and those of the public. The first reaction to a non-compliant person is to put them into a position where the LEO or other citizens are not at risk. This is almost universally face down on the ground, concrete or no.

    It is unfortunate the young man was injured, but he was 100% out of line and did not act in a reasonable manner. What say they had said, “Oh, he is only a wild and crazy college guy and not a threat, only to have him pop out with a weapon because he is distraught over his girlfriend and decide to harm the LEOs, himself, or others. I am sorry but I do not see race as the issue as I have seen exactly the same here in Ga with drunk college white boys.

    Folks, this is life. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

  7. Steve Johnson on said:

    The UVA student was obviously in the wrong. Teresa Sullivan should take a hike.

  8. Tom Wilson (Col 81) on said:

    Let’s get all the facts please. The messages from President Sullivan and Messrs Martin and Apprey seem to turn the focus away from the student having any responsibility for what happened. And no direct mention in their statements that alcohol was most likely involved (gee imagine that on St. Patrick’s day).