To the University community,
As we approach the anniversary of the neo-Nazi and white supremacist marches last August, I want to share an update on what we know and what you can expect.
First, our top priority is to keep people safe. I was briefed throughout the transition on steps being taken to protect our community, and I have continued to get updates over the past week.
As part of our preparations, UVA is working with the city of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and state and national law enforcement to make sure we have every resource at our disposal in case of an emergency. Our goal is to maintain a reasonable police presence, but to take all precautions to ensure safety, there will be more law enforcement officers than usual on Grounds and some will be given assignments that require them to wear personal protective equipment. Access to some roads, public spaces, and buildings may also be limited, although we will do everything we can to keep UVA operating as normally as possible.
Beyond safety and security, this weekend will also be an opportunity to remember and honor those who were killed and injured a year ago, reflect on what happened, and begin to chart a path forward.
As part of this, UVA will be hosting an event at 9am on Saturday, August 11th called “The Hope that Summons Us: A Morning of Reflection and Renewal.” Our goal is to bring members of the University and Charlottesville communities together, and if you are not already planning to attend, I encourage you to watch it live on UVA’s Facebook page.
Although there is a good deal of uncertainty with respect to this weekend, there is little doubt that it will be difficult and challenging along a number of dimensions. While UVA and Charlottesville are as prepared as we can be, it will remain a fluid and dynamic situation. What I can promise you is that we are doing everything we can to make sure this weekend is marked not with violence, but with reflection, renewal, and hope. And I ask you, sincerely, for your help in achieving this goal. As a very new president, I hope this will be an opportunity for all of us to come together to mark the past and, just as importantly, to start thinking about the path forward.
In the coming days you will be getting more specific updates about what to expect, and I will keep sharing any important information not already shared by others.
Thanks to the many individuals involved in planning and preparation for this weekend and to all of you for your commitment to the welfare of our community.