Changes on UVA Grounds Following Yeardley Love's Death

Posted: Updated:

In the wake of Yeardley Love's murder, the "powers that be" at the University of Virginia faced probing questions about George Huguely's criminal past.  They all said they knew nothing of his run-ins with the law, and that has prompted a slew of changes on grounds.

University administrators looked at the system that is supposed to divulge the criminal histories of students, and they made changes.  University police looked at programs they had for students who may feel they're in a dangerous situation, and they made changes too.

UVA is filled with bright, promising young people just starting out in life.  Up until the tragic discovery of Love's body, and the shocking news her ex-boyfriend stood accused, fourth year student Valerie Shuping says a lot of students had a naive outlook.

Shuping said, "Everyone talks about the UVA bubble and how nothing bad can ever happen here."

The crime sent alarms all the way to the top.  UVA President Teresa Sullivan set a "Day of Dialogue" for students to open up about dating violence.  Dean of Students Allen Grove says Huguely's criminal past sparked a change to the school's online self-reporting system.

Groves stated, "That Mr. Huguely had had an arrest and a police officer had allegedly had to taser him in Lexington, that's what caused us to take a look at that reporting system."

Groves admits no system is perfect, but believes one tweak is generating valuable information.  He said, "This year, we changed the question to say that you haven't already reported using this system, so we're not getting the same thing every year.  But we do not do background checks."

UVA police officer Angela Tabler has a new title these days.  She is now a victim witness coordinator for students who may be in a violent situation.

"We accompany them to court.  We assist them with protective orders and just basically outline their resources and let them make the decision from there which way they want to go with it," Tabler said. 

Shuping says that's key because students simply don't like to be labeled a snitch.  She said, "It could be hard for someone to report a friend or themselves or say that something was happening because everyone around them.  They don't want to ruin the reputation of themselves or someone else."

It's that silence the university hopes these changes will break through.

Another change is that both Albemarle County and Charlottesville police now notify the university of any arrests that involve students, and Groves says he reviews those on a daily basis.