Sullivan Holds Closed-Door Meeting With Some UVA Students

Posted: Updated: Dec 15, 2014 04:59 PM
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan is promising a shift in attitude and behavior from fraternity row to Madison Hall.

On Monday, Sullivan laid out her steps to respond to Rolling Stone magazine's allegations the university sweeps sexual assaults under the rug.

The university president spoke to a small audience of students behind closed doors at an event that was closed to the media. UVA streamed Sullivan's address live online, but a technical glitch affected the audio for most of the event. The university posted video of the speech later in the day.

Sullivan told students that the university will not shrink away from the controversy, and that she will, “make periodic reports to the community on what we are doing, and you can hold me accountable for our efforts.”

“If there is a subculture that hurts any UVA students or exploits any of our fellow Wahoos, then we must find out where it hides and root it out,” said Sullivan.

She also called on students to party safer, calling alcohol the tool of a predator.

All of this comes in response to Rolling Stone's article saying UVA allows a "culture of rape".

“She outlined a couple things she's doing in this interim while Greek life is down, and while the community is in this dark hour, that can really make us emerge stronger,” said Erick Roberts, a UVA first-year student that attended the speech.

“I will be encouraged when I see responses to student voices and community voices. Right now, there isn't a space for that,” said Lauren Stark with Alliance for Social Change at UVA. “We need broad community conversations about the values of this university, and that isn't happening yet.”

Sullivan told students she's meeting with student and faculty groups right now.

She promised a university-wide town hall and a survey of student experiences during the spring semester.

Sullivan is also urging transparency in the university's Sexual Misconduct Board. That group is facing criticism for its handling of the alleged fraternity gang rape reported in Rolling Stone.