UVA Board Meets to Discuss Sexual Assault Policies and Procedures

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UVA Board of Visitors meeting UVA Board of Visitors meeting

The University of Virginia Board of Visitors met Friday afternoon to take up the school's policies and procedures involving sexual assault.

The school's leadership is still trying to make the school better after a scathing Rolling Stone article detailed an alleged gang rape at a fraternity house at UVA and a culture that lacks accountability in those situations. Many of the students described in the article have since said the magazine's account is misleading and wrong, and the magazine has since apologized for what it calls discrepancies.

In the opening remarks, Rector George K. Martin, the chairman of the board, expressed the board's collective sorrow for all students unnecessarily traumatized by the article. Martin said a "massive failure" of journalism ethics has unfairly tarnished the school's image and the university had suffered the "full fury of drive-by journalism."

The board addressed short-term, mid-term and long-term goals such as adding more residential housing. University President Teresa Sullivan organized immediate actions into three categories: culture, prevention and response.

By January 15, the board hopes to add more lighting and surveillance cameras on grounds and a police substation on the corner. They also talked about adding more counselors at the Women's Center and they are considering a 24-hour call system.

“We are in the spotlight so we have the opportunity to lead. We also have the intelligence and the will and the resolve to lead,” Sullivan stated. “I have called on our entire community to help us in this effort and from what I have seen, I believe that this community is going to respond.”

Chief Operating Officer Pat Hogan also presented a list of new investments for physical safety improvements including increased counseling, investigations, safety measures and education. The total for infrastructure alone comes out to more than $3.5 million. The board says it's also prepared to add more to the investments if necessary.

The  meeting came one day after the school's faculty met with administrators to discuss ways to keep students safe. President Sullivan and Rector Martin held a special town hall with faculty Thursday to talk about new initiatives. Sullivan spent some time outlining the early efforts of her new "ad hoc group on university climate and culture." She also stressed safety was a priority for leaders in the wake of Hannah Graham's death and the Rolling Stone rape allegations.

The Associated Press Contributed to this article.