UVA Working Group for August 11 Incident Files Report

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The University of Virginia community is responding to a report released in response to a torch lit rally held at UVA last month. In that report, there are three key areas a working group says the university can work on improving.

Some students say they agree with the recommendations, but others say its not enough.

"It was scary to see the flames..it was terrifying to see the open flames," Ken King, fourth-year student, said.

King was one of the students surrounding the Jefferson statue the night a group of Unite the Right members took to UVA with tiki torches. Now, the UVA Dean's Working Group has released a detailed timeline and list of recommendations of what the university could have done differently.

UVA says it will strengthen and better enforce the open burn and open flame policy.

"To me its take away the focus away from the open flame and the torch ...to what the university could have done to stop those people from being on Grounds in the first place...regardless of what they were carrying," King said.

UVA is also working to classify the "academical village," which includes the Lawn, as a facility. That would mean weapons would be prohibited in that area.

"I don't think weapons should be allowed on the Lawn cause its like a public area and if anyone feels unsafe in a public area, i don't think weapons should be there," Mohammad Loynab, first-year student, said.

Lastly the university is also considering requiring permits for any demonstration.

"I would hope that something like this wouldn't happen again but you obviously have to be prepared so requiring a permit sounds like a good idea to me," Joe Montane, first-year student, said.

 "This is an important place for students to come together for issues to be made very vocal and the idea that the university would then have power to police those demonstrations more makes me very resistent to this next step," King said.

On Aug. 11, UVA didn't put out an emergency alert about the event because officials did not want to draw more attention to it, students say they should have.

"The attention could have stopped those people from being able to march on our Grounds," King said.

 "I think they should have because people's lives were in danger and i'm sure a lot of people on the streets had no idea what was going on," Loynab said.

NBC29 reached out to the UVA and Student Council to get a comment in response to this report, but have not heard back at this time.

Dear Members of the University Community:

Two weeks ago, I charged a University Working Group with the responsibility of reviewing the events that transpired on August 11 to understand how we could have responded differently. Today [September 11], I am writing to let you know that the Working Group has finished a report and presented me with its findings.

Led by Dean Risa Goluboff, the Working Group has identified a number of areas where the University can further strengthen its processes and policies to prevent a similar event from happening in the future. Please read Dean Goluboff’s message below for additional information and a link to the report.

We will be reviewing this report closely in the coming days, and will share additional updates as they become available. I am grateful for Dean Goluboff and each of the other members who have been involved in developing this report.

There is more important work to be done, and I encourage members of the University community to continue to visit the Working Group’s dedicated website –response.virginia.edu – to find the latest information and to share your ideas.

As the Working Group indicates, the University continues to move forward with its review of current University policies and other enhancements.  This includes the work of Margolis Healy & Associates, the safety and security firm hired by the University to conduct a comprehensive review of our safety and security infrastructure, policies, and tools.  We expect the firm to conclude its review early this fall.

I want to be very clear: What happened on Aug. 11 on our Grounds, while unprecedented, was unacceptable. But we will not let it define us. It takes time to heal as a community and we must do so together. This Working Group report is an important step.  Going forward, we must recommit ourselves to our core values and further enhance our inclusive, diverse learning and living environment.


Teresa A. Sullivan 

Dear Colleagues, Students, Friends,

I am writing to share with you information, observations, and recommendations related to the August 11 white supremacist march on Grounds. Now posted on the Deans Working Group website is a timeline of events of that afternoon and evening prepared by the University Police Department in conjunction with the Office of University Counsel. We have also included suggestions for how the University could have improved its response.

We are devastated that white supremacists violated our Grounds and put members of our community in harm’s way. Our goal is to prevent that from occurring again. Threats and intimidation have no place on our Grounds, and as the Rector, President, and larger University community have made clear, the University will not tolerate them. Reckoning with the events of the weekend of August 11 requires a long-term commitment to creating a safer, more equitable, tolerant, and inclusive university community. It also requires us to model for the larger society those values that make the University unique. Among those values are reflection and learning.

As the Deans Working Group turns to the next phases of our work—examining the University’s culture, climate, and landscape, and investing in research and teaching around the issues August 11 has made only more urgent—we will continue to solicit ideas and suggestions from all members of the University community. I welcome and urge your continued input.

Risa Goluboff
Dean, School of Law

This email was approved for distribution according to the Mass Electronic Mailings Policy, IRM-006, available at http://uvapolicy.virginia.edu/policy/IRM-006