In Midst of Controversy UVA Archives Works to Preserve History
The University of Virginia's archivists are working overtime to preserve a record of President Teresa Sullivan's ouster and the grassroots battle against the UVA Board of Visitors.
The Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library contains millions of documents detailing the university's nearly 200-year-old story.
"The point of gathering material is so it can be a research archive in the future," said UVA Digital Archivist Gretchen Gueguen.
The UVA Archives include records from the board of visitors dating back to 1817. Now, those trustees are in the center of the university's newest, still unfinished chapter.
Archivists Edward Gaynor and Gretchen Gueguen are beginning to collect a record of Sullivan's resignation and the response of the UVA community.
"It documents a very important event in the university's history," said Gueguen.
Gaynor said, "It's probably more actual data in a lot of ways than any other event we have in the archives."
The Sullivan resignation collection includes stacks of newspapers, signs, posters, and buttons from student and faculty rallies. The archives is also saving hundreds of online news articles, blog posts, YouTube videos, and thousands of tweets.
"We think this will be useful to researchers in the future who want to understand the University of Virginia at this time period, higher education at this time period," Gueugen said.
UVA graduate student Suzie McCarthy started the Facebook group to reinstate Sullivan. It led to a rally on the lawn Sunday.
"I think the most important thing is that we remember us coming together as a UVA community," McCarthy said.
She's excited to see pieces of this movement preserved forever as part of the university's history.
"It is essential to our history as a university for future generations to remember this," said McCarthy.
The archives expects the collection to grow following Tuesday's vigil and board of visitors vote. A special website for materials related to the Sullivan resignation is set up to collect digital donations.
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