Sullivan gives sermon about responsibility

President focuses on creating safer community at Convocation Sunday, violence prevention, Day of Dialogue

University President Teresa A. Sullivan delivered a sermon to a 500-member audience of Charlottesville community members at St. Paul's Memorial Church Sunday. As the guest speaker for the church's yearly "Convocation Sunday," she spoke primarily about the need for a safer, more interconnected University setting.

"Our goal is to create a caring community - one whose members recognize their shared responsibility for each other," Sullivan said, acknowledging the Yeardley Love tragedy as a catalyst for new University initiatives dedicated to improving community safety.

Among those initiatives is a "Day of Dialogue" scheduled for Sept. 24, which Sullivan described as an "open and vigorous discussion about violence, violence prevention and campus safety." In addition, Sullivan mentioned the Get Grounded Coalition, an alliance of student organizations promoting a community more conscientious of possible acts of abuse occurring to others.

"We want to challenge the so-called 'bystander behavior' that may cause students or others to stand aside and remain passive in potentially dangerous situations, either because they don't recognize the situation as problematic or because they don't believe its their responsibility to take action," Sullivan said. "We want each of us to take ownership of this community and to help take care of everyone in it."

Sullivan was invited to speak at the church's "Convocation Sunday," an event held each year to welcome University students to Grounds, said Rev. James Richardson, the rector at St. Paul's Memorial Church.

The church invites various speakers to the event, and this year Richard was appreciative of Sullivan's visit, stating he was "impressed and grateful" that Sullivan openly broached the issue of campus safety.

"The University needs to work hard on becoming more of a caring community with each other," he said, noting that about two-thirds of his congregation is connected with the University in some way. "All of us need to take responsibility for each other and not look the other way."

After the sermon, Sullivan hosted a question-and-answer session, which Richardson described as a positive dialogue.

"A lot of people got something off their chest and got to say what they think, and I think she was a good listener," Richardson said. "I can't help but think that it will have some lasting impact."

Sullivan closed her sermon by urging the audience to take her message to heart as well as to recognize the gravity of her message.

"Let's promise not to stand by when someone else needs help," Sullivan said. "Let's promise to take responsibility for each other. Let's promise to show hospitality and kindness to everyone around us"


Published August 31, 2010 in News




Commentary

Add your $0.02, go to the comment form or follow the comment feed

Jeff
(08/31/10 5:37pm)
Report
Comment

Technically, this is a guest speaker at a church but not a sermon and I would want to make that distinction as UVA is not affiliated with a church and the President is not a member of the clergy like say at Notre Dame.

It is my understanding that the clergy can deliver a sermon but even at a church, if the speaker is not a clergy member, it is considered an address or speech.


Sean
(08/31/10 8:22pm)
Report
Comment

Notice that the OTHER death of a student last semester - the one that can't be spun merely as "gender violence," appears to still serve as a catalyst only for silence and making sure nobody in the media covers it ever again. Likewise, what was swirling in the bloodstream of Mr. Huguely as he beat Ms. Love at 3 am is also to kept strictly hush-hush and not discussed if at all possible.

The Daily Progress' article dared - for once - to include this little tidbit that Mr. Lang did not:

"The audience also brought up student drinking and alcohol abuse. Sullivan said she was alarmed to learn that four UVa students were hospitalized on Saturday for alcohol poisoning."

Only four?? Just wait till THIS Saturday..

I knew a student rather close to me a few years back who ended up in the ICU after trying to take her own life, so I know all about what lengths the administration and the Women's Center were willing to go to keep things quiet and certain issues buried at all costs. It is tradition here.

I like what little I've seen from President Sullivan - anyone would be an improvement over the last one - but one wonders if she will dare to change UVA's tradition of putting the national reputation of itself far ahead of the health and well being of its students.

I'm not advocating for the re institution of alcohol prohibition. Indeed, that would make me quite a hypocrite. What I am saying is that UVA has a huge illegal and prescription drug problem that is intertwined to the binge drinking epidemic - and UVA needs to face this immediately. There will be no "caring community" preventing "dangerous situations" without it. The "bystander behavior" with regard to this has emanated from the top for 20 years. Unless it changes, you can count on more tragedies.

Yeardley Love was not killed at noon on a Tuesday between classes.


Clayton Finch
(09/01/10 4:07pm)
Report
Comment

Sean, how's your personal investigation into the Harrington case going?

Do you still suspect a conspiracy of frat guys? Any updates, gumshoe?


yigdo
(09/04/10 4:51am)
Report
Comment

President Sullivan spoke in a Church in which I am not a member that supports a religion that I do not believe in or support or care about. Therefore, she is not speaking to MY community and I don't have to listen to this stuff. I find it creepy that she gave a sermon as a means to address the UNIVERSITY community.



Powered by powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News