Panel at Alumni Association event discuss events of Aug. 11 and 12

Parents, alumni invited to hear from the rector and student Board of Visitors member, among other members of U.Va. community

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The panel was held at Alumni Hall on Nov. 1. 

Richard Dizon | Cavalier Daily

The University Alumni Association and University Advancement’s Office of Engagement held an event Wednesday evening titled “Forward Together: Strengthening the UVA Community.” The event invited alumni and parents to hear from a panel of prominent University community members to discuss the violent white nationalist events of Aug. 11 and 12.

The panel included the Rector of the Board of Visitors Frank M. Conner III, founder of Hoos Against Hate Greg Jackson, Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer Patricia M. Lampkin, Board of Visitors Student Member and fourth-year College student Bryanna Miller and Asst. Dean and Assoc. Professor Kirt von Daacke. The panel was moderated by Law School Dean Risa Goluboff, who is the chair of the Deans Working Group, which has been tasked with assessing the University’s response to the events in August . 

“I think it’s important to bring alumni and parents into the conversation because they are an important part of our community,” Goluboff said. “It’s important for them to be a part of that conversation so that they can hear what we are doing at the institution that they have a deep connection to, and that we can hear from them about their vision for the University, their expectations of it, their memories of it and their hopes for its future.”

Roughly 180 community members were in attendance as the panel discussed their involvements, concrete changes that have occurred within the University and what future actions may be after the events on Aug. 11 and 12. 

Several panel members noted the significant safety and security enhancement measures that have been implemented, including the declaration of the Lawn as an official University facility, which allows for the regulation of the presence of firearms, and the new clear bag policy for large events. 

“We adopted two new policies,” said Conner, in reference to the September Board of Visitors meeting. “One relates to deeming the Lawn as a facility. The reason for doing that is that in Virginia we have an open carry law except for in facilities such as dorms or classrooms. The Lawn is an open area, but also a residential and learning space. So we decided to make it a facility. The second deals with open flames. We transformed it from a policy into a regulation — doing so allowed this to be enforced by police.” 

Miller noted that students have responded by being more attentive to their community and engaging their peers through social media. 

“Students have become more alert,” Miller said. “If something is happening on Grounds or downtown, that information is shared fairly quickly.” 

Students have been able to engage with some of these issues in an academic setting through a class taught by von Daacke which focuses on slavery and its legacies at the University. 

“This is not a U.Va. story — this is a national story,” von Daacke, who is also the co-chair of the U.Va. President’s Commision on Slavery and its Legacies, said. “We are one of many institutions that need to have these conversations.” 

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