Events showcasing the University’s “commitment to mutual respect and inclusion” planned for Aug. 12 were shut down as a result of the violence surrounding the “Unite the Right” rally in downtown Charlottesville, but they will proceed this Saturday.
Assoc. Provost for Outreach Louis Nelson said in an interview with The Cavalier Daily that faculty, staff and students who specialize in topics such as racism, systemic inequalities and the First Amendment were scheduled to present their arguments to students, faculty and Charlottesville community members.
“Then, we got an hour into the programming, and the city of Charlottesville called their state of emergency, and then the university made the decision to close, which of course terminated all the academic programming,” Nelson said.
Speakers for the upcoming programming, who Nelson said were “limited … To those folks who I'd already extended a previous invitation [to],” include Assoc. Prof. Joanna Williams from the Curry School, the Minority Rights Coalition, the LGBTQ center and Assistant Dean and Prof. Kirt von Daacke.
Although the speakers will remain the same, Nelson said the content of the lectures can be expected to change from what was originally planned.
“We are a different university than we were on Aug. 10,” Nelson said. “And that's just the nature of history. We are doing Green Dot training, having conversations about LGBTQ issues … We've all read and thought about these issues much more, as a community, than we would have on the 12th.”
University Dean of Students Allen Groves, who will be co-leading a discussion with Dean of Libraries and English Prof. John Unsworth on recent books about free speech, wants to see a large response to the University’s programming.
“I hope a large number of people come out to one or more of the Saturday programs and films, engage each other respectfully and with an open mind, and leave with a broader understanding of what work remains to be done to achieve our objective of a truly inclusive intellectual community,” Groves said in an email to The Cavalier Daily.
Groves said the University must be able to “honestly debate difficult and controversial subjects” while still being an inclusive space.
Nelson also shared similar sentiments, adding that he hopes the community feels welcome at the programming.
“I’m eager to have our students in the same space as our community members so that we can hear each other talk,” Nelson said. “And establishing open and honest dialogue around a whole lot of hard issues is exactly what we as a university should be doing.”
Programming will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Clemons Library, Alderman Library and the Special Collections Library. A full schedule of events can be found .