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Board of Visitors hears update from Honor Committee, commends fundraising progress

The Board also honored members whose terms recently expired

<p>Rector Robert Hardie encouraged Board members to thank the people and organizations that contributed.&nbsp;</p>

Rector Robert Hardie encouraged Board members to thank the people and organizations that contributed. 

The Board of Visitors’ Full Board heard an update from the Chair of the Honor Committee, presented progress on fundraising for the University and its affiliated foundations and commemorated previous Board members for their contributions during the business meeting Friday. 

The Board heard an update from Hamza Aziz, chair of the Honor Committee and fourth-year College student, about the recently passed multi-sanction system and how Honor on Grounds has been made stronger by this large change. The multi-sanction system expands sanctions to include but not limited to expulsion, suspension, education and amends. 

“The perpetual and active conversations that surround our joint project in Honor don't imperil the system but rather reflect its enduring vitality and health,” Aziz said. “[Honor] is capable of change and made stronger by [change].”

Board member Bert Ellis posed a question about the length of Honor trials and how the committee can condense the timeline. 

Case efficiency has been a point of concern for the current Committee, which passed foundational laws to help address these concerns over the summer. One change is that investigations no longer must take place directly after the initial report, which helps the Committee direct resources towards cases that have a better chance of making it to trial. 

In response to Ellis’ question, Aziz said students can now file an informed retraction — a process that allows a student who has committed an Honor offense to take accountability — before the investigation rather than during. 

The range of Honor sanctions was also a point of discussion at the meeting. University President Jim Ryan asked Aziz if specific sanctions are assigned to certain offenses to hold repeat offenders accountable. 

Aziz said he didn’t think assigned sanctions were necessary, and that the Committee has guidelines and language that help their decisions.

“I think there are very strong parameters that guide the Committee to an appropriate sanction,” Aziz said. “The ultimate goal is being as tailored and proportional and reflective to the offense as possible.”

Currently, any student who has been found guilty of an Honor offense can be given any sanction under the Committee’s bylaws — including suspension, expulsion, education or amends. However, the panel for guilt can vote to not consider expulsion as a possible sanction. 

The Board also heard a presentation on fundraising at the University. For fiscal year 2023, fundraising progress for the University and its foundations amounted to over $549 million. Rector Robert Hardie encouraged Board members to thank the people and organizations that contributed. 

“We have just a number of incredibly generous donors and that's reflected in the gifts report,” Hardie said. 

The Philip F. DuPont Trust gifted the University amounts totaling $5.3 million for the Philip F. DuPont Trust Income Fund and the Unrestricted Endowment — funds that can be spent at the discretion of the institution receiving the gift. A restricted endowment places constraints on what monetary gifts can be used for. Unrestricted donations ensure that monetary benefits can be shared across a wide range of recipients. 

In the same fiscal year, the Karsh Family Foundation pledged payments of $5.3 million to the University for the Karsh Institute of Democracy, an institute dedicated to addressing challenges facing democracy today. Recently, the Board approved the plan for the future home of the institute inside the Emmet-Ivy Entrance Corridor, which was initiated by a $50 million gift from Martha and Bruce Karsh. 

The John L. Nau III Foundation pledged payments totaling $2.4 million to the College of Arts & Sciences. John L. Nau III is a class of 1968 alumnus and a previous Board of Visitors member. Nau has pledged millions to the University, and last year gifted $17.6 million to aid in the support of the Karsh Institute. 

Other gifts and grants received — totaling over $536 million — helped to benefit centers, scholarships and research for various schools across Grounds. In addition, Gifts and Commitments saw increases across a series of funds, schools and centers across the University. 

The Board then passed resolutions in honor of members whose terms recently expired. The board first offered a commending resolution for Whitt Clement, an alumnus of the College as well as the School of Law. 

Clement was appointed to the board by Governor McAuliffe in 2015 and reappointed by Governor Northam in 2019. Clement was elected Vice Rector for two years and then served as Rector from July 2021 to end of his term on June 30. 

Next, the board commended Louis Samuel Haddad, the Chief Executive Officer of Armada Hoffler — a real-estate developer in the Commonwealth. Haddad was appointed to the Board by Governor Northam in 2019 and served for four years with distinction on the Academic and Student Life, Buildings and Grounds, Finance and Audit, Compliance, and Risk Committees. 

Other individuals commemorated at the meeting include Angela H. Mogano, an alumnus of the College and a former University soccer player, James V. Reyes, president of Reyes Holdings, LLC and Susan E. Kirk, M.D., designated institutional official and associate dean for graduate medical education for U.Va. Health and chair of the Faculty Senate. 

Before the meeting was adjourned, Ellis announced he and Lillian Rojas, student member of the Board and fourth-year Batten student, will be hosting a conversation between longtime University Economics professor Kenneth Elzinga and U.Va. Center for Politics founder Larry J. Sabato.

Rector Robert D. Hardie thanked Ellis for organizing the event, scheduled for Oct. 17.

“I think it’s going to be really fun to see those two discuss a lot of different items… around freedom of expression,” Hardie said before closing the meeting.

During its summary and final session meeting, the Board unanimously approved all action items from the previous meetings of each Committee, as well as the faculty personnel actions discussed in closed sessions. 

The next full board meeting for the Board of Visitors will be held in December. 

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that an Informed Retraction can be filed at any time. However, an Informed Retraction can only be filed before an investigation. The article has been updated to reflect this correction.


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