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UJC welcomes University President Jim Ryan at meeting to discuss student self governance

Ryan also answered questions regarding violence and affirmative action from Committee members

<p>Ryan said he believes that this engagement gives students a sense of ownership and responsibility at the University.&nbsp;</p>

Ryan said he believes that this engagement gives students a sense of ownership and responsibility at the University. 

The University Judiciary Committee welcomed University President Jim Ryan at their meeting Sunday, where he gave a brief talk on student self-governance and the role it plays within the University. Ryan also posed questions to the Committee members about their involvement in the UJC and opened the floor for questions from members. 

Student self-governance offers a unique opportunity for students to lead at the University, performing jobs often handled by administrators at other universities and giving them unique opportunities to make an impact on Grounds. 

Ryan said that as the University helps prepare students to be leaders, UJC aids in the goal by providing some of these opportunities to take on leadership roles. As members of both the UJC and the student body, Committee members have a lot of knowledge about the student body that makes members credible sources of information.

“You know what your fellow students are thinking,” Ryan said. “You know what they will find valuable in a way that administrators never will.”

Student self-governance allows students to engage with their peers and administration and be more in tune with the University community, Ryan said. He believes that this engagement gives students a sense of ownership and responsibility at the University. 

Ryan also opened the floor for questions from Committee members. Third-year McIntire student Rep. Johnston Lloyd asked what steps the University has taken to address the increase in violence in the Charlottesville area and if there are initiatives Ryan is hoping to address in the future. This question comes after the recent abduction attempt on the 800 block of Cabell Street, as well as an increase in gun violence and other crimes in the University and greater Charlottesville area. The University also released a 2023 Fire Safety and Security Report that showed an increase in rape and aggravated assault in 2022 when compared to 2021. 

Ryan mentioned planning to increase jurisdiction of University ambassadors as well as identifying and stopping threats before they occur. Additionally, Ryan mentioned forming a task force consisting of community members and Charlottesville police officers to tackle the issue of increasing gun violence in Charlottesville. He conceded that there is no right answer in this situation.

“Honestly, there's no silver bullet here,” Ryan said. “There are a lot of things that you can do. But if you have ideas I’m open to them.”

Second-year College member Tomás Cushman asked how the University hopes to remain committed to ensuring diversity following the June Supreme Court decision that ended race-conscious admissions. Under the decision, colleges and universities can no longer explicitly consider the race of applicants in admissions decisions.  

Ryan said that the University has added a question to the University application in which applicants will be able to discuss experiences that would be relevant to their time at the University, including their experiences with race and ethnicity. 

“The fact that the court has restricted the means doesn't mean that we're giving up on the value of diversity,” Ryan said. “We're committed to diversity as we were before, but we have to follow the law. ”

This was the third general body meeting of the UJC of the semester. The Committee did not discuss internal procedures beyond the questions asked by Ryan. The UJC will hold their next meeting Oct. 22.


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