UVA Responds to Mayhem at White Nationalists’ Rally

POSTED BY MARTIN KICH

 

The following are four statements issued by the University of Virginia and President Theresa A. Sullivan over the last 36 hours. They are presented from the most recent to the least recent, and they are followed by news updates.

 

President Sullivan Condemns Demonstration Violence

As events have unfolded on Grounds and in Charlottesville during this weekend’s alt-right rally, the University and President Teresa A. Sullivan have distributed a number of messages. Please find them below.

 

UVA Community Message From President Sullivan

Aug. 12, 2:30 p.m.

Dear Members of the University Community:

All of us are profoundly concerned and disturbed by incidents occurring this weekend related to the “Unite the Right” rally in downtown Charlottesville.

Last night, alt-right protestors carrying torches marched on UVA’s Grounds, attempting to intimidate bystanders and spread their message of intolerance and hate. There were several violent altercations during and after the march, and minor injuries were reported, including one University police officer who was injured while making an arrest.

During today’s “Unite the Right” rally in the city, there were numerous outbreaks of violence and reported injuries among protestors and counter-protestors. Earlier, we had encouraged all UVA community members to avoid the rally and to attend UVA-sponsored events instead. However, due to public safety concerns and after a declaration of a State of Emergency in Virginia, we cancelled the previously scheduled events that included academic programming, community discussions in the University Libraries, and athletic events.

The University of Virginia is a public institution and follows state and federal law regarding the public’s right to access open spaces, including the rights of the marchers who assembled on our Grounds last night. We also support the First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly, including the rights of the protestors and counter-protestors today. At the same time, we know that the ideologies and beliefs expressed by many of the groups that have converged on Charlottesville this weekend contradict our values of diversity, inclusion, and mutual respect. We strongly condemn intimidating and abhorrent behavior intended to strike fear and sow division in our community. Acts of violence are not protected by the First Amendment.

The safety and well-being of all UVA community members is my foremost concern as president. We are continuing to monitor the developments in downtown Charlottesville and to coordinate with state and local law enforcement. The UVA medical center remains open.

We will continue to uphold our shared values as a community and reject the ideology of intolerance and hate.

Teresa A. Sullivan President

 

Statement Regarding Change in Academic Division Operating Schedule

Aug. 12, 11:37 a.m.

Due to the ongoing public safety concerns in downtown Charlottesville and as a result of both the City of Charlottesville and the County of Albemarle declaring a local state of emergency, the University of Virginia is cancelling all scheduled events and programming today (Saturday) effective at noon.

This cancellation includes all academic programming, the scheduled community discussions taking place in the University Libraries, and all UVA Athletic events and programming. The University is monitoring the developments in Charlottesville and continues to coordinate with state and local law enforcement.

The UVA medical center remains open.

 

Message From The University of Virginia

Aug. 12, 10:27 a.m. The University of Virginia issued the following update today regarding Friday evening’s demonstration on Grounds:

University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan strongly condemned the demonstration that occurred on Grounds on the evening of August 11. The intimidating and abhorrent behavior displayed by the alt-right protestors was

wrong. Those who gather with the intent to strike fear and sow division do not reflect the University’s values and will not influence or diminish the University’s commitment to inclusion, diversity and mutual respect. Included in these values also are a respect for the First Amendment rights to free speech and peaceable assembly.

The University of Virginia is a public institution and as such must abide by state and federal laws regarding the public’s right to access open spaces. While University policy speaks to the ability to reserve space inside University-owned facilities, permits or registration to access public and open outdoor spaces are not required. University policy also does not generally prohibit open flames in outdoor spaces.

With regard to the incident last night, University Police arrested one protestor and charged the individual with assault and disorderly conduct. Several injuries were reported, including one University police officer who was injured while making the arrest. Several other members of the University community sustained minor injuries during the confrontation.

Law enforcement did not deploy pepper spray or any other chemical agents. Reports indicate that the pepper spray was used by the protestors. Law enforcement on the scene declared an “unlawful assembly” once physical altercations among the protestors began to escalate.

The safety and well-being of every member of the University community and its visitors remains a top priority. The University continues to monitor developments in the City and is closely coordinating with state and local law enforcement. The University continues to discourage members of the University community from attending the planned downtown rallies.

 

Message From President Sullivan, Friday Night

As President of the University of Virginia, I am deeply saddened and disturbed by the hateful behavior displayed by torch-bearing protestors that marched on our Grounds this evening. I strongly condemn the unprovoked assault on members of our community, including University personnel who were attempting to maintain order.

Law enforcement continues to investigate the incident, and it is my hope that any individuals responsible for criminal acts are held accountable. The violence displayed on Grounds is intolerable and is entirely inconsistent with the University’s values.

Teresa A. Sullivan President

_________________________

 

News Update from TheHill:

Video footage shows three cars plowing into a group of pedestrians, with one of the vehicles pushing the other two deeper into the crowd before backing up into more people.

It was not immediately clear if the collision was intentional. Police took the vehicle’s driver into custody.

The collision followed a morning of violent clashes between far-right groups and counter-protesters, prompting Virginia Gov. Terry McAuli?e to declare a state of emergency. Police in riot gear ordered demonstrators to disperse as they marched onto the scene Saturday.

White nationalist, white supremacist  and  alt-right groups were initially scheduled to gather in Charlottesville’s Emancipation Park Saturday to protest the city’s decision to remove a Confederate statue there.

But as clashes broke out ahead of the so-called “Unite the Right” rally Saturday morning, police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly, breaking up the event before it officially began.

University of Virginia Medical Center said that 20 people have been taken to the hospital, and one person has died.

The complete news report is available at: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/346327-charlottesville-mayor-one-dead-after-car-plowed-through?rnd=1502566299.

 

Background from Chronicle of Higher Ed

“Several days before white nationalists and neo-Nazis were slated to descend upon Charlottesville, Va., the University of Virginia planned a response: what it called “a day of events displaying its commitment to mutual respect and inclusion.”

“As a march proceeded in the town, the university would hold dozens of sessions. The university’s provost would lead a talk called “intolerance of intolerance.” A student would train others on how to ally with undocumented immigrants. There would be a potluck.

“It all came to naught.

“On Saturday morning, the university canceled not just the programs it had planned, but all activities, as scenes of violence on the city’s streets were broadcast across the nation. The university cited the state of emergency declared by Virginia’s governor, Terry McAuliffe, as well as the County of Albemarle.

“According to dispatches from reporters and other observers on the scene, white supremacists carrying guns, clubs, and Confederate flags attacked counterprotesters and journalists as police mostly stood back. Tear gas, bottles of urine, and flares were reported on the scene amid skirmishes between the marchers and others.”

The full article by Andy Thompson is available at: http://www.chronicle.com/article/As-White-Supremacists-Wreak/240912?cid=bn&utm.

 

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