Groups Focused on Culture, Safety Issues to Hold Town Hall Meetings

February 25, 2015

Members of the University of Virginia community will have new opportunities next week to provide direct input into U.Va.’s ongoing efforts to enhance safety and to address issues related to sexual assault.

Three working groups charged with making recommendations to President Teresa A. Sullivan’s Ad Hoc Group on University Climate and Culture are holding town hall meetings open to the University community.

The town hall meetings are:

  • Prevention Working Group: March 2 from 4 to 6 p.m., South Meeting Room of Newcomb Hall
  • Response Working Group: March 3 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Great Hall of Garrett Hall
  • Culture Working Group: March 4 from noon to 2 p.m., auditorium of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library

“These Town Hall sessions will provide an important opportunity for the members of our University community to make their voices heard, as we work together to improve the climate and culture at U.Va.,” Sullivan said. “I encourage our students, faculty and staff to come together in a spirit of candor and collaboration for these town hall gatherings.”

Comments also may be submitted to the working groups via email at, and

Sullivan launched the Ad Hoc Group on University Climate and Culture in December, following an intense, ongoing period of introspection on Grounds sparked by a now-discredited Rolling Stone magazine article that centers on an alleged sexual assault in 2012.

Sullivan said the safety and well-being of students, especially survivors of sexual assault, remains the University’s first and foremost concern – regardless of the magazine’s account.

The ad hoc group was created to explore policies, practices and organizational structure, as well as the resources necessary to support the ultimate goal of providing an outstanding education while ensuring the safety and well-being of students. Its membership includes students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and two members of the University’s Board of Visitors.

The working groups are focusing on three key issue areas:

  • Prevention, including bystander training, peer education and physical safety such as lighting, camera systems and policing;
  • Response, including institutional survivor support, training for students and faculty, and U.Va. policies and issues regarding adjudication; and
  • Culture, including student behavior, Greek life, alcohol and other drug use, and student self-governance.

In January, Sullivan formed the three working groups who report to the ad hoc group. Each group’s members include students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and a Board of Visitors member.

The working groups will meet throughout the semester and report to the ad hoc group in late spring.

Media Contact

Anthony P. de Bruyn

University Spokesperson Office of University Communications