This page contains messages and content produced by the University of Virginia in preparation for, and related to, the one-year anniversary of the violent demonstrations associated with the “Unite the Right” rally on Aug. 11 and 12, 2017.
Check back here for updates as new communications regarding the weekend’s events are distributed.
Aug. 11, 2018. Patrick D. Hogan, executive vice president and chief operating officer, and Gloria S. Graham, associate vice president for safety and security, delivered the following message to the University community on road closures and detours in the Charlottesville area.
Members of the University community,
President Ryan asked that we update you regarding additional road closures and detours in the vicinity of the University.
We continue to coordinate safety plans with the regional planning team. The City has announced the following road closures and detours from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. this evening:
- University Avenue at Culbreth Road and Rugby Road at Culbreth Road will be closed. This will allow safe pedestrian traffic at the intersection of University Avenue and Rugby Road.
- Westbound traffic will be detoured up 14th Street to Grady Avenue and Rugby Road to Culbreth Avenue.
- Eastbound traffic will be detoured up Culbreth Road, to Rugby Road, to Grady Avenue, to 14th Street.
- University Avenue will remain open in the eastbound direction only from Chancellor Street going east.
As a reminder, McCormick Road from Emmet Street to University Avenue is closed until noon on Sunday.
We will continue to update the University community throughout the weekend.
Patrick D. Hogan
Executive Vice President and COO
Gloria S. Graham
Associate Vice President for Safety and Security
Aug. 10, 2018. President James E. Ryan delivered the following message to the University community on Thursday.
To the University community,
I want to update you on some decisions we have made since my last message.
Based on the advice of our security teams we have decided, out of an abundance of caution, to close the Lawn from 6pm tonight until noon on Sunday, Aug. 12. This will help us continue to prepare for and secure both the UVA-sponsored event on Saturday morning in Old Cabell Hall and a student-organized rally on the North Plaza of the Rotunda, which will occur from 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Saturday evening. Lawn residents will still be allowed on the Lawn while it is closed to the public, as will attendees for Saturday morning’s event.
In order to make sure students and members of the community can gather peacefully Saturday night, we are also putting further security restrictions in place for that specific event, including metal detectors and a perimeter with a single point of entry. The University’s clear bag policy will be in effect and many items that can possibly be used to cause harm will not be allowed on University property. Finally, the number of people allowed on the North Plaza will be limited based on the recommendation of the fire marshal and the size of the plaza itself. There may be some road closures near the event as well, and if so, we will update you as soon as we can.
As I mentioned yesterday, my hope is that these precautions will prove unnecessary. But we are taking them in order to give students and other community members the best chance to gather peacefully without having to worry about their own safety.
Thank you for your attention and your understanding as we respond to this evolving situation. If we feel it is necessary to take more steps based on new information, we will be sure to let you know.
Aug. 9, 2018. President James E. Ryan delivered the following message to the University community on Thursday.
To the University community,
As we continue to prepare for this weekend’s anniversary, I plan to keep sharing any important information as it comes up.
As you know, yesterday afternoon, the city, county, and state declared a proactive local state of emergency in Charlottesville so resources will be available if we need them. At the same time, UVA is putting safety measures in place that will limit access to certain areas on Grounds and prohibit certain items from being carried this weekend that could be used to hurt others. You can find more information here. If additional measures become necessary, we will notify you.
These decisions were made, in part, out of concern that a sizable number of people will be coming to Charlottesville this weekend with all sorts of agendas. While some of them come in peace, others have expressed an intent on social media to do harm.
As I said earlier this week, our top priority is keeping people safe, but it is important to recognize that we do so with an eye toward enabling people to gather safely to mark the anniversary and to engage in reflection, conversations, demonstrations, and in protest. Peaceful demonstrations and protests are obviously acceptable and indeed vital at times. As a university, we are and always will be a place for ideas and debate, including self-examination and criticism. I also understand and admire the desire to stand as allies with those who were targeted last year and to stand up for social and racial justice.
But we must do our best to ensure that peaceful gatherings are not interrupted by those intending to harm others or destroy property. We cannot allow our community members to be vulnerable to that threat. That is why there is an increased law enforcement presence here and why we are taking additional security measures.
I sincerely hope that this weekend will be a time for reflection and productive conversations. I am both a fairly long-time member of this community but also quite new here. My family and I lived here for 15 years, and I served on the faculty during that time. But I have been away for the last 5 years, and am just beginning my tenure. I do so with a fierce commitment to strengthening our relationship with our surrounding communities and to continuing the work to examine not just our past but our present when it comes to issues related to race, diversity, inclusion, and the inequalities that persist in our community. That is a large part of what drew me back to the university.
I also recognize that this anniversary is fraught, for all sorts of reasons. It will test us as a community, but I hope and believe we will rise to the challenge.
I hope that the precautions we are taking end up being unnecessary. But please know that we are taking them now precisely with the hope that our community can gather and engage in important expressive activities to mark this anniversary.
As always, I will keep sharing important updates as they come up, and I encourage anyone who is interested to visit UVA Today for more information.
Aug. 8, 2018. Patrick D. Hogan, executive vice president and chief operating officer, and Gloria S. Graham, associate vice president for safety and security, delivered the following message to the University community on preparations for the weekend of Aug. 10-12, 2018.
Members of the University community,
This is the third in a series of updates from us on what we know about this weekend and what you can expect. Our top priority remains keeping the community safe, and we’re doing that in a few ways.
Law enforcement presence
We continue to work with the city of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and state and national law enforcement. As part of our preparations, you will begin to see more law enforcement on Grounds and around town – including some members of the team who will be staying in University housing throughout the weekend so they can respond quickly to an emergency. In some cases, these officers will be given assignments that require them to wear personal protective equipment.
The job of law enforcement will be to address illegal behavior, and do so in a way that is impartial, responsible, reasonable, and fair.
To make sure we can respond quickly to whatever happens, the city, county and state have declared a local state of emergency. This declaration is another way to be proactive and to make sure we have every resource at our disposal in case of an emergency. At this point it has not altered the University’s operations, and any changes to the operating schedule due to an emergency or other public safety issue will be posted on the University’s Operation Status Board website.
Security will be tighter for public university events and activities this weekend, including Saturday morning’s ticketed event at Old Cabell Hall. As part of these restrictions, the following items will not be allowed on University property between now and Monday, Aug. 13 at 7 a.m.
BB Guns, Pellet Guns, Air Rifles or Pistols, Paintball Guns, Nun Chucks, Tasers, Stun Guns, Heavy Gauge Metal Chains, Lengths of Lumber or Wood, Poles, Bricks, Rocks, Metal Beverage or Food Cans or Containers (used for any purpose other than consumption of food or drinks), Glass Bottles, Axes, Axe Handles, Hatchets, Ice Picks, Acidic or Caustic Materials, Hazardous or Flammable or Combustible Liquids, Skateboards, Swords, Knives, Daggers, Razor Blades or Other Sharp Items, Metal Pipes, Pepper or Bear Spray, Mace, Aerosol Sprays, Catapults, Wrist Rockets, Bats, Sticks, Clubs, Drones, Explosives, Fireworks, Open Fire or Open Flames, and Any Other Item Considered an “Implement of Riot.”
Items like glass bottles, metal beverage and food containers, and personal toiletries will be allowed as long as they’re being used for their intended purpose.
Access to the following areas will be limited starting now and continuing through the weekend:
- Certain areas of the upper plaza surrounding the Jefferson statue on the north side of the Rotunda will be restricted until Monday, Aug. 13 at 7 a.m.
- On Saturday, Aug. 11, access to the Lawn will be limited to residents and attendees for the ticketed event between 6 a.m. and 12 p.m.
- Activities and events in the Academical Village, Rotunda and North Plaza will be subject to higher security until Monday, Aug. 13 at 7 a.m. This includes extending the existing prohibition of firearms to the North Plaza until Monday, Aug. 13 at 7 a.m.
- The City of Charlottesville has posted information about road closures and restricted areas on its website. If you expect to be downtown, please be sure to check this webpage for answers to questions and other updates.
You can find more information about both increased security and access restrictions here.
Notifications and sharing information
In case of emergency, the University will notify people through text and email alerts, as well as screens across Grounds. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to subscribe to UVA Alerts through the Office of Safety and Emergency Preparedness website. The University has also set up a dedicated UVA Today webpage with all official University communications.
You can also follow the UVA Office of Safety and Emergency Preparedness Twitter account (@UVASafety) for important safety updates. The University’s official Twitter (@UVA) and Facebook accounts will also be sharing information.
As President Ryan said in his message to the University community yesterday, our top priority is your safety. We appreciate your help, and we will continue to share any useful information as it comes up.
Patrick D. Hogan
Executive Vice President and COO
Gloria S. Graham
Associate Vice President for Safety and Security
Aug. 7, 2018. President James E. Ryan delivered the following message to the University community on Tuesday.
To the University community,
As we approach the anniversary of the neo-Nazi and white supremacist marches last August, I want to share an update on what we know and what you can expect.
First, our top priority is to keep people safe. I was briefed throughout the transition on steps being taken to protect our community, and I have continued to get updates over the past week.
As part of our preparations, UVA is working with the city of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and state and national law enforcement to make sure we have every resource at our disposal in case of an emergency. Our goal is to maintain a reasonable police presence, but to take all precautions to ensure safety, there will be more law enforcement officers than usual on Grounds and some will be given assignments that require them to wear personal protective equipment. Access to some roads, public spaces, and buildings may also be limited, although we will do everything we can to keep UVA operating as normally as possible.
Beyond safety and security, this weekend will also be an opportunity to remember and honor those who were killed and injured a year ago, reflect on what happened, and begin to chart a path forward.
As part of this, UVA will be hosting an event at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 11, called “The Hope that Summons Us: A Morning of Reflection and Renewal.” Our goal is to bring members of the University and Charlottesville communities together, and if you are not already planning to attend, I encourage you to watch it live on UVA’s Facebook page.
Although there is a good deal of uncertainty with respect to this weekend, there is little doubt that it will be difficult and challenging along a number of dimensions. While UVA and Charlottesville are as prepared as we can be, it will remain a fluid and dynamic situation. What I can promise you is that we are doing everything we can to make sure this weekend is marked not with violence, but with reflection, renewal, and hope. And I ask you, sincerely, for your help in achieving this goal. As a very new president, I hope this will be an opportunity for all of us to come together to mark the past and, just as importantly, to start thinking about the path forward.
In the coming days you will be getting more specific updates about what to expect, and I will keep sharing any important information not already shared by others.
Thanks to the many individuals involved in planning and preparation for this weekend and to all of you for your commitment to the welfare of our community.
Aug. 6, 2018. Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer Patricia Lampkin delivered the following message to parents. It includes the message delivered to students by Dean of Students Allen Groves.
While early August is normally a relatively quiet time on the UVA Grounds, that was not the case a year ago, and it is not the case this year. For this reason, I am writing to bring you up to date on important safety matters and to share with you messages your student recently has received.
This coming weekend of August 10-12 marks one year since the University and city of Charlottesville became the focus of national and international attention. The violent actions of white supremacist and neo-Nazi marchers on Grounds and in downtown Charlottesville resulted in the deaths of three people, injuries to several others (including students struck by the same car that killed Heather Heyer), and emotional pain for those who witnessed the events in person or in the media.
As a University, we have been committed for a long time to making safety a priority. Since last year, the city and University have adopted new policies and protocols. New safety precautions are in place, and new policies seek to appropriately balance important free speech rights in a public institution with a safety-oriented framework for when, where, and how protests may occur on our Grounds.
Given the upcoming one-year anniversary of last year's events, the University has been working with local, state, and national officials to prepare for this weekend. As we are telling your student, it is unpredictable what may transpire. We can say with certainty that this will not be a normal weekend in Charlottesville.
Students have received two messages so far about the weekend, and earlier today, University Dean of Students Allen Groves sent the below message to upperclass and graduate students (he sent a slightly different version to new first-year and transfer students).
Taking responsibility for one's personal safety is one of the primary messages being shared with students who may be on Grounds or in Charlottesville this weekend. Dean Groves has listed a variety of available resources where students can receive up-to-date information about activities in the city or at UVA. Since Summer Session ends on Friday and undergraduate classes are not yet in session, students who are here should familiarize themselves with all of these resources and how to learn if operating changes occur.
On Saturday morning, in recognizing the one-year anniversary, the University is hosting a program, “The Hope that Summons Us: A Morning of Reflection and Renewal” from 9 to 10 a.m. The program is being live-streamed through virginia.edu/live and through the University's Facebook page; I invite you to watch. If you entered the lottery to attend the event and received a ticket, then you have received an email with further details, including security measures that will be in place.
We are looking forward to the start of the new academic year later this month when the Grounds will truly come back to life with the arrival of all our students. We remain grateful for your support as parents and for sharing your students with us.
Patricia M. Lampkin
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer
I hope you have enjoyed your summer break and are looking forward to a new academic year. If you have already returned to Grounds or will do so later this week, I ask you to take a few minutes to read this important message.
Last year, the weekend of August 11-12 ruptured any sense of late-summer peace and normalcy for our University and the broader local community. This weekend marks one year since those ugly events. The violent actions of white supremacist and neo-Nazi marchers on Grounds and in downtown Charlottesville resulted in the deaths of three people, injuries to several others (including students struck by the same car that killed Heather Heyer), and a great deal of emotional pain for many who witnessed the events in person or in the media.
The intervening months have led to study, reflection, and changes in University and city policies and protocols. New safety precautions are in place, and new policies seek to appropriately balance important free speech rights in a public institution with a safety-oriented framework for when, where, and how protests may occur on our Grounds. Despite all that occurred last August, our community has displayed remarkable resilience. We still face racism and other deeply disturbing issues as a broader community, and while positive gains have been made, eradicating these stains on society remains an unfulfilled goal. As we continue this important work, the University must always remain committed to the values of mutual respect, inclusion, and diversity that define us as a community of scholars.
Preparation for this Weekend
On a practical level, the University, city of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, Commonwealth of Virginia, and federal partners have been engaged for some time in preparation for this anniversary weekend, adopting a unified plan around law enforcement, coordination with state and national resources, and monitoring for any activity that may lead to violence or threaten the safety of citizens. The University is an active partner with these entities on matters of public safety.
Despite the best planning and preparation, it remains unknown what may transpire over the weekend. We do know this will not be a normal weekend in Charlottesville. The city is exercising an abundance of caution, with plans already under way to close streets to vehicular traffic in areas near Downtown Charlottesville. Officials have said they will respond quickly to changing situations in the interest of public safety.
Individual Preparation and Responsibility
If you do plan to be in the Charlottesville area later this week, individual preparation is vital. Please approach the weekend from a place of personal responsibility for safety. This includes learning as much as you can about safety measures, being smart about your activities, and staying in touch through social media about any emergency situations or changing conditions. A city-hosted website, #ResilientCville, is being updated regularly to keep citizens informed. Please check in with this website if you have questions about closures, programs, or other matters related to the weekend. In addition, be certain you are signed up to receive text messages via UVA Alerts .
Restrictions at UVA
As for the UVA Grounds, increased police and security staff will be visible throughout the weekend. The following restrictions will be in place for the Lawn and Rotunda:
- Access to certain areas of the upper plaza surrounding the statue on the north side of the Rotunda will be limited beginning Friday, August 10, at 5:00 p.m. through Monday, August 13, at 7:00 a.m.
- Access to the Lawn will be limited to Lawn residents and attendees for a ticketed event beginning Saturday, August 11, at 6:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon that day. If you entered the lottery for the event (“The Hope that Summons Us: A Morning of Reflection and Renewal”) and were successful in securing a ticket, you will have received an email with further details about the event and security. The University’s clear bag policy will be in effect. You also can watch the program via livestream on UVA’s Facebook page or from the link embedded on virginia.edu/live.
- University Transit System will operate on Friday until 10 p.m., but there will be no service on Saturday or Sunday, in accordance with the normal summer schedule. Current plans call for Safe Ride to operate normally: Friday into Saturday morning (10 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.) and Saturday night into Sunday morning and Sunday night into Monday morning (12:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.). The UVA Operations Status Board will provide updates on any changes.
Dealing with Trauma and Anniversary Reactions
Many strong emotions remain concerning what occurred last year, and those emotions will resurface for many as the weekend approaches. According to our experts in Counseling & Psychological Services, the anniversary of a traumatic event can prompt a range of feelings. Distressing memories may cause people to feel as if they are reliving the event; some may become alert to the possibility the event might occur again. Regardless of whether personally witnessing violence or hearing about it through the media or other sources, some individuals will feel triggered as the weekend approaches.
CAPS has created a web page describing services they will be providing throughout the weekend, including drop-in support groups, walk-in support, and follow-up. This page also describes strategies for coping with trauma and related reactions. If you would benefit from making an appointment with a member of the CAPS team, please call them at 434-243-5150. After-hours help is available by calling this same number. Additionally, a number of Charlottesville community resources are available on the Help Happens Here website.
Below, you will find a list of quick reminders and resources you may find helpful for potential situations that could arise this weekend. This list also can be useful for other times, here or elsewhere.
In closing, I emphasize the importance of thinking carefully about your own safety if you will be in town this weekend. Public safety officials from the University, localities, and state will be present in increased numbers and in highly visible ways, but it is critical that each of us also considers their own personal safety plan and acts accordingly.
This is a welcoming community and no acts of violence or hatred by any individual or group can alter our core values and commitment to one another. Times of challenge often bring out the best in each of us and can certainly help us focus on the things that truly matter. We have much to look forward to in the coming academic year, including reconnecting with friends after the summer break. I look forward to welcoming a new class of incoming students in a few weeks, and to welcoming back those of you returning for another year at the University.
With warm regards to each of you,
Allen W. Groves
University Dean of Students
Reminders and Resources
- If you see suspicious activity: Call 911
- Sign up for UVA Alerts
- Information about street closures, programming, or other details about the weekend of August 10-12
- UVA Operations Status Board for schedule changes
- UVA social media:
- CAPS support
- Charlottesville community mental health resources
- UVA policies and regulations on free speech
- Office of Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights resources for a resilient UVA community
- Office of the Dean of Students resources
- UVA Submit a Tip to submit secure and anonymous tips to law enforcement at UVA
- Just Report It system for reporting acts of bias that do not require immediate police intervention
July 25, 2018. Patrick D. Hogan, executive vice president and chief operating officer, and Gloria S. Graham, associate vice president for safety and security, delivered the following message to the University community on preparations for the weekend of Aug. 10-12, 2018.
Members of the University Community,
Since we last wrote to you earlier this month, we have continued to work closely with local and state agencies to prepare for the weekend of August 10 with safety as our shared priority. We have participated in public briefings with these partners and will continue to meet with both University and community groups in the coming weeks.
On Tuesday in Charlottesville federal court, Jason Kessler effectively withdrew his legal challenge for a permit to hold a demonstration in downtown Charlottesville on August 11 and 12. Even with this new development, public safety partners throughout the state and the University continue to prepare for events. The plans include space restrictions on Grounds and in the City of Charlottesville.
Space restrictions and road closures will continue to evolve in the days leading up to the August 10-12 weekend. As of today, the following restrictions are known:
- Beginning August 10 at 5:00 pm through August 13 at 7:00 am access to the plaza on the North side of the Rotunda will be restricted.
- Beginning August 11 at 6:00 am through August 11 at 12:00 pm access to the Lawn will be limited to attendees for a ticketed event and Lawn residents.
- The City of Charlottesville has posted information about road closures and restricted areas on this website. If you expect to be downtown, please be sure to check this site for updates.
Safety is a shared responsibility. We are committed to providing information that allows you to make informed, personal decisions regarding your own safety. We are working as members of the unified team to develop and implement safety and security plans to mitigate and respond to acts of violence and destruction of property. It is anticipated that people will be participating in demonstration-related activities in the Charlottesville area throughout the weekend of August 10 – 12. The intent and actions of those individuals cannot be definitively predicted. However, we know that previously in Charlottesville and during other events throughout the country violence has occurred. We encourage members of our community to develop and maintain situational awareness of any events in which they decide to participate.
Please also take time to familiarize yourself with the University’s policies so that you understand what is permissible on Grounds and what is not. Links to relevant policies and information about how to report incidents are posted at freespeech.virginia.edu. You should expect to see increased police and security presence both on Grounds and in the community throughout the weekend and the days surrounding it.
If you see something that concerns you, say something. Call 911 in emergency situations and use online resources or non-emergency phone numbers listed on the free speech website to report other incidents.
We are committed to doing everything we can to keep our community safe and providing information for individuals to make decisions regarding their plans for these days. We appreciate your partnership in this effort, both as it relates to the weekend of August 10 and throughout the year.
July 20, 2018. Communication from the Office of the President to the University community.
Dear Members of the University Community:
On Saturday, August 11, 2018, at 9 a.m., members of the University and Charlottesville communities will gather for a commemorative event that will feature reflections on the events of last August and how our shared values will help guide our future actions. The Hope that Summons Us: A Morning of Reflection and Renewal will take place in Old Cabell Hall Auditorium, and will feature remarks by President-Elect James E. Ryan, who will begin his term as President on August 1, performances by community choral groups, and poetry readings. The event will conclude with a communal breakfast.
You are invited to register for an opportunity to attend The Hope that Summons Us: A Morning of Reflection & Renewal. Depending on the volume of ticket requests, some ticketing may be determined from a lottery selection. Registrations will be accepted through Friday, July 27 at 12 p.m. Tickets and additional information will be sent to those selected to receive a ticket by Friday, August 3.
Online registration is available here.
July 10, 2018. Patrick D. Hogan, executive vice president and chief operating officer, and Gloria S. Graham, associate vice president for safety and security, delivered the following message to the University community on preparations for the weekend of Aug. 10-12.
Members of the University Community,
With the one-year anniversary of the violence last August approaching, we write to provide an update regarding the University’s safety and emergency preparedness efforts for the weekend of August 10. The region is anticipating individuals gathering in Charlottesville, and several community groups are holding events throughout the weekend.
University officials have been meeting regularly with their counterparts at the state and local levels, including law enforcement, first responders and emergency management.
The Regional Emergency Operations Center will be activated throughout the weekend of August 10-12. Public safety representatives from the City of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, University of Virginia Police, and Virginia State Police will be working together to coordinate safety and emergency management efforts. The University’s Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT) will also be activated that weekend. At this time, there is no information that indicates there will be planned demonstrations on Grounds.
The City of Charlottesville will host a public forum to discuss preparedness efforts on Thursday, July 12 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church. The forum will be livestreamed on Facebook and recorded for re-broadcast on local Channel 10.
The city has launched a dedicated website, www.charlottesville.org/resilientcville, with important resources and other information regarding the anniversary. The website includes Frequently Asked Questions on community safety and preparedness and what to expect that weekend. We encourage every member of the University community to visit this website.
We will continue to provide additional community updates as the anniversary approaches. The safety and well-being of every member of the University community remains our top priority.