University of Virginia Requests Independent External Review of Nov. 13 Tragedy

November 17, 2022
Steps covered with flowers and candles

University leaders said they will provide information that can be released publicly in a summary finding once the review is complete. (Photo by Emily Faith Morgan, University Communications)

Today, University of Virginia President Jim Ryan and University Rector Whitt Clement sent a letter to Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares requesting the appointment of special counsel to conduct an independent, external review of the events surrounding the tragic events that occurred on the University’s Grounds on the evening of Nov. 13.

That request was approved by mid-afternoon by Miyares’s office.

“The University of Virginia community remains in a state of shock and mourning after three members of our community were killed and another two were seriously wounded on Nov. 13,” Ryan said. “In the wake of that tragedy, our top priority has been offering students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni the support and resources they need as they continue to grieve and process this terrible tragedy.”

“The University’s leadership and the Board of Visitors agree that the best way forward is a rigorous external review conducted by a special counsel appointed by the Virginia Attorney General,” he said.

The Attorney General has the authority to appoint special counsel to serve state agencies under specific circumstances. In this case, the University’s letter requested the appointment of a firm with sufficient expertise and resources to rigorously review the University’s actions before, during and after the shooting.

“After a tragedy of this nature, it is important for the affected institution to take a hard look at what circumstances led up to the event and, how the University responded in the moment,” Clement said. “Once an external review commences, we expect it to be the central avenue by which we gain a deeper understanding about what led to this tragic event. While many details of the review will involve protected student information or other confidential details, the University will provide as much information as we can through a summary report of the review’s findings and recommendations, once it is complete.”

After approval of the request, the Attorney General will appoint an external firm to begin the review process.

Ryan first spoke of the external review in a video message to the University community on Wednesday evening.

Media Contact