With images still fresh from a hate-filled torch rally in front of the Rotunda, and hours after a white supremacist’s car fatally slammed into a downtown crowd, UVA Alumni Association president Jenifer Andrasko wrote alumni around the world. Almost instantaneously, reaction flooded in. Here’s a small sampling of what you said.
“Are there deeds that the Alumni Association with its resources can undertake to offer a bold expression against these forces of intolerance? I personally would love to see (and help fund) a new monument or plaque erected to celebrate the heroism of the regular students who circled the Jefferson statue last night and provided a moment of resistance to the evil that crept into the heart of the University.
Let's daunt the forces of darkness with a lasting legacy of enlightenment.”
—Gavin Watson (Col ’92)
“As an alumna (and Latina), I am stunned, embarrassed and angry at these events and at the fact that people with these beliefs are using the grounds of the University to spread their venom. This is simply unacceptable.”
—Maria C. Freire (Grad ’81)
“I appreciate how quickly you responded to share a statement with our UVA community, but I would caution that passively referencing ‘outbreaks of violence between the alt-right and counter-protesters, including one fatality’ is deficient in important and meaningful ways.
White supremacists did not come here with the intent of holding a rally. They came with the explicit intention of inciting violence, and they succeeded. A woman was murdered by a white supremacist in a premeditated act of domestic terrorism, just as 9 people were murdered in a church in Charleston 2 years ago.
At this tragic and heartbreaking moment, it is of immense importance for UVA community to explicitly name this terror. I recommend to you the statement from Dean [Risa] Goluboff to the Law School community, where she stated, ‘I am personally appalled at the attempts by white supremacists to instill fear and provoke violence in our community. The University and Charlottesville have not invited such hatred and repudiate it entirely.’”
—Cale Jaffe (Law ’01)
“In light of recent events in Charlottesville, I would like to suggest that the University take this opportunity to set up a series of free and open seminars or events to highlight minority voices and experiences in the community. This would allow students and local residents to share fears, concerns, and hopes in a safe space, as well as serve to stimulate dialogue and promote healing. As a Charlottesville native and a University of Virginia alumna, I have witnessed the separation from the University that the larger Charlottesville community sometimes feels. The University now has a chance to provide a platform for those who would like to speak to this tragedy specifically and to race relations in Charlottesville more generally. In addition, holding these sort of events would allow the University to confront its own roots and to effectively express, 'This is not who we are anymore.'”
—Mariel Sullivan (Col ’16)
“Thank you for your email and for supporting the ‘rights to freedom and the pursuit of happiness’ that Jefferson espoused so eloquently at the founding of our nation. Many years ago, in 1968, as President of the IFC when the University was first integrated, a number of us including myself stood up to allow and mandate that fraternity parties become integrated for all University students. We addressed the prejudice and racism by some specific groups head-on. As a current Superintendent of Schools for 24 years, I do think your message would be even more powerful if you condemned the KKK and neo-Nazis by name. I believe you would have solid alumni support in doing so, and moreover, believe that is exactly the right thing to do.”
—Dr. Geoff Gordon (Col ’68)
“We hope our core values you articulated so well of free speech and civil discourse, reason and enlightenment, inclusiveness and mutual respect will be reported accurately in the press and have a profound and salutary effect on all.”
—Sam Blair (Engr ’79)
“It has been shocking to see these events, and saddening to think about how the hate and bigotry that these outsiders have brought into Charlottesville may taint some people’s views of Charlottesville and the University of Virginia. Please know that so many of us alumni support the stance that the University is taking to condemn the views of the alt-right protestors and to reaffirm and promote how UVA values diversity, inclusiveness, equality and justice. “
—Scott A. Walsh (Darden ’01)
“I know my son, Charles W. Moran (Engr ’14) is grieving that these events occurred at a place that nurtured his growth into the fine young man he is; and I, UVA Law 1979, received many lessons about right reasoning, tolerance and dignity from my time in Charlottesville. We will remember these things and consider the events of the weekend with lamentation but also as aberrations.”
—David E. Moran (Law ’79)
“A long time ago, I was extremely fortunate to call 21 West Lawn home for my last year at UVA. Thus, because of this, I cannot bring myself to watch any footage from last Friday evening’s march on the Lawn by the white supremacists and Nazis. I just can’t let those images enter my mind and ruin a truly special experience.”
—Rick Schwitzer (Com ’83)
“Fellow alumni, I was also shocked and saddened to see the reports of Today's events in Charlottesville. I do not support messages of bigotry and intolerance purporting to support any platform or point of view. I deplore the use of violence and intimidation in support of any speech. These have no place in civil discourse. But, having graduated from the School of Law over 50 years ago, I am rather disappointed in many of the statements that have been made concerning these events. President Andrasko states above, ‘[W]e hold true to those core values that mean so much on these Grounds and in our community: free speech and civil discourse, reason and enlightenment, inclusiveness and mutual respect.’ She correctly points out that statements made, and apparently ideologies and beliefs held by many of those participating in these events, are inconsistent with those core values. First among these values is free speech. This value has for at least the last decade been under attack by people of all ideological and political persuasions. Folks have been expressing and forcefully promoting the view that ‘If you disagree with me, shut up!’ This view is dangerous; it threatens the very foundation of our liberty. Suppression of free speech, no matter the content of the speech, is egregiously inconsistent with American values and should be rapidly and energetically discouraged. It actually promotes divisiveness.”
—Michael C. Norton (Law ’66)
“My first thought was for all of us whose hearts are heavy today seeing this happen to our beloved town and University—and country—and even sadder that the very president of our country is not man enough or Honorable enough to stand up and ‘speak truth to power’ to condemn the forces of hate and white supremacy. For myself and all those for whom Mr. Jefferson's University will also hold a special place in our minds and hearts, this is a sad day indeed. This is SO against all the values espoused from the first day we all arrived in Charlottesville, and violates all the principles that I continue to hold dear.
Even Mr. Jefferson is rolling over in his grave tonight—this is neither his Charlottesville nor his America.”
—Kathlyn Hyatt Stewart (Col ’78)
“I'm profoundly saddened and shocked by this act of hatred on the Grounds. It's also an opportunity for UVA to be a beacon of hope for all who believe in a free, compassionate and diverse society. Seize the moment to raise voices against hate.”
—Adrienne Positan Rusbarsky (Col ’84)
“Of all places on earth, Charlottesville would have to be one of the most loved and lovable towns, where hatred and discrimination of others should be the furthest sentiments.
Like many others students and graduates, resident Americans or members of the University whose homes are in other places I cannot think of a worse situation than that which occurred last weekend.
The University must remain open to students and their teachers, and must show those who would think otherwise that hatred and mindlessness will never succeed over virtue and love.
There will be projects, discussions even courses which will arise from the dreadful events as the days and years go by. They will be a necessary exercise in reconciliation with, and even conversion of, those who would try to seek further destructive and tragic outcomes.”
—Simon Reeves (Law ’69)
“As an alumnus and past faculty member living in Australia, I never thought that such deliberate and provocative intolerance would ever show its face on Jefferson's campus in Charlottesville. We have come a long way since the day in 1966 when I saw an anti-war demonstration outside the Alderman library composed of about seven people, one with a child in a pram, and witnessed the casual contempt directed at them by fellow students. UVA has made a marvelous contribution to the humanities (my field is English literature) but it must now take on the additional burden of enlightening those who would deny all those things you reaffirm, chiefly reason and tolerance. Without these, we are in dire straits indeed. Condemning the torch-bearers is not enough. Their beliefs, however inarticulate and hateful, must be countered point by point. Our arguments must prevail.”
—Clive Probyn (Grad ’66)
For More Info
- Aftermath: News, information, resources and more in the wake of recent events.
- Fighting Fire with Fellowship: The UVA community reclaims a higher Grounds, seeking to supplant images of angry torch-bearers with scenes of peace.
- When Hate Came to Town: University community comes together after supremacists march on Rotunda, wreak havoc downtown