Announcements

Announcements

UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA POLICY ON PROTESTS, DEMONSTRATIONS AND OTHER EXPRESSIVE ACTIVITIES DURING FINALS WEEKEND

May 10th, 2013

The University of Virginia respects and encourages free expressive activity by its students, faculty, and staff. At the same time, consistent with its educational mission, the University has established reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on such activities on University Grounds to assure that such activities are undertaken in ways that avoid disruption of University operations, and are consistent with its educational, employment, and safety responsibilities to its students, faculty, and staff.

Finals Weekend always creates special challenges for the University because of the great number of activities occurring during that period across University Grounds, and the large number of people attending them. Because of this the University has created the following policy that is specific to Finals Weekend. During Finals Weekend, this policy supersedes all other policies regarding use of University Grounds and facilities to the extent such policies may be inconsistent with this one.

  • Attendance at Finals Weekend events and activities is by invitation only unless otherwise noted. Those in attendance without having been invited or otherwise having been authorized to attend may be asked to leave if, in the judgment of the University, their presence creates disruption, impedes movement of invited guests from place to place, or otherwise creates unacceptable conditions for participants or invited visitors.
  • Because of the large crowds and multiple venues that are typical of Finals Weekend, activities that otherwise may be consistent with University policy may be impermissible during that period.
  • Items currently approved and authorized to be carried in the Academic Procession are placards that are not attached to sticks, and balloons (including inflated surgical gloves), as long as those placards and balloons are not so large or unwieldy as to obstruct or impede the procession and do not otherwise pose a safety risk.
  • Items held or carried must not obscure the view of participants or invited visitors or interfere with the ceremonies.
  • Activities of participants or invited visitors must not interfere with Finals Weekend events and activities.
  • No non-University commercial solicitation will be allowed on University Grounds during Finals Weekend.
  • Protests, demonstrations, and other expressive activities may take place during Finals Weekend within the following area of University Grounds : in the area bounded by Alderman Library, Monroe Hall, Peabody Hall, Special Collections Library, and McCormick Road (subject to space needed for emergency medical services). If Valedictory Exercises or Final Exercises are moved to the John Paul Jones Arena, the designated area is the grassy area outside the north entrance of University Hall.
  • Even within this designated area, protests, demonstrations and other expressive activities, including distribution of leaflets or other written materials, may not:
    • Block or impede pedestrian or vehicular traffic along streets and sidewalks;
    • Involve placement of tents or other temporary structures;
    • Interfere with or impede Finals Weekend events and activities;
    • Use sound amplification devices; or
    • Violate applicable law or University rules, regulations, or procedures.
  • Persons in violation of this policy either will be instructed to bring their activities into compliance with the requirements set forth above, or asked to leave. If such persons do not comply with the University’s request, they may be arrested and/or charged with violating the University’s Standards of Conduct, if applicable.

For more information, go to the Final Exercises Website.

Statement of University Dean of Students Allen Groves on the May 1, 2013 Vandalizing of Beta Bridge

May 2nd, 2013

On Wednesday morning, May 1, many of us awoke to find two slurs painted on Beta Bridge, a public space that has served for so many years as a place to promote this special, inclusive community.  These slurs, targeting our African-American and LGBTQ students, are repugnant to our shared values at the University.  We should rightly condemn them.

When I was first made aware of the slurs yesterday morning, I immediately directed my staff in Student Activities to do two things: repaint the bridge so that the slurs would have a very short time within which they were visible, and begin an investigation in an attempt to determine who might be responsible for painting them.  Although we must remain mindful that some ugly or repugnant speech may be constitutionally protected and thus outside our ability to sanction, that does not preclude us from making a firm statement of condemnation in response.

We should also be mindful of several things regarding the timing and possible motivations of the person or persons who did this.  We do not know if they were students, or if it was an individual acting alone or in concert with a few others.  Given the timing of the act, coming as students face the pressure of final examinations, I suspect that it was designed to cause distress and anxiety in certain student communities at a critical juncture.  I also suspect that it was intended to drive a wedge between members of our community, given the attempt to attribute it to a fraternal organization on Grounds.  We must maintain a clear perspective and not let the acts of one or a few cowards painting two slurs in the cover of darkness create anxiety, mistrust or discord in what each of us knows is a welcoming, supportive and vibrantly diverse University community of 21,000 students and many thousands of faculty, staff and Charlottesville neighbors.  Our message needs to remain that excellence is the sole standard for membership in the University community, and a diverse population that reflects the world in which our students will work and live after college is the best environment within which to learn while here.

Please know that the University’s commitment to these shared values remains unshaken and firm.

Sincerely,
Allen W. Groves
University Dean of Students