Anger after assault shifts to efforts to
Lundy, far right, attended a community response to her attack,
held in Newcomb Hall Ballroom Feb. 26. A candidate for Student
Council, Lundy reported being attacked on Grounds shortly
before 2 a.m. that day. Lundy said the assailant used a racial
slur in reference to the election.
break gave the University community a chance to move from the
initial shock and outrage at the report of a racially motivated
assault on a student to efforts at healing and raising awareness
of the Universitys diversity needs.
John T. Casteen III, who met with parents of African-American
students Sunday, distributed a letter to students returning from
spring break detailing activities and considerations in the wake
of the attack. He urged students to get involved, learn U.Va.s
history and work toward openness and understanding.
facing hard issues, working together and building on the strengths
of the community, we can together bring about positive change,
he said. (Excerpts from Casteens statement are in a separate
story; the full text and other statements are on the Universitys
Voices of Diversity Web site, http://www.virginia.edu/uvadiversity)
Feb. 26, Daisy Lundy, a candidate for Student Council who is of
African-American and Korean heritage, reported being attacked
shortly before 2 a.m. in Poe Alley by an assailant who allegedly
used a racial slur in reference to the hotly contested election.
She was treated for minor injuries at the U.Va. Medical Center
incident is being investigated as a hate crime, and the FBI is
working with University Police.
$22,750 reward has been offered for information leading to an
arrest and conviction. Anyone with information can call the University
Police tip line at 924-7166 or Crimestoppers at 977-4000, or provide
an online tip at http://www.virginia.edu/uvapolice/.
from President Casteen
In a March 9 letter to students returning from spring break,
U.Va. President John T.Casteen III detailed activities and
concerns in the wake of the Feb. 26 incident. Here are excerpts:
the [spring] break, University officials and others, including
students, parents and police officials, have worked to address
immediate concerns about the attack and the circumstances
that preceded it. This letter includes information that
may be of immediate use to you. Longer-term actions, including
redoubled efforts to teach the values of human differences,
of mutual respect and of a community grounded in trust,
openness and inclusiveness, will follow.
initiatives will take time, and they will require both student
and University actions. As the final weeks of this semester
get under way, I ask each of you to make a personal commitment
to become involved. Learn the racial history that makes
hate crimes and racial intolerance such serious matters
here and in Virginia generally. Engage in dialogue with
persons who are different from you, and by that means try
to understand our community and yourself in larger contexts.
Work toward openness and understanding as the appropriate
alternatives to silence and anger in a community of trust.
By facing hard issues, working together and building on
the strengths of the community, we can together bring about
is a watershed moment for the University community as we
face complex issues and seek solutions to them. These issues
do not have short-term fixes. We need to work from a common
assumption about our community: That there is no place here
for intolerance, for bigotry, for hatred of the kind that
we are a moral community, because we believe in our honor
system and the values it teaches, each of us has a personal
stake in this effort to understand how we can recapture
the vision of justice and fairness and shared responsibility
that ought rightly to bind us together. Each can contribute
to this weeks events. Take part. Speak out. Take on
your share of the task of learning from what has happened,
setting affirmative directions for the future, and then
building that future. Dont let this unique moment
in our history pass you by.
student Ed Hallen sounded the theme of healing when he announced
Monday that he was withdrawing as a candidate for president of
Student Council. He and Lundy were locked in a two-day runoff
when the assault occurred. The election was postponed until after
spring break, and with Hallens withdrawal Student Council
announced Lundy the winner.
race for the Student Council presidency began with a focus on
our ability as students to make this University a better place,
Hallen said in a statement. While the events of these past
few weeks have obscured this focus, the race must end with its
initial emphasis. Our coming together as a community is far more
important than a divisive student election.
who said she received more than 1,000 e-mails and letters over
spring break, said too much attention has been focused on her
and not enough on the larger problem of exclusion that has
plagued our University for far too long.
This is the story of our University undergoing change and
learning how to weave diversity into its everyday fabric. Understanding
the story, the history of what led to this incident, is imperative
in moving forward, said Lundy, a second-year student.
need to come together and move forward as a community led University
officials to respond within hours of the attack. They met with
students, reassured them about safety measures, condemned the
assault and emphasized the need to channel sadness and anger in
M. Lampkin, vice president for student affairs, pledged, People
at all levels of the institution are committed to bringing about
positive change that goes beyond mere talk about diversity.
700 students, faculty and staff packed the Newcomb Hall ballroom
the afternoon of the assault for a Community Reflection
Lovelace, a friend of Lundys and student representative
on the Board of Visitors, called for critical thinking about student
government, the Universitys racial history and the gender
and racial makeup of the Board of Visitors.
Senate Chairman Michael J. Smith, speaking after the main session,
said, All the faculty is shocked and dismayed and heartsick
at these events. We like to think of the University as an enclave
that is free of this.
Monday, students returned from break to find Casteens message,
a round of mass meetings for change and a march and
vigil among events slated for the week.
meetings, which spanned four sessions over three days, were coordinated
by groups of concerned students, while Wednesdays march
against racial hatred and vigil were organized by the Committee
for Progress on Race, a group of Law School students and faculty
formed immediately after the assault.
is a beginning, not an end, said Michael Signer, CPRs
coordinator, on Monday. The march will serve to show our
spirit and purpose in the face of this outrage, but it will only
lead in to a series of long-term initiatives to address systemic
problems of race at the law school in the curriculum, the
faculty, and the student body.
march was scheduled to start at three points around the University
and converge at the Rotunda for the vigil, which was to include
several speakers. (Inside UVAs deadline did not allow coverage
of the march and vigil, but a full report is on Top News Dailys
Web site, http://www.virginia.edu/topnews).
Casteen invoked the Honor System in his letter (excerpted below)
to students. Lundy told police about threatening phone calls that
preceded the attack, and Casteen urged anyone with information
about the calls or the assault to tell authorities.
threatening telephone calls and this assault challenge both personal
and the community of trust itself, he said.