March 14-27, 2003
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Healing: Anger after assault shifts to efforts to heal
Faculty still holding firm
Digest -- U.Va. news daily
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Bibliophiles’ Delight
Critical: South African nursing officials discuss impact of health care shortage on continent’s AIDS crisis
Honor committee produces CD, invites faculty to trials
Keys to motivation, self-knowledge lie in the unconscious, psychologist says
Virtual reality in music
Historian to discuss origins of human rights
Author Tom Clancy to be ‘Clear and Present’ at U.Va. March 21
Political humor: A tribute to Herblock
Finding history among the trees
Healing
Anger after assault shifts to efforts to heal
Daisy Lundy, far right, attended a community response to her attack, held in Newcomb Hall Ballroom Feb. 26.
Rachel Zahumensky
Daisy 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.

Staff Report

Spring 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 University’s diversity needs.

President 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.

“By facing hard issues, working together and building on the strengths of the community, we can together bring about positive change,” he said. (Excerpts from Casteen’s statement are in a separate story; the full text and other statements are on the University’s “Voices of Diversity” Web site, http://www.virginia.edu/uvadiversity)

On 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 and released.

The incident is being investigated as a hate crime, and the FBI is working with University Police.

A $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/.

Letter 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:

During 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.

These 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 positive change. …

This 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 fuels racism.

Because 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 week’s 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. Don’t let this unique moment in our history pass you by.

Third-year 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 Hallen’s withdrawal Student Council announced Lundy the winner.

“The 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.”

Lundy, 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.

The 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 constructive ways.

Patricia 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.”

About 700 students, faculty and staff packed the Newcomb Hall ballroom the afternoon of the assault for a “Community Reflection and Response.”

Tim Lovelace, a friend of Lundy’s and student representative on the Board of Visitors, called for critical thinking about student government, the University’s racial history and the gender and racial makeup of the Board of Visitors.

Faculty 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.”

On Monday, students returned from break to find Casteen’s message, a round of “mass meetings for change” and a march and vigil among events slated for the week.

The meetings, which spanned four sessions over three days, were coordinated by groups of concerned students, while Wednesday’s “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.

“This is a beginning, not an end,” said Michael Signer, CPR’s 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.”

The 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 UVA’s deadline did not allow coverage of the march and vigil, but a full report is on Top News Daily’s Web site, http://www.virginia.edu/topnews).

President 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.

“These threatening telephone calls and this assault challenge both personal freedom … and the community of trust itself,” he said.


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