time to face facts
Board members want special committee
by Andrew Shurtleff
of concerned community members marched from several locations
on Grounds March 12 and met on the steps of the Rotunda for
a candlelight vigil to stress the need for greater diversity
at the University.
hundreds massed for a candlelight vigil to members of the Board
of Visitors meeting in committee, voices around the University
have continued the call to address U.Va.s need for greater
members had discussed diversity before Feb. 26, when a candidate
Council reported a racially motivated assault. But the attack
clearly provided the impetus for action at a special meeting on
Monday, March 24.
of recent events, said Gordon F. Rainey Jr. I believe
it would be a good idea for the board to consider a special committee
that would promptly evaluate the effectiveness
of University programs relating to diversity. I feel strongly
that this needs to be done.
F. Farrell II, chairman of the Special Committee of the Board
of Governance, said the committee began discussing creation of
a special committee on diversity at its Feb. 24 meeting, but that
it was now time to be proactive.
addition to the attack reported by second-year student Daisy Lundy,
who has since been named president of Student Council, an incident
on Halloween involving three University students dressed in blackface
at a fraternity party brought diversity to the fore.
responsibility of the boards new committee, if approved
by the full membership at its meeting April 4-5, would be to understand
fully what the University is doing regarding diversity, to gather
information from students, faculty and staff, and to make a comprehensive
report in June.
by Andrew Shurtleff
gathered to show their concern at a March 12 candlelight vigil.
idea received vigorous support from a number of members, including
Warren M. Thompson. At Januarys board meeting, he called
for a resolution in the aftermath of the blackface incident.
time to face facts, Thompson said Monday. We are being
challenged in ways that we have not been challenged before, and
unless we take aggressive steps,
we will damage the reputation of our University and the power
of our brand.
We as a board need to send a strong message
that were doing something about
measured discussion among board members was a stark contrast to
the strident rally on the Rotunda steps March 12.
exhorted people who had marched from three points around the University
to take personal and public steps to combat racism.
Smith, president of Brothers United Celebrating Knowledge and
Success, called for critical thinking to fight racism but warned
that the marchers efforts would dissipate if they did not
transmit their passion to succeeding generations of students.
is an action that perpetuates the system, he said.
student Scot Fishman, who was Student Council president in 1996-97,
read a statement from seven former council presidents asking students
to stand united in love and not to retaliate.
the rally, Michael Signer, an organizer of the Committee for Progress
on Race, a sponsor of the march, said he thought it went spectacularly.
He said CPR would focus efforts to place race at the heart of
the program at the Law School.
few hours before the vigil, about 100 students, faculty and administrators
met in Newcomb Hall Theater to exchange ideas ranging from requiring
a mandatory course for first-year students to recruiting and retaining
Pinkard, a graduate student in the Curry
School of Education, led the crowd through a 16-point plan
of action drafted four years ago by African-American students.
Many of the elements have been folded into a more recent plan
called FORCE, emphasizing five points: Funding for diversity;
an Office or officer dedicated to diversity; Recruiting and retaining
minority faculty members and students; Climate of the University;
students questioned the facultys commitment to diversity
because they had hoped for a larger turnout.
Woolfork, an English professor who is African American, said many
faculty members did not know about the exchange since word went
out only the day before.
This idea that if I didnt show up, I didnt care
is hurtful, she said.
J. Smith, chairman of the Faculty
Senate, said, There is a deep commitment on the part
the faculty to diversity. All of us know we can learn only more
deeply in an environment of diversity.