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A Letter from the President

May 3, 2010


To the University community:

Earlier today, we released a statement about a Charlottesville Police investigation of an apparent homicide in which the victim is a University of Virginia student. A just-released update of an earlier Charlottesville Police statement about this investigation identifies the victim as Yeardley Love, a fourth-year student from Cockeysville, Maryland, and a Varsity lacrosse player. The updated Charlottesville Police Department statement appears just below this one along with advice to students from University Police Chief Michael Gibson. The Charlottesville Police statement also discloses that George Huguely, a fourth-year student from Chevy Chase, Maryland, and a Varsity men's lacrosse player, has been charged with First Degree Murder, and is in custody at the Charlottesville/Albemarle jail. We urge all students and faculty/staff to read both of the following statements with care.

Although we know nothing other than what appears in the Charlottesville Police Department's more recent statement, this death moves us to deep anguish for the loss of a student of uncommon talent and promise, and we express the University's and our own sympathy for Yeardley's family, team-mates, and friends. That she appears now to have been murdered by another student compounds this sense of loss by suggesting that Yeardley died without comfort or consolation from those closest to her. We mourn her death and feel anger on reading that the investigators believe that another student caused it. Like students who have contacted us in the last few minutes, we know no explanation of what appears now to have happened.

Police investigators and the courts will eventually determine what happened and make judgments on the basis of evidence submitted by the police and the Commonwealth's Attorney. Meantime, along with all in the University and family members and friends elsewhere, we grieve and ache for this loss. It is easy to imagine that professional counseling services may prove useful to any number of students as we try to assimilate this information. If you wish to meet with a counselor or one of the deans, call the office of the dean of students at 924-7133, and if you believe that a friend or acquaintance needs support and is not asking for it, call the same number, and explain what you have seen. Don't hesitate to call. Don't feel embarrassment about calling. Don't keep quiet about a grieving friend who seems to need assistance but to be unable to request it.

And let us all acknowledge that, however little we may know now about Yeardley Love's death, we do know that she did not have or deserve to die--that she deserved the bright future she earned growing up, studying here, and developing her talents as a lacrosse player. She deserves to be remembered for her human goodness, her capacity for future greatness, and for the terrible way in which her young life has ended.

John Casteen

Read more from the Charlottesville Police Department statement.