Date: Aug 20, 2010
To: All U.Va. Students
Subject: Welcome Back: Your Safety and Other Updates
Welcome back! Or more appropriately for all of our new students - welcome to the University of Virginia. We are glad you are here. Your entry into the University comes at an exciting time with the welcoming of Teresa A. Sullivan as our eighth president. Ms. Sullivan will be around during Move-In weekend and will address parents and students on Saturday, Aug. 21, from 1 to 2 p.m. in Old Cabell Hall auditorium.
The next few days will be hectic as you settle in to a new home, adopt new routines, renew friendships, make new friends, and start classes.
You will have lots on your minds as you start the new year, but I am writing to ask that you do one thing first and foremost: Please make personal safety a constant companion to your daily routine. As current students know, I frequently send out messages related to your safety and wellness. Nothing is more important to me. Safety and wellness are the basis of moving freely within this community an d enjoying all that it has to offer.
As I told new students during Orientation this summer, the well-being of our community really does rest with each individual member. It is everyone's responsibility to take steps toward personal safety, to speak up if you see something that is not right, and to seek help for yourself or others when needed.
More specifically, I encourage you to:
• Lock your doors. Please make this a habit, whether you live on or off Grounds. Unlocked doors invite criminal activity and jeopardize your safety.
• Call 911 if you see suspicious persons or activities. The University Police in particular want you to call and are happy to respond to your concerns. The situation does not have to be dire to call 911. Blue-light phones are located throughout the Grounds and instantly connect you to the police.
• Sign up for U.Va. Alerts (or renew your account if you are a third- or fourth-year student) to receive emergency notifications. The system will be tested on Aug. 31, so sign up before then and you will know for sure that your account works.
• Do not walk alone after dark. Use the University bus system, call Safe Ride (434.242.1122) or a cab. Call Yellow Cab (434.295.4131) if you need a ride but do not have money with you. By showing your student ID, you can reimburse the University later.
• If you go to a party or event with friends, plan to leave with those friends, or at the very least, check in with one another before leaving.
• If you are living off Grounds, inspect your apartment or house for safety risks. Make sure smoke alarms are in working order and carbon monoxide detectors are installed. Work with your landlord to resolve safety issues, such as overgrown bushes or poor lighting.
• Know what resources are available within the University when you or a friend needs help. Those resources include your Resident Adviser, the Office of the Dean of Students, the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services, the Women's Center, your academic advisor, and other offices and individuals. Just Report It is another important resource that allows you to report incidents of bias or abuse. At the end of my letter, please see a list of key contacts that you can keep for future reference.
The new year is always a welcome chance to start fresh, but it is still important to acknowledge some of the difficulties of this past academic year. The circumstances surrounding the loss of fourth-year student Yeardley Love and visiting Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington are quite different, but their tragic deaths remind us of violence that can occur within any community. In the case of Ms. Harrington's death, no arrest has been made, and law enforcement officials have said they believe the assailant or assailants are familiar with the Charlottesville area. With the perpetrator still at large, this poses an even more critical reason to take ongoing steps toward personal safety.
Recognizing that safety is a community-wide responsibility, a number of student leaders came together this summer to create a new program, "Let's Get Grounded." With an appeal to "recognize, react, respect," the program is envisioned as a means of fostering a community of active participation and peer support with the ultimate goal of a safer, stronger and more connected University. I encourage you to learn more about this student-led initiative and to take an active role in it.
In addition, I invite you to mark your calendars for "Day of Dialogue: Toward a Caring Community" on Friday, Sept. 24. Under the leadership of President Sullivan, this will be a University-wide opportunity for open and vigorous discussion about community-building, violence prevention, and best practices for campus safety. Please stay tuned for more information in early September.
Finally, you may have heard in the media about plans to implement a new procedure for students to self-disclose prior arrests and convictions. To learn more, please see a message from Dean Allen Groves posted on the Dean of Students Web site.
Best wishes as you begin the new academic year, especially if you are joining the community for the first time. Please let us know how we can be of assistance to you.
Patricia M. Lampkin
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer
Key Resources for U.Va. Students
Office of the Dean of Students 924-7133
Dean on Call (non-business hours) 977-9041
Counseling and Psychological Services 243-5150 (972-7004 for after-hours emergencies)
Student Health 924-5362
Just Report It (to report incidents of bias or abuse)
U.Va. Text Alerts (to receive emergency notifications)
Inclement Weather 924-7669 or 243-7669
Women's Center 982-2252
Sexual Assault Resource Agency 977-7273
Shelter for Help in Emergency 293-8509
Help Line (at Madison House) 295-TALK
Hazing Hotline 243-4293
Safe Ride 242-1122
Yellow Cab 295-4131
U.Va. Building Issues 924-1777
University Police (non-emergencies) 977-9041
Add your personal contacts:
My Landlord/Apartment Manager
My Association Dean or Academic Adviser
E-mail comments to:
Last Modified: Friday, 20-Aug-2010 13:00:43 EDT
© Copyright 2013 by the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia