Date: February 6, 2012
To: Parents of all U.Va. Students
From: Patricia M. Lampkin, Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer
Re: February news and updates
Greetings from a warm and sunny Charlottesville. This has certainly been an unpredictable winter; your students have had to dodge some mud puddles but snow and ice have not been an issue. At least not yet – we know the consistent feature of weather in Charlottesville is its inconsistency!
I send these messages to keep you informed in a general way about student life at the University of Virginia. The health, safety and well-being of your daughters and sons are always foremost in my mind, and this goal is certainly shared by all my colleagues in Student Affairs.
We expect the University to be in the national spotlight in the next few weeks as the trial of George Huguely gets under way in Charlottesville Circuit Court. It was nearly two years ago that the shock of Yeardley Love’s death brought deep grief and confusion to the entire community. At least half of our student body was not yet part of the U.Va. community at that time. For this reason, the trial will affect students in different ways, but we also know that heightened attention from both the media and public will be something that few students can ignore.
In light of this, the University has taken several steps to prepare the community for the next few weeks. This past Thursday evening, at the invitation of President Teresa Sullivan, U.Va. Law Professor Anne Coughlin spoke to an overflow group of students about criminal law in Virginia and the charges that have been brought in this case. Students listened intently to Coughlin, who began and ended her talk by recognizing the “somber mood” of her presentation and the ultimate limits of the law in ever compensating for the loss of human life. More than 300 members of the University community attended in person and had the opportunity to ask questions. Another 200-plus watched on closed-circuit television. A recording of Professor Coughlin’s presentation is available here. (Please note: the video is not of high quality due to the camera used, but the audio is clear.)
In addition, I reached out to students with a message reminding them of University and community resources that are always available to them if they need help or sense that a friend or acquaintance needs help. My message followed an e-mail to faculty and staff from President Sullivan.
As a community, we have learned much in the past two years and have made progress toward building a community that puts both education and concern for others at the heart of our work. A UVaToday article provides more details about our efforts to build a safe, caring community.
When we speak of resources available to students, we recognize the tremendous role that you play in your student’s life. You are often a first sounding board, an abiding support system. If we can be of service to you at any time, whether in the next few weeks or beyond then, please do not hesitate to contact us.
A few other reminders:
Spring Break Trips
Students frequently travel overseas for Spring Break, often participating in service programs such as Alternative Spring Break. These are reputable programs and excellent learning opportunities for students. At the same time, you need to know that these trips are not sponsored by the University. We do not maintain trip rosters, for example, nor do we get involved in any other planning details. If your daughter or son is participating in one of these programs, please be sure to discuss plans together and take steps to prepare for a safe trip. This might include securing travel insurance, an itinerary and names and phone numbers for travel leaders.
The University’s experts in international studies advise students to review health and safety information on the country they are visiting through the U.S. Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control. They also advise registering travel with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). A good “one-stop shop” is the State Department website for students abroad.
A special note: Due to increasing concerns about personal safety and security, the University’s Risk Management Committee for Education Abroad has restricted University-related student travel to Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua. Please read more here.
I will write again in the near future with more specific reminders about Spring Break safety.
If you will be coming to Grounds the weekend of May 19-20 for Final Exercises and have not been able to find accommodations, one option is on-Grounds housing. Through U.Va. Conference Services, you can arrange for comfortable, affordable housing in residence halls on Grounds. Two- and three-night packages are available. You or your student is urged to make reservations as soon as possible by going to the Conference Services website.
Complete details about ticketing, seating and other aspects of Finals Weekend can be found here.
Educational Tax Benefits
As the deadline approaches for filing your personal taxes, please remember federal educational tax benefits for which you may be eligible. Taking full advantage of these benefits would help reduce your higher education expenses. More information is available on the Internal Revenue Service website.
March 3 - 11: Spring Break
May 1: Courses end
May 3: Exams begin
May 11: Exams end
May 12: All residence halls close
May 20: Finals Weekend
July 5-6: Orientation Begins (Welcome, Class of 2016)
Thank you for your ongoing support as parents, and please remember to contact us if you have any concerns, questions or suggestions. As always, we value your perspective and assistance.
Patricia M. Lampkin
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer
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Last Modified: Tuesday, 07-Feb-2012 09:47:21 EST
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