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Taking Back the Lawn

Our Mission

Our Mission

Following the events of August 11 and 12, 2017, UVA President Teresa Sullivan charged a working group of deans and other University community members to lead the University's response.

Our mission is to assist the University community in recovering from and responding to the violent demonstrations by white supremacists on our Grounds and in Charlottesville.

We must first recover from violence, from bigotry, from vulnerability. We remain concerned for the individuals who suffered injuries directly and for the collective injuries of the University and Charlottesville communities.  We must heal.

We must also act. We are charged with tasks that are both short-term and long-term; they are about physical safety and emotional well-being; they are as practical as revising policies and as lofty as advancing human progress; and they will require us to examine what we need to do within our own community and ask what we can do beyond it.

In response to the events of August 11 and 12, 2017, the University is taking all possible steps to review what happened, to identify the ways in which our response could have been more effective, and to institute practices that will prevent violence of this sort from happening again. 

We use the word “response” in its broadest possible meaning. We are determined to channel our grief and anger into strengthening our commitments to democracy, social justice, inclusion, and equity. We have at our disposal the personnel, the will, and the resources to do not only what is needed but what is right. Let us embrace this opportunity to lead.


“We are determined to make whatever changes are necessary to protect our people and our Grounds.”

—UVA President Teresa A. Sullivan

“We must be honest about the issues facing our society. It has never been more critical than now to ensure equality and justice for all in our community regardless of color, identity, belief, or orientation.”

—UVA Rector Frank M. Conner III

“[We need to] make sure that these events aren’t tragic in two senses — one, that they occurred; two, that we didn’t learn from them.”

—Dean Risa Goluboff