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Friday, November 21, 2014

Some of you have contacted me asking for my response to the Rolling Stone article that come out on Wednesday. President Teresa Sullivan and Rector George Keith Martin (the head of UVa's Board of Visitors) sent letters to us shortly after the article was posted online. Vice President Pat Lampkin sent this letter to our students this morning:

Over the past two days, our community has been deeply affected by the article that appeared in Rolling Stone magazine earlier this week.  I know that many of you are feeling shocked, dismayed, saddened and, perhaps, betrayed.  Our community is hurting.  We are concerned about Jackie and we are worried about other survivors who have lived through the horror of sexual assault.  Many of us are confused by the contradictions between the U.Va. portrayed in the article and the U.Va. that we know.  Many of you are questioning your trust in our University.

President Sullivan and I want to be absolutely clear: we do not tolerate sexual violence in any form.  Sexual assault is a crime that can destroy lives and create profound suffering.  It has no place in our society, much less in an academic community characterized by freedom and civility. 

To add to these overwhelming emotions, we learned late yesterday of the death of a second-year student, the details of which we will share according to his family's wishes as soon as we are able.

This painful set of circumstances comes on the heels of other recent tragedies on Grounds.  The constellation of these events would be enough to put the strongest of communities into crisis.  But know that we will cope, and together we will heal.

We acknowledge how difficult it is for survivors of sexual assault to talk about their experiences and to feel confident in reporting them, whether to the police or to the University.  We will continue, as we always have, to encourage survivors to go to the police, to pursue the University's disciplinary process, and most of all, to take advantage of the many support services available at UVA and in the community.  (Please see the end of this message for a list of resources.)

This is a time for us to come together, not to be pulled apart. I hope that we as a community can address this issue in a spirit of deep compassion, concern, trust and resolution.


Patricia M. Lampkin
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer

How to Report Instances of Sexual Assault or if You Need Personal Support

Sexual Misconduct Reporting Website:
Counseling and Psychological Services:
Daytime Phone: 434.243.5150; After Hours Phone: 434.972.7004
Office of Dean of Students: 434.924.7133

You may be interested in this article that was published in The Cavalier Daily last year. It answers the most common question people have about the University's response to reports of rape and sexual assault.

Now, I'll share some of my personal thoughts, which were reviewed before I published this entry.

I have wavered between feeling angry and devastated since reading the Rolling Stone article. The stories are sickening and horrific, but I am thankful that sexual assault survivors are getting support from the entire community right now. Changes in policies (and perhaps legislation) are on the horizon as a result of their bravery.

I can't publish this without saying something about the Office of the Dean of Students. I started my career in student affairs (specifically, residence life) at another school. I was also part of the school's Sexual Assault Network (trained by the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center as a survivor advocate). It was the hardest job I've ever had. I am grateful to those who continue to serve in a role I found so incredibly difficult.