UVA: ‘Focused on Safety’ ahead of Unite the Right anniversary

Virginia News

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WRIC) — City, state and federal resources are working with the University of Virginia to prepare for any events that could unfold this weekend in Charlottesville.

In an effort for transparency, there has been specific correspondence to students, to parents of students, and to the community — directly from the University and its leaders.

The University’s Vice President for Safety and Security, Gloria Graham, addressed the community at a press conference with law enforcement and the City of Charlottesville on Wednesday.

“Every single plan and decision that we are making at the University of Virginia is focused on safety,” said Graham.

While the school says safety is paramount, it says it also recognizes the right for people to gather, demonstrate, and protest in a peaceful way.

Summer classes were scheduled to wrap up Friday and the fall semester move-in does not start until August 24. 

But for anybody on campus, an increased police presence will be visible.

A first-year law student at the University told 8News she’s received daily updates from the school heading into the weekend.

“[There’s been] transparency in terms of, ‘here’s the steps’ in terms of, ‘here’s the steps we’re taking to keep you safe, here’s how to report something if you feel unsafe or if you witness something,'” said law student Erin Edwards.

The University also says weapons, flames, or items considered an “implement of riot” are restricted from University property until Monday morning.

President James Ryan released a formal message to the community and said he is aware of a planned student rally on Saturday evening.

Meanwhile, the Hoos are asking to heal along with the City of Charlottesville after last year’s violence.

“What we ask is that you join us in moving forward and reflecting on where we’ve been, but also looking at where we want to be as a community,” said Graham.

Another aspect of the University’s preparedness is how UVA Medical Center plays a role in whatever happens this weekend.

Graham says there will be first responders on standby and in the community, per usual, but UVA Medical Center is also the level one trauma center in the region.

She adds that “extensive resources” are in place to support contingency plans for the coming days.

Anybody wanting up-to-date info from the University of Virginia is encouraged to sign up for UVA Alerts online.

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