The publication of the Rolling Stone article, and the passionate reaction of our students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, and community members, have caused many sleepless nights for those of us who care about UVA. The passionate reaction tells me this: the behavior depicted is not something we will accept as normal, and the actions by seven men as described in the story have betrayed us. We have a problem, and we are going to get after it.
The story has raised a number of questions in my mind, and I will make it my highest priority in the coming months to learn the answers. My team is going to spare no effort between now and the time classes reopen for the spring semester. We’re going to address these questions.
And let me say emphatically that how we answer these questions is not about protecting the university’s reputation, it’s about doing the right thing. The reputation I care most about is the reputation for following the truth wherever it may lead. We will not be doing business as usual in the spring of 2015. We will fearlessly examine ourselves and our culture…and cooperate fully with the independent investigation that’s underway….
UVA students and alumni are speaking up, loudly, and saying this will never be tolerated on our grounds. And yet at the same time it’s been tough to hear from many alumni, some of them from decades ago, who recounted their own negative experience and wondered sadly if nothing has changed. If there is a subculture that hurts any UVA students or exploits any of our fellow Wahoos, we must find out where it hides out and root it out…UVA is too good a place to allow this evil to reside. We must make this school a safe and welcoming place for everyone.
Read the rest of President Sullivan’s speech here.