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A Statement on the Events in Charlottesville, Virginia

Aug. 14, 2017

Dear Members of the University Community:

We write to express our deepest sympathy to our neighbors in Charlottesville, including our colleagues at the University of Virginia, over the loss of life and injuries that resulted from senseless acts of violence and bigotry this weekend, and a related helicopter accident. We offer our condolences to all those who were affected.

At Richmond, we respect and value our First Amendment rights that encourage us to speak freely and assemble in peace. We know that vigorous disagreement and the contest of ideas are central to higher education and enlightenment. Our campus offers an ideal environment to learn from people of different backgrounds and perspectives and to confront bias through education and dialogue. We understand that civility must not be code for quieting others’ opinions, but a call for an energetic and respectful exchange of ideas within our richly varied academic communities.

We also believe unequivocally that hatred has no place among an educated citizenry. We continue to embrace the role higher education can play in facilitating the exchange of ideas as a means of strengthening our democracies. That’s why we will bring to campus speakers who can educate across lines of difference. And we will continue to acknowledge our own complicated history, as we are doing in our Race & Racism project, while continuing to heal injustice and foster greater understanding among people of all backgrounds.

Next week, the University will welcome its most diverse first-year class in our history. Throughout the new academic year, we will pursue ways to use this abundance of perspectives to strengthen our community in a manner that respects difference and reflects our shared values. I very much look forward to this work together.

Ronald A. Crutcher