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UVA Rector: Our Way Forward Is Together

Aug. 13, 6:30 p.m.

Dear University Community:

Our University condemns the vile view of humanity that invaded the Charlottesville community and our Grounds this past weekend. It is fundamental to the moral fabric of any society to condemn beliefs and behavior that are so odious they threaten the very essence of that society. And so we do.

The actions of those who visited evil upon us are nothing short of white nationalist and white supremacist terrorism intended to intimidate our community. They will not succeed. We will not surrender. We are here to support all in our community, particularly those who feel the impact of their hatred most keenly. And we are here to ensure our highest priority — the safety of all.

Such terrorism could lead us to succumb to hopelessness, to believe these acts have halted, if not reversed, the progress of racial reconciliation and social pluralism we have made over the past half century. But progress on these fronts is never linear. We all need to transform our anger at the actions of this past weekend so as to rededicate our energy, our talents, and our hearts to our institutional purpose of developing citizen leaders in all fields of endeavor to evolve to a more perfect union. If we are to succeed in that purpose, 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.

We mourn those who lost their lives, and our thoughts are with their families. We are forever indebted to all who courageously protected our fellow citizens or cared for the injured. Let us emulate their dedication as we strive to achieve the intended potential of our University, our community, our Commonwealth, and our country. In doing so we will find our own potential. We are all here for a purpose, and the events of the last few days have leant that purpose greater clarity and urgency.

Frank M. Conner III