University of Virginia executive leadership has issued a remarkable statement that lends insight into the fraught state of race relations at Virginia’s flagship university. Three recent incidents have taken place on the grounds since the new academic year began that have “caused some to speculate that they are linked or part of a larger pattern of racially motived crimes,” said J.J. Wagner Davis, chief operating officer, and Tim Longo, chief of university police.
One incident involved a White man hanging a noose around the neck of the Greek poet Homer, an act of ambiguous meaning that President Jim Ryan promptly branded as a hate crime. The Davis-Longo statement made it clear, however, that two other matters — a report of someone throwing rocks through the window of the Office of African-American Affairs, and the discovery of a flag bearing a strange symbol lying on the grass near the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers — have been determined not to be hate crimes.
“President Ryan has asked us to provide this community with an update and to make as clear as we can: These incidents are not linked, and two of the three were not racially motivated at all,” the statement read.
The series of incidents has roiled the UVa community. As the statement notes, Ryan and other senior University officials have “spoken with many students, faculty and alumni” about efforts to get to the bottom of the events. Continue reading